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OPM has said it plans to release further information this week on a breach of the security clearance application database whose impact – in terms of both numbers of people affected and the potential for damage to their lives – likely will far exceed that of a separate breach of personnel records whose outlines are now basically known. While the personnel file breach affects some 4.2 million current and former federal employees of about the last three decades, the clearance breach could be several times larger. The affected populations would overlap somewhat since many of those who filed clearance application disclosure forms were federal employees, but the clearance breach likely further involves many contractor employees and military personnel plus it could contain personal identifying information on family members and other associates. Further, while the personnel file breach involves basic personal identifying information and career information, the clearance forms contain far more personal information on applicants including on financial matters, drug and alcohol use and much more. The latest in a series of hearings on Capitol Hill is scheduled for today (Wednesday) but that likely will not be the forum for an announcement; instead, it will focus on continued criticism from the IG and others about OPM’s past and present IT security efforts, including how it responded to years of warnings about vulnerabilities in the very systems that were hacked, along with others. That apparently will extend to last week’s shutdown of an online clearance application system for up to six weeks and whether OPM should have acted sooner in indications of vulnerabilities there, as well, (the shutdown was quickly followed by an announcement that paper applications for those clearances, which are crucial to many federal jobs, will be accepted instead). Another major issue involves what type of help the government will provide to those affected by the clearance breach. There has been widespread dissatisfaction with the services offered in response to the personnel files breach, with complaints about inability to get through to register for them; there are fears of much worse problems arising from dealing with the larger population involved in the clearance breach. Also, many employees have been reluctant to turn over further personal information that the contractor providing those services requires to provide those services.