First we had the IRS targeting American citizens, now we have the Secret Service targeting a sitting member of congress. What’s next?
Republican congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah was basically singled out for a smear campaign.
Noah Rothman reports at Commentary:
Another Targeting Scandal
“This is scary. 1984 scary,” National Journal columnist Ron Fournier remarked on Thursday. “We’ve got an agency called ‘Secret Service’ targeting political enemies. Think about that.”
Indeed. This week, the fraternity house that is United States Secret Service graduated from ribald antics and hijinks to the outright political intimidation of those who would dare spoil the good time. The specific target of the Secret Service’s botched decapitation strike was House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz.
According to the Department of Homeland Security inspector general, the USSS assistant director tried to get some embarrassing information about the congressman into the public sphere in the effort to coerce Chaffetz to back off his investigation of the agency responsible for the personal safety of America’s most prominent political figures.
This was not just an implied threat against Chaffetz. It wasn’t a coy wink and a nod from the agency manager in question that triggered the operation aimed at defaming and intimidating an influential member of the House of Representatives. “Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out,” wrote USSS Assistant Director Edward Lowery. “Just to be fair.”
Chaffetz discussed the issue with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday:
Carol D. Leonnig and Jerry Markon of the Washington Post have more:
Secret Service official wanted to embarrass congressman
The inspector general’s inquiry found that the Chaffetz information was spread to nearly every layer of the service.
Staff members in the most senior headquarters offices, the president’s protective detail, the public affairs office, the office of investigations, and field offices in Sacramento, Charlotte, Dallas and elsewhere accessed Chaffetz’s file — and many acknowledged sharing it widely, according to the report. The day after the March 24 hearing, one agent who had been sent to New York for the visit of the president of Afghanistan recalled that nearly all of the 70 agents at a briefing were discussing it.
All told, 18 supervisors, including assistant directors, the deputy director and even Clancy’s chief of staff knew the information was being widely shared through agency offices, the report said.
“These agents work for an agency whose motto — ‘Worthy of trust and confidence’ — is engraved in marble in the lobby of their headquarters building,” Roth wrote in his summary report. “Few could credibly argue that the agents involved in this episode lived up to this motto.”
There is absolutely no excuse for this. Heads should roll.
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