This story is over 5 years old.


41 Secret Service Agents Punished for Leaking Info on the US Lawmaker Investigating Them

The leaked personal files belonged to Representative Jason Chaffetz from Utah, who was leading a probe into the beleaguered agency.
Photo by Michael Reynolds/EPA

More than 40 US Secret Service employees have been disciplined for their role in leaking the personal files of a prominent Republican congressman, the Department of Homeland Security said on Thursday.

The files belonged to Representative Jason Chaffetz from Utah, who as chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was leading a probe into the beleaguered agency.

Punishments for the 41 employees involved in the leak ranged from a letter of reprimand to suspensions without pay for up to 45 days, said an "appalled" Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson. The individual who gave the information on Chaffetz to the Washington Post has resigned from the service. The identities of the employees were not disclosed, ironically, due to federal privacy laws. At least one agent has resigned.


The revelations "brought real discredit to the Secret Service," Johnson said in a statement. "I hope and expect the Secret Service has put sad episodes like this behind it."

Related: The Secret Service Is Still Drunk and Dysfunctional

This is the latest public embarrassment for the Secret Service, which has undergone a leadership crisis in recent years and is attempting to mend a culture of lax discipline, poor performance and covering up mistakes. Some of the issues with the agency trace back 12 years to when it was pulled out of the Treasury Department and absorbed into the sprawling new Department of Homeland Security.

Soon after Chaffetz held a hearing on the agency in March, various media reported that he had been rejected for a Secret Service job in 2003, before he was elected to the House of Representatives.

The leaks occurred over a year ago and prompted Johnson and Secret Service director Joseph Clancy, to personally apologize to Chaffetz and open an investigation into what happened, according to Johnson's statement.

"This should have never happened and should not happen again," Chaffetz told CNN in a statement. The congressman believed that the leak was an attempt to find embarrassing information about him to force him to back off of his investigation into the agency.

Follow VICE News on Twitter: @vicenews