Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) blasted the U.S. Secret Service for leaking “unflattering information” about his prior job application to the agency in an attempt to embarrass and intimidate him. The information appeared in an article the Daily Beast last April, raising eyebrows on Capitol Hill.
As PJ Media’s Michael Walsh reported, a subsequent investigation released Wednesday by the DHS inspector general found that Ed Lowery, a top official in the agency, a few days before the article appeared, had encouraged the snooping in an office email, saying that “some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out. Just to be fair.”
“It’s a little bit scary. The Secret Service diving into my background as a sitting member of Congress?” said Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room. “It’s not about me, but it is about: What are they doing over there? These people are trusted with guns by the president for goodness’ sake.”
Chaffetz said both the directors of DHS and the Secret Service had called him to apologize.
“That ain’t good enough,” he said. “I worry that if they’re doing this to me, they’re doing it to who knows how many other people.”
Rep Chaffetz issued the this statement following the release of the DHS watchdog report:
“Certain lines should never be crossed. The unauthorized access and distribution of my personal information crossed that line. It was a tactic designed to intimidate and embarrass me and frankly, it is intimidating. It’s scary to think about all the possible dangers in having your personal information exposed. The work of the committee, however, will continue. I remain undeterred in conducting proper and rigorous oversight.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the following statement:
“This report confirms that earlier this year a high-ranking Secret Service official encouraged the dissemination of personal information of Representative Jason Chaffetz and over 40 Secret Service agents improperly accessed and disseminated this information, in violation of federal law. No one, whether they are a Member of Congress or a private citizen, should have their private information violated in this manner. This incident is precisely why Americans do not trust the federal government with their personal information.
“The actions by these Secret Service employees are in clear violation of the Privacy Act and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson must hold all necessary personnel accountable.
“Unfortunately, this is the latest in a series of scandals and failures on the part of the Secret Service in recent years. The House Judiciary Committee will continue conducting aggressive oversight of the Secret Service in an effort to improve its operations and ensure accountability at all levels of the agency.”
So far, there’s no word on what they actually intend to do about it.