WASHINGTON (UPI) — U.S. Secret Service agents involved in leaking the personnel file of Rep. Jason Chaffetz will face discipline ranging from a reprimand to suspensions without pay, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, led a probe of embarrassing Secret Service disclosures which included drinking on the job and intruders at the White House. In response to Chaffetz’ investigation, an unidentified Secret Service official encouraged “some information that he might find embarrassing” to be released, a September Department of Homeland Security report by its Inspector General said.
The report said the confidential file on Chaffetz, created when he applied for a job with the agency prior to running for Congress, was accessed about 60 times, a violation of policy and of the Privacy Act, and only once did a manager attempt to prevent the action. The information, leaked to the press, was regarded as retribution against Chaffetz for pursuing an investigation of the agency, CNN said.
A statement from Johnson said the conduct of 57 Secret Service employees was reviewed, and 41 will be disciplined. The employee who leaked the information has resigned; the others will receive penalties ranging from a letter of reprimand to 45 days’ leave without pay. It added that Johnson and Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy apologized to the person identified only as “an individual who is now a Member of Congress.”
“Like many others I was appalled by the episode reflected in the Inspector General’s report, which brought real discredit to the Secret Service. From Director Clancy, I have been told that tighter processes are now in place to limit access to personally identifiable information and to highlight for employees the consequences of a breach of that data.”
The identities of those to be disciplined were not provided. The agency’s director and deputy director will not be subject to disciplinary action.
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