(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. government’s human resources directorresigned Friday, a day after disclosing that hackers stole personaldata for more than 22 million people from her agency in one of theworst security breaches in history.

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Katherine Archuleta, director of the Office of PersonnelManagement, stepped down after several lawmakers in both partiescomplained that she had failed to install appropriate safeguardsfor the government’s records and did not quickly detect or addressthe breach.

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President Barack Obama, who appointed Archuleta in 2013,accepted the resignation as his administration pledged to step upits cybersecurity efforts and help the 22.1 million people whosedata was stolen.

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“Today I informed the OPM workforce that I am stepping down asthe leader of this remarkable agency and the remarkable people whowork for it,” Archuleta said in a statement. “I conveyed to thePresident that I believe it is best for me to step aside and allownew leadership to step in, enabling the agency to move beyond thecurrent challenges and allowing the employees at OPM to continuetheir important work.”

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The acting OPM director will be Beth Cobert, who is currentlythe U.S. chief performance officer and deputy director formanagement at the Office of Management and Budget, according to theWhite House.

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'Urgent' challenges

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Archuleta’s agency disclosed the full scope of the breach forthe first time on Thursday. Hackers accessed Social Securitynumbers, fingerprints, contact information, and user names andpasswords of federal employees, contractors and their spousesdating back more than a decade.

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Obama believes that someone with specialized skills to deal with“urgent” challenges at the agency is “badly needed,” White Housespokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Friday.

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“The president is determined to ensure that all of his leadersof government agencies need to understand that this is a priority,”Earnest said.

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Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike said resigning was theright move.

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“This is the absolute right call,” Representative JasonChaffetz, a Utah Republican and chairman of the House Oversight andGovernment Reform Committee, said in a statement. “OPM needs acompetent, technically savvy leader to manage the biggestcybersecurity crisis in this nation’s history.”

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Congressional pressure

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The leadership change shows that it isn’t enough to blamehackers and that officials must be held responsible for breaches,said Representative Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat onthe House intelligence committee.

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“It will also take years before the full security repercussionsmay be known, and the intelligence community is already takingsteps to address any new vulnerabilities posed by the compromise ofthis data,” Schiff said.

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Others who called for Archuleta to resign included House SpeakerJohn Boehner, Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy ofCalifornia and Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. In theSenate, Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia and Republican John McCainof Arizona said she should be replaced.

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House Republican leaders said in a statement that the departure“does not in any way absolve the president of the responsibility torepair this damage to our national security.”

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Archuleta told reporters on Thursday that she had no plans toresign and was working to improve cybersecurity at the departmentand provide credit-monitoring services to those affected by thehack.

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'Antiquated system'

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“When I took office in late 2013 one of my priorities was toupgrade OPM’s antiquated legacy system,” she said. “It is becauseof the efforts of OPM and its staff that we’ve been able toidentify the breaches.”

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Obama administration officials have defended Archuleta since thebreach was disclosed last month, crediting her office withunearthing the intrusion during a project to upgrade security ongovernment networks.

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“Over the last year, as director Archuleta noted, OPM has beenaggressively improving its security,” Andy Ozment, assistantsecretary of the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at theDepartment of Homeland Security, told reporters on Thursday. “OPMcaught an intrusion because of the tools that it had rolledout.”

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The Chinese government is a top suspect in the attack, accordingto Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, some lawmakersand cybersecurity companies that conduct forensicsinvestigations.

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In two separate intrusions, the hackers gained access to U.S.government records for almost a year beginning last May, Ozmentsaid. Most of the records relate to people who had applied for abackground investigation, the personnel agency said.

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OPM said it would provide free credit monitoring for peoplewhose data was stolen. Along with other federal agencies, it istaking several steps to upgrade and defend its network, Archuletasaid.

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A government-wide 30-day review of cybersecurity efforts willwrap up later this month.

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Copyright 2018 Bloomberg. All rightsreserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten,or redistributed.

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