Rep. Chaffetz responds to report on Secret Service activity: ‘Certain lines should never be crossed’

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WASHINGTON -- Congressman Jason Chaffetz, a Republican representing Utah's Third Congressional District, issued a statement Wednesday in response to a report that employees of the U.S. Secret Service improperly accessed and circulated sensitive personal information of his, and he said he believes it was an attempt to intimidate him.

According to information from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, of which Chaffetz is the chairman, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Inspector General issued a report on their investigation into  "U.S. Secret Service employees improperly accessing and circulating sensitive, personal information of the chairman."

Chaffetz issued a statement in response, saying he felt the move was a "tactic designed to intimidate and embarrass." See below for the full text of his statement.

“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.”

According to FOX News, several employees of the Secret Service accessed an old, unsuccessful job application from the Congressman. An assistant director reportedly suggested "leaking embarrassing information to retaliate against Rep. Jason Chaffetz." Chaffetz was investigating scandals inside the agency at the time, according to FOX News.

FOX News reports an Inspector General for Homeland Security, John Roth, stated that the actions of those employees could rise to the level of criminal violations as described by the U.S. Privacy Act.

"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, according to FOX News.

Click here for more on the investigation from FOX News.

According to a press release from the Office of the Inspector General, "The OIG identified 18 supervisors — including the Acting Chief of Staff and the Deputy Director — who knew or should have known that Chairman Chaffetz’ personal information was being accessed. Yet, with a single exception, there was no evidence that any of the managers attempted to inform up the chain or to stop or remediate the activity."

Roth stated in the press release, “This episode reflects extremely poor judgment and a lack of care on the part of a number of Secret Service employees. Given the sensitivity of the information with which these agents are entrusted, particularly with regard to their protective function, this episode is deeply disturbing. Secret Service leadership must ensure that behavior like this will not be tolerated.”

Tim Chambless of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute says it’s a humiliating moment for the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security.

“This is not an embarrassment for Congressman Chaffetz," Chambless said. "It’s an embarrassment for the Secret Service, yet the Secret Service is a vital organization, a vital agency, and we’re not going to shut down the Secret Service."

Since this is a personnel matter, Chambless believes after Wednesday’s public apology, the rest of the incident will be handled behind closed doors. While Chambless does believe some members will lose their jobs, he doesn’t believe it’s the worst leak in the agency’s history.

“It was an application," Chambless said. "There was no interview. For whatever reason, it’s unclear, his application didn’t go anywhere. If you’re a public figure this is something the public maybe should know."

With that said, Chambless does believe Chaffetz has a bright future in politics.

Jeh. C Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security, also issued a statement Wednesday in response to the report. See below for that statement:

"In April, I asked the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General to investigate reports of improper access and distribution of information by U.S. Secret Service employees pertaining to Congressman Jason Chaffetz.

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

With the investigation completed, 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. I also reiterate the apology I issued in April to Chairman Chaffetz. Activities like those described in the report must not, and will not, be tolerated."

16 comments

    • Terrazzo

      People do not trust the federal government and we continue to have reasons to feel this way. From the IRS to the Secret Service and TSA. And they have guns. Sad but it is a culture from the top down!

      • laytonian

        Considering Chaffetz’ rude and crude behavior during TSA checks, some investigation into his psyche would have been called for. Sharing whatever was found (and what WAS it?) was wrong.
        Tool Chaffetz opened his phony Planned Parenthood hearings by weeping about how his parents died of cancer and that it was PP’s fault. Tool.

      • DDD

        Get used to hearing Congressman Jason Chaffetz’s name for a long long long time Laytonian. The people of Utah with common sense will continue to re-elect him until he is elected to the US Senate.

  • Cheryl

    Completely disgusting! Get a life, people-whether you like the guy or not, this shows a complete lapse of judgement on all levels!!!

    • DDD

      You got a lot of hate working for you there little buddy. The sad news for you is that his next re-election is as sure as the sun coming up tomorrow. :)

    • bob

      ANOTHERBOB worships the government bureaucracy. That their actions, targeting an elected representative of the People in a vendetta, were ILLEGAL doesn’t bother him. Everything the bureaucracy does is art.

  • hgh

    ………………..235 my co-worker’s sister-in-law makes $81 an hour on the laptop . She has been fired for 8 months but last month her pay was $13369 just working on the laptop for a few hours. why not try this out .Get More Detail Here

  • Howard Winn

    Mr. C. you are now a public figure and should welcome the verifications of your past. Others have had theirs checked also. I don’t think you should be exempt.

    • laytonian

      Exactly. Now that Chaffetz has blown it up, maybe it’s time for a Freedom of Information Act request to reveal what’s in that file? The voters should have access.

Comments are closed.