Cummings Issues Statement on Retirement of OPM CIO Donna Seymour

Feb 22, 2016
Press Release

Cummings Issues Statement on Retirement of OPM CIO Donna Seymour


Washington, D.C. (Feb. 22, 2016)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to the announcement that Donna Seymour, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), will retire:

“I thank Ms. Seymour for her decades of service to our government and our nation.  During the Oversight Committee’s work over the past year, we have heard from numerous experts inside and outside the agency who have commended Ms. Seymour for her professionalism, her competence, and her aggressive response to the OPM data breach.  Unfortunately, efforts by Republicans to blame her for the cyber attack on OPM are both unfair and inaccurate, and they set a terrible precedent that will discourage qualified experts from taking on the challenges our nation faces in the future.”

The Oversight Committee’s investigation found that the cyber attack against OPM was already underway at the time Seymour took office in December 2013, and numerous experts have commended Seymour for her work to detect the attack and to take strong remedial measures in its aftermath.

During a hearing before the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Andy Ozment, the Assistant Secretary in charge of the National Protection and Programs Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security, testified about the IT modernization efforts that Seymour started and oversaw:

“In April, OPM detected this incident because they [had] been rolling out security capabilities over the last year. … So if they had not rolled out those capabilities, we would never know that this incursion. ... OPM’s upgrades are what detected the attack.”

When United States CIO Tony Scott was asked if Seymour was the right person for the job, he responded:  “I do, sir, and I’ve spent time on the ground with the teams that are in OPM doing the work, both from DHS and the OPM teams … they tell me that they’re very, very supportive of the efforts and the leadership of that they see there.”

In regard to remediation efforts ongoing under Seymour’s leadership, Scott said:  “I would say, you know, the work that is going on right now in OPM would serve as a template and a model for work that other agencies need to do is well.”

114th Congress