The Se­cret Ser­vice, for giv­ing away se­crets

The Washington Post Sunday - - OUTLOOK - By Chris Cil­lizza Have a can­di­date for the worst week in Washington? E-mail Chris Cil­lizza at chris.cil­lizza@wash­post.com.

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.

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