The chief value of the Secret Service at this point, I think, is serving as an object lesson that no amount of corruption and incompetence is enough to cashier a federal agency. Until not so long ago, the VA or TSA was your go-to department in making that case, but between failing to stop intruders, driving drunk into barricades, sexual harassment accusations, prostitution scandals, and, oh yeah, mistakenly standing down after a nut fired several shots into the White House, I think the Service has taken a clear lead.

Add “vindictive reprisals towards federal officials for doing their oversight duties” to the list.

Employees accessed Chaffetz’s 2003 application for a Secret Service job starting 18 minutes after the start of a congressional hearing in March about the latest scandal involving drunken behavior by senior agents. Some forwarded the information to others. At least 45 employees viewed the file.

One week later, Assistant Director Ed Lowery suggested leaking embarrassing information about Chaffetz in retaliation for aggressive investigations by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee into a series of agency missteps and scandals, the report said. Days later, on April 2, the information about Chaffetz unsuccessfully applying for a job at the Secret Service was published by The Daily Beast, an Internet publication…

Lowery, who is in charge of training, told the inspector general he did not direct anyone to release information about Chaffetz and “believed it would have been inappropriate to do so,” the report said. He told Roth the email was “reflecting his stress and his anger.”…

The inspector general said that under U.S. law and Secret Service rules, employees were required to report such behavior to supervisors. The investigation found that 18 supervisors or members of the agency’s senior executive service knew or should have known that employees had improperly accessed Chaffetz’s job application, but only one person attempted to inform the Secret Service director, Joseph Clancy.

“It’s intimidating,” said Chaffetz. “It’s what it was supposed to be.” In a sane world, this agency would be deemed too thoroughly corrupt to continue and its duties and budget would be reassigned to, say, the FBI, a more professional force. But as it is, we’ll have a new round of hearings and the GOP will ineffectively grandstand and Director Clancy will express his sincere regrets, and on we’ll merrily go. There is no amount of negligence and malfeasance so great that a federal body will be declared a lost cause. That’s why the left will win in the long run, no matter what minor victories conservatives achieve here and there.

And the punchline: Apparently there was nothing so damning in Chaffetz’s old Secret Service application that it might conceivably have warranted the risk to the agency in dredging it up and leaking. Or at least, if there was, it never made into the Daily Beast report mentioned in the excerpt. To all appearances, Chaffetz’s application was “discrediting” to the agency simply because it was rejected. The theory they wanted the public to believe, I guess, is that Chaffetz harbored some sort of grudge against the agency for not hiring him many years before, as if a powerful congressman couldn’t quite get over his disappointment of more than a decade earlier. They’re even incompetent in smearing people.