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Federal personnel director submits surprise resignation after massive government data breaches

From left Katherine Archuleta, director of the Office of Personnel Management, US Chief Information Officer Tony Scott, Assistant Homeland Security Secretary for National Protection and Programs Andy Ozment, and McFarland, inspector general of the Office of Personnel Management, are sworn in during a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill June 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. Witnesses testified about the hacking of Office of Personnel Management data. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)Photograph by Brendan Smialowski — AFP/Getty Images

In the wake of massive breaches of federal data at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, agency director Katherine Archuleta tendered her resignation Friday morning.

The embattled director had insisted as late as Thursday afternoon that she would not step down, though prominent members of Congress—such as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.), and others—had all called for her ouster.

Archuleta, who has headed the government’s human resources office since October 2013, detailed her reversal in a statement: “I conveyed to the president that I believe it is best for me to step aside and allow new leadership that will enable the agency to move beyond the current challenges and allow the employees at OPM to continue their important work.”

President Barack Obama accepted Archuleta’s resignation. Deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget Beth Cobert will take over her responsibilities starting Saturday.

OPM’s chief information officer Donna Seymour, who also came under heavy criticism for the agency’s lack of network defenses, will apparently stay in her position.

“Today’s move by the administration to change leadership at OPM is the right decision, and one that will help to restore confidence in an agency that not only poorly defended sensitive data of millions of Americans but struggled to respond to repeated intrusions,” commented member of the House intelligence committee Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), according to the Washington Times.

The massive attacks on the computer systems of OPM have led to the compromise of sensitive information for more than 20 million Americans. Many, including the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, believe it was the work of Chinese hackers.

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