After weeks of speculation about the fate of Katherine Archuleta, beleaguered director of the Office of Personnel Management, she tendered her resignation today.
“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,” Archuleta said in a statement.
She has been under fire since the OPM disclosed in June that it had been hacked and had failed to notice for a year, as data on about four million current and former federal workers was siphoned from the agency’s networks.
But the clamor for her dismissal grew deafening after it was revealed last month that the breach didn’t just involve the personnel records of current and former workers but also a database for storing sensitive information about background investigations conducted on people seeking a security clearance. That breach affected some 21.5 million people—not only federal workers but friends, family members and others who were interviewed over the last twenty years for security clearance applications.
On a conference call Thursday night, Archuleta reportedly insisted she would not step down, despite calls from members of Congress to do so.
During a hearing last month with the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, Senator John McCain exchanged harsh words with Achuleta, chastising her for failing to heed previous warnings about security from OPM inspector general Patrick McFarland.
“You are responsible, and I wonder whether you think you should stay in your present position,” he told her.
Archuleta replied, “Senator, I’ve been working hard from day one to correct decades of neglect. I’ve been here for 18 months. We’ve taken great strides not only within OPM but in partnership throughout government…I’m committed to continuing to do that.”
McCain snapped back with, “Well unfortunately you’re not committed to heeding the warnings of Mr. Mcfarland.”