Tester calls on OPM Inspector General to further investigate vulnerable data security system

Senator’s letter comes after top investigator admits personal information is not secure

(U.S. Senate) – Senator Jon Tester today called on Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Inspector General Patrick McFarland to further investigate the potential security vulnerabilities of a critical OPM data system that houses personal background investigation information.

In a letter, Tester wrote that without the proper oversight, OPM’s current management practices will continue to put their background investigation data system, “EPIC,” at risk for additional security breaches. On June 25th, during a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs hearing McFarland told Tester that OPM’s suite of systems is not yet secure.

“While it is not yet clear how many individuals’ background investigations for security clearances were exposed by the breach, it is important that future such instances do not occur,” Tester wrote. “It is important that the Office of Inspector General have unfettered access to the EPIC suite in order to evaluate potential vulnerabilities.”

The EPIC suite system houses information such as social security numbers, contact information, former employers, previous addresses, personal debt, history of substance abuse, and sexual behaviors.

After OPM’s data breach, the Office of Management and Budget required agencies across the federal government to conduct a 30-day review to enhance the security of their systems and data.

Senator Tester, a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has introduced the SCARE Act, a bill to reform the background security clearance process. The bill passed unanimously through the committee. Last Congress, the President signed Senator Tester’s SCORE Act into law allowing OPM to more thoroughly investigate cases where the integrity of a background check has been compromised.

Tester’s letter to OPM Inspector General Patrick McFarland is available HERE.