Congress

Should the clearance system be taken away from OPM?

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.)

Reps. Ted Lieu (above) and Steve Russell plan to introduce legislation that would take oversight of the security clearance system away from OPM.

A pair of congressmen want to take stewardship of files on government and contractor employees with security clearances away from the Office of Personnel Management, in light of the hacks that resulted in the breach of data on more than 22 million people.

Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Steve Russell (R-Okla.) plan to introduce legislation to move the security clearance system out of OPM. Lieu noted in a statement that the agency's inspector general had identified vulnerabilities in the clearance system "year after year," but they went unaddressed.

"In hindsight, it was a mistake to move the security clearance system to OPM in 2004," Lieu said. "We need to correct that mistake."

The bill has not yet been introduced, and details are not available. But according to Lieu, the basic plan is to give custody and control of the security clearance database to "another agency that has a better grasp of cyberthreats."

Russell, meanwhile, complained about the money sunk into insecure IT systems in general.

"We have spent over a half a trillion dollars in information technology and are effectively throwing it all away when we do not protect our assets," he said. "OPM has proven they are not up to the task of safeguarding our information, a responsibility that allows for no error."

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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