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Jay Clayton, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, told a Senate panel Tuesday that he found out about a serious security breach at the agency belatedly and that determining the extent of the intrusion could take a significant amount of time.

Clayton said he didn’t become aware of a 2016 security breach until last month when the issue emerged as part of a separate investigation. After he learned of the hack, Clayton said, he ordered an internal review. That’s when he discovered that the breach may have allowed hackers to make an illegal profit by trading stock, he said.

In his first appearance before the Senate Banking Committee since taking office, Clayton faced some critical questioning from lawmakers about the agency’s handling of the breach and how the SEC would manage the fallout from the massive hack of the credit reporting company Equifax that exposed the personal information of 143 million people.