Washington (CNN) After news broke last month that suspected Chinese hackers stole the sensitive personal data of millions of Americans from the federal government’s human resources department, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called for the agency’s director to be fired.
But when a human resources company Florida hired compromised the personal information of an estimated 100,000 state employees, then-Gov. Bush didn’t fire the contractor.
In fact, the state official who managed the contract, Bill Simon, is now helping Bush build his presidential campaign’s policy team.
In 2006, the Florida Department of Management Services estimated that 108,000 then-current and former state employees may have been affected when their personal data, managed by Convergys Corporation, was improperly sent to India by a subcontractor, Computerworld reported at the time.
Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said Thursday night that Bush’s administration acted quickly to address the issue, including strengthening security measures, providing protection for potentially affected employees and tightening oversight of the program.
But Bush didn’t cancel the company’s $350 million contract.
Campbell argued that the recent Office of Personnel Management case and the Florida incident are not comparable.
“This was not a national security breach or threat,” she said. “The OPM breach was just another example of President Obama’s failed and flawed leadership.”
When it comes to the federal government’s data breach, the Republican presidential contender has had tough words for OPM Director Katherine Archuleta. On Thursday, the agency announced the breach compromised the data of 21.5 million Americans, about five times more people than originally estimated.
“The Office of Personnel Management head, a woman who was the political director of the Obama re-election campaign, a political hack, in charge of something of that responsibility, said ‘No one was responsible at OPM for this. The Chinese government was responsible,'” Bush told a crowded VFW hall in New Hampshire Wednesday night. “No ma’am, you’re responsible for it, and you ought to be fired for incompetence.”
Asked by reporters Wednesday if it was appropriate to compare the OPM breach to the data compromise that occurred during Bush’s governorship, he strongly pushed back.
“I’d say its a slight difference when you have up to 18 million records that are stolen by a foreign government where security clearances are jeopardized, where people are filling out 100-page forms sharing their whole life history to find out if they are qualified for a security clearance controlled by a foreign government,” Bush said.