5.6m, not 1.1m fingerprint images of us gov security cleared people stolen

WASHINGTON — The number of people applying for or receiving security clearances whose fingerprint images were stolen in one of the worst U.S. government data breaches is now believed to be 5.6 million, not 1.1 million as first thought, the Office of Personnel Management announced Wednesday.

The agency was the victim of what the U.S. believes was a Chinese espionage operation that affected an estimated 21.5 million current and former federal employees or job applicants. The theft could give Chinese intelligence a huge leg up in recruiting informants inside the U.S. government, experts believe. It also could help the Chinese identify U.S. spies abroad, according to American officials.


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