The Office of Personnel Management has suspended operation of the Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (E-QIP) system, the web gateway used to submit materials for background investigations. The agency announced the move today, citing the discovery of a vulnerability in the portal during an ongoing review of the agency's security. "As a result, OPM has temporarily taken the E-QIP system offline for security enhancements," an agency spokesperson said in an official statement to press.
The flaw in E-QIP is reportedly not related to the massive breach of the OPM's systems, which may have exposed up to 18 million individuals' personal information. That information includes everything from social security number and date of birth to records of clearance adjudications, proceedings in which officials discuss reasons why an individual's security clearance may have been removed.
In some cases, adjudication data could include information about financial difficulties, sex lives, substance abuse, and other failings that could be used to potentially blackmail a person or otherwise coerce them into potentially giving up classified information.