Thursday, October 1, 2015

Secret Service Shoots Itself in the Foot

What is going on at the U.S. Secret Service? I mean, I dislike Representative Jason Chaffetz as much as anyone, but really? Leaking gossipy tidbits to the press is very petty harassment, not to mention a violation of the Privacy Act when those tidbits come from your internal official files. Also not to mention stupid and reckless, since who else but Secret Service insiders could have accessed the 12-year old file on Chaffetz's unsuccessful application for a Secret Service agent job, and didn't they realize that would come back to bite the Service at a time when it can ill afford any more scandals?

The OIG report on this incident is short and sweet. A couple excerpts:
We have substantially completed our review of the allegation and have determined that a Secret Service database containing sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) pertaining to Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, was accessed on approximately 60 occasions by Secret Service employees. We have concluded that a vast majority of those who had accessed the information did so in violation of the Privacy Act, as well as Secret Service and DHS policy. Additionally, we identified one individual who acknowledged disclosing information protected by the Privacy Act to an outside source. However, because the number of individuals with access to this information was so great, we were unable to identify others who may have disclosed protected information to third parties.

[Chaffetz's] application had not been acted upon and the applicant had not been interviewed, reflected in MCI by a data field that read “BQA,” which meant that other better qualified applicants existed.

We identified 18 supervisors at the GS-15 or Senior Executive Service level who appeared to have known or should have known, prior to the publication of the fact, that Chairman Chaffetz’ MCI record was being accessed.

Moreover, at least one senior Secret Service executive, who knew about the fact of the Chaffetz application, suggested that it be leaked. On March 31st, two days before the publication of the information, Ed Lowery, who is an Assistant Director and in charge of training for the Secret Service, replied to an email from Faron Paramore, another Assistant Director who was in charge of Congressional and public affairs. Paramore’s email distributed a press statement by Secretary Johnson regarding Chairman Chaffetz’ decision to subpoena Secret Service agents. Lowery’s reply, sent only to Paramore, is reprinted in its entirety:

"Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out there."

An Assistant Director was incautious enough to say that in an e-mail? A 'better qualified applicant' will be found for his job very soon, I think.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

TSB: Good post! Don't you think what's going on there is the Presidents? I think it started with Bill Clinton and the one scandal after another. It made for interesting gossip with all that Bin Ladin stuff going on in the 90's, the 'weird election of 2000 when the Bush's stole it from Gore. And wasn't Bush the weirdest President to protect ever with the Veep running the show and Bush taking 850 days off to go cut brush on the Ranch? Talk about boring duty.

I think Trump is right when he says nobody respects the President.. including the Secret Service. Anybody seen the broom? gwb