Watch (NBC4): OPM shuts down security clearance site on cyber fears

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“The Office of Personnel Management has taken the Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) system off line for security upgrades. The decision impacts tens of thousands of federal employees and contractors seeking new security clearances or getting their current security clearances renewed. However, investigations that are already underway should not be affected, according to an OPM spokesman.

“OPM said in a statement that the decision to take e-QIP down didn’t have to do with the massive cyber breach it suffered earlier this year.

“’We are not going to comment on the specific details of the vulnerability,’ said  Sam Schumach, an OPM spokesman.  ‘However, Director [Katherine]  Archuleta made this decision after being briefed by her own team and consulting with other experts across the government.  Everyone concurred that vulnerability posed a significant risk that warranted immediate action.’”

“The e-QIP system, developed first in 2003, lets employees, contractors or potential workers add their information to the SF-86 form and SF-85P over a secure Internet connection. Over the last year or so, OPM initiated a pilot to let users digitally sign their forms.

“OPM says as part of its ongoing review of its systems and networks, the agency identified a vulnerability in e-QIP and decided it needed to upgraded.”

My thanks to Darcy Spencer from NBC4 here in Washington for including me in her report on the 11 o’clock news last night!