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How a loan scammer clouded the OPM breach's China link

Legislators at dais under a giant Seal of the United States
The House Oversight hearings on OPM in 2015. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Last month, Maryland resident Kavira Cross pleaded guilty to applying for fraudulent loans using personal information stolen in the 2015 U.S. Office of Personnel Management breach. The plea immediately raised some uncomfortable questions about the OPM breach, in which 21 million Americans' personal information was stolen.

The big picture: The U.S. attributed the breach to a Chinese intelligence operation. But surely China would not have orchestrated an attack on a federal agency just to help an American woman defraud a credit union? Here's where it's important not to jump to conclusions.