There was yet another bit of dirty laundry aired aired earlier this year involving the Secret Service. Back in April it was revealed that someone had released details of an application to join the service by now Congressman Jason Chaffetz. It caused quite a stir and resulted in an apology from DHS. (Fox News)
The Secret Service reportedly is being accused of leaking private information on how Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz — one of the agency’s toughest critics — was rejected for a job there more than a decade ago.
The bizarre chain of events prompted Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to personally call Chaffetz on Thursday night and apologize. Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy also called to apologize, according to a DHS spokeswoman.
Spokeswoman Marsha Catron said in a statement that Johnson is now seeking an investigation, “and if the allegations … are true, those responsible should be held accountable.”
That last comment from the DHS spokesperson is of particular interest this week. “Those responsible should be held accountable.” But before you can get around to any of the actual holding you need to complete an investigation and determine who the responsible parties are and how things went off the rails. That process has been dragging out for a while now and there are indications this week that the methods being employed may not be quite above board. For one thing, if you’re going to be investigating the Secret Service, should you really be inviting the Secret Service to take part in the investigation? (WaPo)
John Roth is the top watchdog at the Department of Homeland Security, a position shielded by law from outside pressure so he can conduct independent inquiries of the government’s sensitive internal workings.
But during a nearly completed investigation of the Secret Service, Roth’s office has taken the unorthodox step of allowing officials from the service to work alongside his agents as they tried to determine how unflattering information about a congressman was disclosed from the agency’s files, according to half a dozen people familiar with the inquiry.
Legal experts and former government investigators said the approach threatens the integrity of the investigation of who at the Secret Service uncovered and leaked material showing that Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) — chairman of a House committee overseeing the agency — had once been rejected for a job as an agent.
The details of this are truly amazing. Secret Service staff members were allowed to sit in on the interviews with more than three dozen staffers who were questioned about the leak. In some instances they went out and questioned witnesses themselves. One of those was an agent who had allegedly been in contact with a reporter for the Washington Post, adding even more fuel to the fire. The Secret Service was allowed to gain access to the agent’s private cell phone records showing they had contacted the reporter and ask them about it.
Were they trying to find out how the leak happened or punish the people who were talking out of the school to the press? It’s bad enough that people are leaping over fences at the White House and crashing drones on the lawn. Of course, in the case of the former incident we might have gotten a clue from the fact that their first proposed remedy was to say, “Hey… maybe we’ll start locking the door now.”
Much like the VA, the EPA, the labor board and so many others, there are more than sufficient indications to conclude that there’s something seriously wrong at the Secret Service. The old saying informs us that a new broom sweeps clean, but from the looks of things in Washington today we’re going to need an industrial sized vacuum cleaner.