Forceful questioning of then-Secret Service Director Julia Pierson helped Rep. Jason Chaffetz earn the notice he needed to grab the House Oversight and Government Reform gavel in the 114th Congress.
The Utah Republican’s fierce criticism of the agency also sent scores of Secret Service employees on a mission to discredit the congressman, a report by the Homeland Security Department’s Office of Inspector General revealed Wednesday. The inspector general confirmed employees accessed Chaffetz’s 2003 application for a Secret Service job, actions that could represent criminal violations. The report confirmed that between March 24 and April 2, 2015, on approximately 60 different occasions, 45 Secret Service employees accessed Chaffetz’ sensitive personal information. It also identified 18 supervisors who knew, or should have known about the activity.
“Certain lines should never be crossed. The unauthorized access and distribution of my personal information crossed that line,” Chaffetz stated in response. He called it a tactic “designed to intimidate and embarrass me and frankly, it is intimidating.”
WH: Secret Service Will Be Held Accountable for Chaffetz Targeting
The committee held three hearings earlier this year as part of an ongoing investigation into all aspects of the Secret Service, from leadership to technology and tactics. Chaffetz said he remained “undeterred in conducting proper and rigorous oversight.”
Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the committee’s ranking Democrat, called on the agency to apologize and implement strict discipline.
“Chairman Chaffetz and I have worked together to help restore the Secret Service to its standing as the most elite protective agency in the world. Today’s findings by the Inspector General go directly against this goal and are completely and utterly unacceptable and indefensible,” Cummings said.
DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson reiterated his apology to Chaffetz in wake of the IG report. “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,” he said. — Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.
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