President Barack Obama on Friday accepted the resignation of Katherine Archuleta, who stepped down as head of the Office of Personnel Management after hackers stole the personnel records of more than 21 million U.S. government employees.
Reports have pointed to involvement by China. Last week, the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, called Beijing “a leading suspect” in what is believed to be the largest data breach in U.S. history.
White House officials on Friday declined to confirm the accusation.
Archuleta presented her resignation personally during a visit to the White House on Friday, a day after she revealed that the hacking — first reported last month and said to have affected more than 4 million records — was actually much larger and had compromised the information of more than 21 million government employees.
The records included sensitive security clearance information on millions of government employees.
Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers had called for her resignation and questioned her ability to handle the breach.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Friday told reporters that Archuleta had resigned of her own volition. The spokesman said both Archuleta and the White House recognized that the “urgent challenges currently facing the Office of Personnel Management require a manager with a specialized set of skills and experiences.”
White House officials said Beth Colbert, formerly with the Office of Management and Budget, would take over as acting director of OPM on Saturday. They also said the government was preparing steps to protect its systems from future intrusions.