Long-shot presidential hopeful Sen. Lindsey Graham said Thursday’s massive data breach can be traced to failures of the Obama administration. Worse, he predicted “a cyber ‘Pearl Harbor’ ” if measures aren’t taken to avoid another such hack.
“I fear the massive data breach at the Office of Personnel Management may turn out to be yet another example of America being walked over by rivals and adversaries,” the South Carolina Republican said in a statement, adding, “The Obama Administration’s failures in foreign policy and national security continue to pile up yet they do nothing to change course.”
The White House was scrambling Thursday to assess the impact of a massive data breach, suspected to have originated in China, involving the agency that handles security clearances and employee records, according to U.S. officials. So far, they said, the breach doesn’t appear to be the “worst-case scenario” — compromise and disclosure of the identities of the covert CIA agents. But, they said, the breach — which exploited a “zero day” vulnerability, meaning one that was previously unknown — could be the biggest cyberattack in U.S. history, potentially affecting every agency of the U.S. government.
“The ramifications are very serious,” Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told NBC News.
Graham agreed, and went a step further, predicting a doomsday scenario unless measures are taken to prevent it. “I fear a cyber ‘Pearl Harbor’ is increasingly more likely if we do not invest in the necessary infrastructure to protect our nation,” Graham said.
Graham, who entered the 2016 presidential race on Monday, kicked off his long-shot campaign by boasting about his national security record. “I have more experience with our national security than any other candidate in this race,” Graham said, adding, “That includes you, Hillary.”
Additional reporting by NBC News’Jim Miklaszewski and M. Alex Johnson