Military Clearance OPM Data Breach ‘Absolute Calamity’Posted: June 18, 2015
The SF-86, a 127-page document, asks government employees to disclose information about family members, friends and past employment as well as details on alcohol and drug use, mental illness, credit ratings, bankruptcies, arrest records and court actions
David Larter and Andrew Tilghman report: Anxiety is spreading among defense officials and the military community that the recent theft of federal government data linked to China may affect hundreds of thousands of service members.
“They had access on everyone who has applied for a security clearance: families, residences and job assignments, bank records. If that’s not an absolute calamity, I don’t know what is.”
Compounding those concerns is the limited information made public by the Office of Personnel Management.
“They got everyone’s SF-86.”
Some military officials believe the recent hack targeting the civilian-run OPM seized information from tens of thousands of Standard Form 86s, which are required for all service members and civilians seeking a security clearance. That includes service members of all ranks, officers and enlisted, in a wide range of job specialties and assignments.
“This is a surreal new world and they are not being truthful. The way this works now is that they tell you a little bit of the truth, and then they obfuscate.”
“They got everyone’s SF-86,” one Pentagon official familiar with the investigation told Military Times.
The SF-86, a 127-page document, asks government employees to disclose information about family members, friends and past employment as well as details on alcohol and drug use, mental illness, credit ratings, bankruptcies, arrest records and court actions.
Given the scale of the breach as publicly disclosed by the Obama administration and OPM, it’s likely that the hackers obtained the SF-86 data of every military member who filled out the form on a computer, something that has been standard practice in Defense Department for well over a decade, said a retired senior intelligence community official who writes a blog under the pen name Victor Socotra.
The services began to make the digital SF-86 form mandatory in 2007, but service members used the digital form for years before that.
“They had access on everyone who has applied for a security clearance: families, residences and job assignments, bank records,” Socotra said. “If that’s not an absolute calamity, I don’t know what is.”
A senior administration official declined to confirm or deny the details of the breach, but told Military Times that “SF-86 applicant data is among the kind of data affected by the incident, but other kinds of information are also contained in the systems. As the investigation remains ongoing, we are still determining the full scope and extent of the information exposed.”
Socotra, a former active-duty military intelligence official who worked directly for CIA Director George Tenet, and many Republican politicians contend the information being released is deliberately obscuring the magnitude of the incursion into OPM’s records….(read more)
- The career-spanning details in the federal personnel files that were hacked (washingtonpost.com)
- Chinese hackers got US security files: report (news.yahoo.com)
- AP: Chinese Hackers Stole Security Clearance Docs for Soldiers and Spies (stateofglobe.com)
- Cyberwar will make a bigger bang than the Bomb (thetimes.co.uk)
- Hack on US government may be far larger than first believed (theverge.com)
- Officials Say Deeply Personal Information in Hackers’ Hands (cio-today.com)