Secret Service agents try to smear congressman investigating the agency
Even in Barack Obama's Washington, this is shocking.
The inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security has implicated "scores" of Secret Service employees in a scheme to embarrass Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Overisght Committee, who has been investigating wrongdoing by the agency. At least 45 employees illegally accessed an old application for employment at the Secret Service by Chaffetz, and an assistant director actually recommended passing it on to the press.
The actions by the employees could represent criminal violations under the U.S. Privacy Act, said the report by the Homeland Security Department's inspector general, John Roth. "It doesn't take a lawyer explaining the nuances of the Privacy Act to know that the conduct that occurred here — by dozens of agents in every part of the agency — was wrong," the report said.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson personally apologized to Chaffetz again Wednesday, the congressman told The Associated Press in an interview on Capitol Hill. Johnson did not disclose whether any employees had been punished. "It's intimidating," Chaffetz said. "It's what it was supposed to be."
Johnson said in a statement Wednesday that "those responsible should be held accountable" but did not provide further details.
"I am confident that U.S. Secret Service Director Joe Clancy will take appropriate action to hold accountable those who violated any laws or the policies of this department," Johnson said. "Activities like those described in the report must not, and will not, be tolerated."
Clancy also apologized Wednesday for "this wholly avoidable and embarrassing misconduct" and pledged to hold those responsible for the data breach accountable.
"I will continue to review policies and practices to address employee misconduct and demand the highest level of integrity of all our employees," Clancy said in a statement.
Employees accessed Chaffetz's 2003 application for a Secret Service job starting 18 minutes after the start of a congressional hearing in March about the latest scandal involving drunken behavior by senior agents. Some forwarded the information to others. At least 45 employees viewed the file.
Chaffetz applied to join the Secret Service through a field office and was rejected and labeled "Better Qualified Applicant" for unknown reasons. Chaffetz said he never interviewed with the agency and does not know why his application was declined.
One week later, Assistant Director Ed Lowery suggested leaking embarrassing information about Chaffetz in retaliation for aggressive investigations by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee into a series of agency missteps and scandals, the report said. Days later, on April 2, the information about Chaffetz unsuccessfully applying for a job at the Secret Service was published by The Daily Beast, an Internet publication.
A government of thugs and knaves. Indeed, with the White House as an example, this sort of thing probably happens more often that we're told. Whistleblowers are constantly targeted by various agencies. Of course, the IRS is used to attack political opponents. The CIA goes after people who leak embarrassing failures, or who cook the books.
It's no wonder that 75% of Americans see government corruption as widespread. In fact, it is pervasive and is a direct consequence of a weak hand on the tiller. When bureaucrats believe they can act with impunity against their enemies, it's no accident that the man at the top believes the same thing.