And what a security nightmare for the Americans; one is simply staggered at the espionage potentials:
U.S. Sharply Escalates Number of Files Exposed in OPM Hack
Officials say 19.7 million background clearance files, 1.1 million fingerprint files were stolen
Hackers who broke into the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s computer network stole 19.7 million background investigation forms and 1.1 million fingerprint records, the agency disclosed Thursday [July 9], a sharp escalation in the government’s assessment of the damage caused by the hack.
The agency said hackers likely stole every single background investigation form completed since 2000 [emphasis added] and some completed prior to that time.
In addition to the background clearance forms, hackers had access to an additional 1.8 million Social Security numbers, largely because personal information of spouses and children must be listed on security-clearance applications. The most common of these forms is the Standard Form 86 that many federal employees and contractors must complete before they can be hired for sensitive government jobs. Those forms are held often in an unencrypted fashion on OPM’s computer networks.
The theft of these forms represents a major national-security and intelligence failure [YOU. DON’T. SAY.], given that they contain records of past drug use, mental health and contacts with people overseas and other sensitive information that could prove useful to a foreign intelligence agency.
If a foreign intelligence service stole records of 20 million U.S. officials, it could use the information for blackmail, counterintelligence or to determine the foreign contacts of U.S. officials…
Multiple U.S. officials have said they believe Chinese hackers were behind the breach, though Chinese officials have denied involvement. White House and OPM officials did not return requests for comment on Thursday…