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Justice Department tells Warner OPM breach mixup was "regrettable" mistake

Witnesses appear before a House hearing on the OPM breach. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In a reply to Senator Mark Warner's (D-VA) email attempting to cut through confusion, the Department of Justice said its June 18 press release, implying a Maryland woman somehow accessed data from the 2015 Office of Personnel Management breach, was a "regrettabl[e] ... premature conclusion."

Why it matters: The U.S. publicly accused Chinese spies of the massive breach in 2015, and arrested a Chinese national for his involvement. But a badly worded June 18 press release made it sound like 39-year-old Maryland resident Karvia Cross somehow had access to that data when she fraudulently applied for loans in the names of several OPM victims. The two stories seem incompatible — Chinese espionage wouldn't normally result in an American committing fraud.