The Secret Service, for giving away secrets
Just when you thought the Secret Service couldn’t possibly do anything to further harm its already badly damaged reputation, the agency goes and proves you wrong. The latest entry in this Keystone Cops saga came Wednesday, when The Washington Post broke the news of a report from a government watchdog revealing that Edward Lowery, an assistant director of the Secret Service, had urged that negative information about Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) be leaked to the press as a bit of score-settling.
At issue was how aggressive Chaffetz, the head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, had been in condemning the Secret Service at a hearing in March for a series of mishaps and mishandlings of its duties.
“Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out,” Lowery wrote in an e-mail in late March, according to the report. “Just to be fair.”
Chaffetz’s private personnel file at the Secret Service was then repeatedly accessed — a violation of privacy laws, if there was no legitimate work purpose — in the hours after that e-mail was sent. Within two days, news broke that Chaffetz had applied to be an agent and was rejected in 2003. What a coincidence!
Lowery insisted that his e-mail was simply a blowing-off-steam exercise and that he didn’t intend anyone to act on it. To which I say: Riiiight.
Upon learning of the machinations, Chaffetz said, “It was a tactic designed to intimidate and embarrass me, and frankly, it is intimidating.”
The Secret Service, for forgetting that the job is to protect and serve, not to leak and intimidate, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.