Thompson: OPM’s solution to data breach isn’t even a Band-Aid solution

Internet 2Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Iowa Statesman.


By John Thompson
Republican Party of Iowa
Central Committee Member


In 2007 I had just finished a meeting with local leaders in Mandali, Iraq. One of the local mayors with ties to Iranian bomb makers approached me. He was upset that Navy Seals had raided his compound. They broke a fence and injured some animals. He wanted me to pay reparations.

I refused and told him that he was putting his community at risk with his association with the bomb smugglers. I told him that if it continues his people may be injured instead of his cattle.

He balked at my frankness and told me, “You Americans think you can just come in to our country and do whatever you want and go back to the safety of your own. You should be cautious with me. I have strong influence that can get to your family in America.”

I laughed in his face. He was the leader of a bunch of goat farmers who made some extra money smuggling copper plates for bombs. However, he was strongly connected to Iranian Quds force. I did consider his threat.

For years I maintained a security clearance. I’ve worked as an Intelligence officer, I’ve been assigned to the NSA and worked in special access programs in Afghanistan.  Every time I renewed my clearance or was assigned to a special program I was required to update my clearance. The Office of Personnel Management maintained the names and contact information of all my family, friends and neighbors.

OPM lost all this of information to hackers. They lost the information of every person who has obtained or applied for a clearance and the information to find their friends and family.

This week OPM reacted to the most egregious data failure in our nations history by sending letters to all of those affected by the loss of their data. They offered free credit monitoring. This isn’t even a band-aid to the problem. The personal security of over 21 million Americans has been permanently compromised.

Our enemies have the addresses and phone numbers of all the loved ones of every person with a clearance. Every national secret could now be compromised if our enemies are willing to threaten our families.

If I knew that Iranians had the address and information to locate my son and other family members I would not have felt as confidant rebuking the threats of an Iraqi mayor.  It seems doubtful that Iran would bother to finance an operation in the US over $2,000 worth of goats. However, I will pray for the friends and family of the Americans that work in our nuclear and strategic defense programs.

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John Thompson of Jefferson is a graduate of West Point and Harvard University. He serves on the State Central Committee for the Republican Party of Iowa. He may be contacted at or at “John Thompson for Iowa” on Facebook.