Yet Another Secret Service Scandal: Agency Targets Jason Chaffetz

The Secret Service Scandal mill seems to still be in good working order as a new set of revelations have emerged. AP reports that an Assistant Director has been caught suggesting that embarrassing information concerning Congressman Jason Chaffetz be leaked by the Secret Service.

Scandal has dogged the agency for some time now, with incidents involving alcohol, women, and security breaches surfacing at frequent intervals. It was this kind of conduct that Chaffetz, a member of the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee, was speaking out against. You can see Representative Chaffetz in action in this video, where he excoriates Service Director Clancy over yet another Secret Service scandal involving a White House bomb threat.

This latest Secret Service Scandal has surfaced after Homeland Security’s Inspector General John Roth released a report concerning misconduct and data breaches by multiple agents, as well as allegations against Assistant Director Edward Lowery. The report contains details of an email written by Lowery in which he suggested that embarrassing information concerning Chaffetz should be leaked to the public.

“Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out, just to be fair.”

Clancy has stated that the email did not represent a directive or even a suggestion, and was a result of his “anger and frustration” after aggressive questioning over a series of Secret Service scandals.

The information concerned was a decade old application made by Chaffetz to join the Secret Service. In late March, following a Secret Service scandal involving drunk agents, Chaffetz went on the warpath, subjecting Director Clancy and others to a grilling over the scandal. Secret Service agents then began accessing the restricted file containing Chaffetz’s job application an incredible 18 minutes after the hearing. In all, the file was accessed by no less than 45 members of the Secret Service. Scandal and missteps in general being aggressively investigated by Chaffetz at the time, AD Lowery is said to have leaked embarrassing information concerning the Congressman a week later. By April 2, the job application had been published in The Daily Beast.

Secret Service Scandal Rep Chaffetz was known for his aggressive investigation of Secret Service scandal [Getty Images/Brendan Hoffman]The application was on a restricted Secret Service server and was required to be kept private by privacy law. Its classification, as well as privacy law, requires viewing of all such documents to be conducted purely on a “need to know basis.” It was therefore illegal for the document to be shared, viewed by multiple agents and, ultimately, leaked for publication by the Secret Service. In his report, Roth pointed out the unequivocal nature of the data breach.

“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.”

Scandals like this one have dogged the Service in recent years, and this particular incident has brought the agency down with a bump from a wave of popularity following on from the recent visit of Pope Francis.

Secret Service Scandal The Secret Service had until now been riding high after the Pope’s visit.
[Getty Images/Andrew Renneisen]
According to The Kansas City Star, Chaffetz had even sent a letter in praise of the Secret Service just before this latest scandal. Secret Service agents and senior management were apparently aware of the widespread sharing of the document. One unnamed agent is quoted as saying that, to his knowledge, all 70 agents in his detail had knowledge of Chaffetz’s failed application. According to report, 18 personnel in supervisory or management roles, including Director Clancy’s chief of staff, were aware of what was going on. Secret Service regulations require that all members of the agency report any misconduct that they are aware of.

Director Clancy is a retired agent who took over the agency on a temporary basis. His appointment followed the ousting of his predecessor, Julia Pierson, following a Secret Service scandal involving security breaches.

[Picture via Getty Images/Mark Wilson]