Suuuuuuuure they will. As Allahpundit noted last night, the Secret Service joins a long line of federal agencies to have played hardball with Congress and others to undermine its legitimate oversight function. How has accountability worked out in those other instances? Well, Hillary Clinton’s still running for the Democratic Party nomination while the Benghazi committee waits for the communications Congress should have had almost three years ago, and no one at the IRS has gotten fired over targeting conservatives in the tax-exempt application process.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen here, either. Eighteen supervisors knew about this and did nothing about it; the knowledge of Assistant Director Ed Lowery’s efforts went almost all the way to the top of the Secret Service hierarchy. Apparently, the only one not to know about it was the boss, Joseph Clancy, who got appointed with the explicit mission of cleaning up the agency:
Roth said in his report that it was “especially ironic and troubling” that the Chaffetz information circulated so widely inside the agency and yet Clancy did not know about it. Even Clancy chief of staff Michael Biermann and Deputy Director Craig Magaw had been privy to the information, the report said, but did not alert Clancy.
Still, Clancy and Johnson say that those involved will be “held accountable“:
“I am confident that U.S. Secret Service Director Joe Clancy will take appropriate action to hold accountable those who violated any laws or the policies of this department,” Johnson said. “Activities like those described in the report must not, and will not, be tolerated.”
Clancy also apologized Wednesday for “this wholly avoidable and embarrassing misconduct” and pledged to hold those responsible for the data breach accountable.
“I will continue to review policies and practices to address employee misconduct and demand the highest level of integrity of all our employees,” Clancy said in a statement.
We’ll know Clancy takes this seriously when he fires all 18 supervisors and managers who knew about this and allegedly failed to report it to him. This is not just “embarrassing misconduct,” it might be criminal conduct; Roth even states that these actions might be criminal violations of privacy laws. It certainly was an attempt to curtail the legitimate Congressional oversight of an agency whose track record of late shows that it sorely needs it. This is an offense against the Constitution these public officials swore to uphold. Strongly worded letters of reprimand simply won’t cut it.
Chaffetz is right when he calls this an intimidation tactic, and that it had its intended effect. That applies more widely than just Chaffetz, too. The leak was so obviously retaliatory that it was clearly intended as pour encourager les autres, and not just on Capitol Hill. What would keep these same “scores” of Secret Service agents from pulling the same stunt with critics of less formal stature — say, journalists and columnists who have questioned the direction and performance of this agency over the last several years? Certainly not the “accountability” we’ve seen with other Obama administration officials who have thwarted oversight and manipulated the sensitive information of their political opponents.