Thursday, October 01, 2015

Secret Service Sought To Discredit Congressman Investigating Security Lapses

UPDATED: At least 45 Secret Service employees, including high-level members of the department, improperly accessed confidential files of U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who chairs the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, has been an outspoken critic of the Secret Service as the committee as his committee undertook investigations of serious security lapses occurring within the agency charged with protecting the security of the president and other high-level government officials.

The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general found that employees began accessing a confidential file of Chaffetz, who had once sought employment at the agency years ago, within minutes of hearings into security lapses by Chaffetz' committee beginning. The inspector general found that agents openly discussed among themselves leaking information about Chaffetz they viewed as damaging in an effort to discredit his investigation. Information about Chaffetz applying for a job at the agency and being turned down did find its way into news reports, although the inspector general could not confirm who, if any, Secret Service employee had provided the information to the media.

The inspector general said the employees' actions may have amounted to a crime under the U.S. Privacy Act. Although as many as 18 high-level members of the agency knew about Chaffetz confidential files being pilfered, the agency's director said he was unaware of their actions. Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson personally apologized to Rep. Chaffetz for the illegal actions of Secret Service agents to discredit him.

Chaffetz is a rather odd bird. He is the step-son of Kitty Dukakis, wife of former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, whose failed presidential campaign he supported in 1988, along with his half-brother, actor and musician, John Dukakis, who once worked on the Senate staff of John Kerry (D). Although he was raised Jewish, he later converted to Mormonism during his last year of school at Brigham Young University, which he attended on an athletic scholarship. After graduating, he worked as a spokesperson for NuSkin, a controversial Utah-based company that has faced the scrutiny of state regulators for operating a multi-level marketing scheme some have described as a pyramid scheme. Chaffetz became a Republican while he was working for NuSkin, whose founders contributed heavily to the failed presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.

From the moment Chaffetz was elected to Congress in 2008, Fox News began promoting him incessantly. You would have thought he was a paid commentator for the network as often as he appeared on its evening line-up of talking head shows. I think the public should be skeptical of any politician who is heavily promoted by mainstream media networks. At a certain point, they simply become actors or propaganda agents for a certain political viewpoint the network is advancing. Perhaps that's the only reason they are elected to office.


Anonymous said...

The USSS was the best of the best, when they were under the Department of the Treasury with a dedicated and clear mission of anti-counterfeiting, financial crimes and executive protection. They've since nose-dived on a nebulous "counter-terrorism" mission under DHS, the largest expansion of the US gov't since FDR.

It's ironic that the people who let the intelligence services loose in the first place is Congress. They keep giving them more and more power and keep removing safeguards and civilian/judicial oversight. It's no wonder that the intelligence community is starting to feel they aren't accountable to anyone...because they aren't any more.

Anonymous said...

Remember the government employees who were fired for accessing Obama's passport file in 2007/08?

Gary R. Welsh said...

The Secret Service hasn't been the best for a long time. They were complicit, if not incompetent, in both Kennedy assassinations and the attempt on Reagan's life.

Anonymous said...

The comments completely miss the point, which is that all government officials now feel completely free to openly use their power to destroy their enemies, real or pereceived. This has nothing to do with the Secret Service and everything to do with what America has become. It's no different elsewhere in government or in large corporations. No different at all.

Anonymous said...

Chaffetz can be a jerk. In February 2015 Chaffetz threatened Washington, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser with possible jail time if she implements Initiative 71. The ballot initiative would legalize small amounts of cannabis in the district and was approved by about 64.87 percent of the voters in 2014.

And this isn’t his first run in with security. Chaffetz and TSA have had a rocky relationship since he joined Congress. In his freshman year, in what critics have described as political grandstanding, he accused Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents at his hometown airport in Salt Lake City of unfairly targeting him to pass through a full-body scanning machine—a device Chaffetz believes is invasive. The Republican lawmaker said he believed he was targeted partially for his opposition to granting TSA screeners collective bargaining rights. The union representing some of the officers said at the time that agents followed proper procedure and that an officer who had recently returned from military service in Iraq didn’t recognize Chaffetz. Sorry.

And Chaffetz had a particularly hypocritical role in Benghazi. Chaffetz has been criticized for politicizing the Benghazi incident, acknowledging in an interview with CNN that he had "voted to cut the funding for embassy security" and that House Republicans had consciously voted to reduce the funds allocated to the State Department for embassy security since winning the majority in 2010. "Absolutely," Chaffetz said. "Look we have to make priorities and choices in this country." Ok. But then he pointed fingers at everybody else shamelessly..

LamLawIndy said...

Well, this isn't exactly new. Pres. Lincoln locked up reporters & editors who disagreed with the Union's war effort in military prisons.

Anonymous said...

In Chaffetz's ten year tenure at Nu Skin, the company was sued by the states of CT, PA, FL, IL, OH, MI, by Stanford U, the government of China, and twice by the FTC which alone cost the company $2.5 million. In 2014 Nu Skin was accused of investor securities fraud.
As head of the House committee 'investigating' Planned Parenthood he has been accused of an inability to confront an intelligent, competent woman in the person of Cecile Richards. Chaffetz introduced his now infamous chart stating that figures where taken from Planned Parenthood's own 2014 budget when the bottom caption showed that it was produced by the rabid anti-abortion group Citizens United for Life and I guess both agreed that 935,573 is less than 327,653.
Described by some as pompous and vile, it is no wonder that the SS turned down this liar's application. His strange interactions with legally constituted government agencies should warrant a review by the Secret Service.

Anonymous said...

FFS, what is on his resume, or CV or "job application" that can be so embarrassing?

I thought we were suppose to leave that crap out!!

Gary R. Welsh said...

If he applied for a job at the Secret Service, there would have been a background investigation of him in all likelihood because of the nature of the job. Those sometimes contain unproven and embarrassing allegations about a person. Something is wrong with SS's human resource system if so many persons were able to gain access to what was supposed to be a confidential file.

Anonymous said...

Unless it's SOP at the SS, Gary.