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Report: Secret Service Violated Privacy Law To Shame Lawmaker

A recent report from the Office of the Inspector General revealed that an assistant director of the Secret Service advocated for releasing embarrassing information about Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a known critic of the agency.

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The Secret Service issued an apology to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on Wednesday after a report revealed that an assistant director suggested the agency release sensitive personal information about Chaffetz, a prominent critic.

The report from the Office of the Inspector General confirmed that Assistant Director Edward Lowery wrote an email to another director on March 31, saying that “some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out.”

A story was then published on April 2 which revealed that Chaffetz had applied to be a Secret Service agent in 2003 and been rejected. That information was part of a personnel file “stored in a restricted Secret Service database and required by law to be kept private,” according to the Washington Post.

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Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform who is responsible for overseeing the Secret Service, has a history of pursuing allegations of Secret Service misconduct. In March, he criticized the agency for deleting video surveillance that could have contained answers about a car crash near the White House involving two Secret Service agents.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson released a statement saying that he first asked the department’s Inspector General to “investigate reports of improper access and distribution of information by U.S. Secret Service employees” pertaining to Chaffetz in April.

“The Inspector General has recently completed his investigation, and has found a number of instances of inappropriate conduct by Secret Service personnel,” Johnson said. “At the time, I stated that if the allegations were true, those responsible should be held accountable, and I reiterate that today.”

Johnson concluded the statement saying that he reiterates the apology he issued to Chaffetz in April. “Activities like those described in the report must not, and will not, be tolerated,” he said.

In response, Chaffetz said that he believes the release of information was “a tactic designed to intimidate and embarrass me.”

“If they would do this to me, I just, I shuddered to think what they might be doing to other people,” Chaffetz told NBC News. “I’d like to tell you how tough I am, but it’s scary, and it’s intimidating, and I will continue to investigate the Secret Service and others, but this should have never ever happened.”

Chaffetz also said that the Oversight and Government Reform Committee will continue, and that he remains “undeterred in conducting proper and rigorous oversight.”

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