POLITICS
09/30/2015 06:20 pm ET Updated Oct 01, 2015

Secret Service Wanted To Leak 'Embarrassing' Info On Congressman

"Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out. Just to be fair."

WASHINGTON -- Dozens of Secret Service personnel inappropriately accessed private information on a member of Congress who was conducting oversight of the agency, in a pattern the Department of Homeland Security's watchdog called "deeply disturbing."

The DHS Inspector General on Wednesday released the results of an investigation into who leaked information about how Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who conducts oversight of the Secret Service, had been rejected for a position in the agency years ago.

The report found that 45 different Secret Service employees in a variety of different locations accessed the record, but only four of them may have had a legitimate reason to do so.

The episode "reflects extremely poor judgment and a lack of care" by a number of employees, said Inspector General John Roth.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, makes an opening statement dur
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, makes an opening statement during a hearing.

"All personnel involved -- the agents who inappropriately accessed the information, the mid-level supervisors who understood what was occurring, and the senior leadership of the Service -- bear responsibility for what occurred," the inspector general's report stated.

At least one senior executive suggested that the information be leaked, the investigation found.

"Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out. Just to be fair," Edward Lowery, an assistant director in charge of training for the secret service, wrote in an email on March 31. In an interview with the inspector general, Lowery denied that he told anyone to release the information.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said the Secret Service owed Chaffetz "an immediate apology and must implement the strictest of disciplinary measures as soon as possible."

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