Scores of U.S. Secret Service employees improperly accessed the decade-old, unsuccessful job application of a congressman who was investigating scandals inside the agency, a new government report said Wednesday. An assistant director suggested leaking embarrassing information to retaliate against U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight Committee.
Actions by the employees could represent criminal violations under the U.S. Privacy Act, said the report by the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general, John Roth. “It doesn’t take a lawyer explaining the nuances of the Privacy Act to know that the conduct that occurred here — by dozens of agents in every part of the agency — was wrong,” the report said.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson personally apologized to Chaffetz again Wednesday, the congressman said in an interview on Capitol Hill. Johnson did not disclose whether any employees had been punished. “It’s intimidating,” Chaffetz said. “It’s what it was supposed to be.”