Private information regarding Rep. Jason Chaffetz was released to media outlets by Secret Service officials who wanted a dose of revenge, seeking to embarrass the legislator after they were upset with the Utah Congressman’s push to hold the agency accountable for multiple controversies.
According to the Washington Post:
“An assistant director of the Secret Service urged that unflattering information the agency had in its files about a congressman critical of the service should be made public, according to a government watchdog report released Wednesday.
“Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out,” Assistant Director Edward Lowery wrote in an e-mail to a fellow director on March 31, commenting on an internal file that was being widely circulated inside the service. “Just to be fair.”
Two days later, a news Web site reported that Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, had applied to be a Secret Service agent in 2003 and been rejected.
That information was part of Chaffetz’s personnel file stored in a restricted Secret Service database and required by law to be kept private.”
The article says that a heated hearing earlier this year sparked the feud, which led to his private file being shared across every spectrum of the Secret Service.
“The Chaffetz file, contained in the restricted database, had been peeked at by about 45 Secret Service agents, some of whom shared it with their colleagues in March and April, the report found. This prying began after a contentious March 24 House hearing at which Chaffetz scolded the director and the agency for its series of security gaffes and misconduct. The hearing sparked anger inside the agency.
The inspector general’s inquiry found the Chaffetz information was spread to nearly every layer of the service.
Staff members in the most senior headquarters offices, the president’s protective detail, the public affairs office, the office of investigations and field offices in Sacramento, Charlotte, Dallas and elsewhere accessed Chaffetz’s file — and many acknowledged sharing it widely, according to the report. The day after the March 24 hearing, one agent who had been sent to New York for the visit of the president of Afghanistan recalled that nearly all of the 70 agents at a briefing were discussing it.”
>>>So many people from the Secret Service accessed the file that investigators couldn’t say with certitude who leaked information from it to the media. One of those people familiar with the file and the rejection of Chaffetz even made a meme about it.
“Roth’s investigation examined not only who accessed Chaffetz’s personnel file inside the service but also who disclosed information about the file to the media. The Daily Beast first reported on April 2 that Chaffetz had once been rejected for a job at the service. The Washington Post reported additional details later that evening.
One official told The Post that the material included a parody poster that pictured Chaffetz leading a hearing on the Secret Service from his congressional dais, with the headline, “Got BQA from the Service in 2003.” Within the Secret Service, “BQA” is an acronym meaning that a “better qualified applicant” was available.
Roth’s report said investigators were unable to pin down how The Post and the Daily Beast obtained their information. “Because of the significant number of individuals who had knowledge of Chairman Chaffetz’s application history, we were unable to conclusively determine the universe of sources of the disclosure . . . to individuals outside of government,” the report said.”