Secret Service Targeting of Chaffetz Alarms Lawmakers

Roll Call

A Secret Service official’s allegedly deliberate decision to embarrass Rep. Jason Chaffetz could “give pause” to other lawmakers who have applied for federal jobs, cautioned former House Judiciary Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.

The inappropriate intrusion into Privacy Act-protected information, acknowledged in a report by the agency’s inspector general, could have a chilling effect, Sensenbrenner told CQ Roll Call Thursday — and he thinks someone “should be fired over it.”

Spying on the phones and electronic devices of elected officials has stoked concern in Congress. Even Sensenbrenner, the lead author of the 2002 Patriot Act, has protested lax oversight of the National Security Agency’s activities. But the disturbing leak to two media outlets of Chaffetz’s rejected application for a Secret Service job and the particulars surrounding it raised further alarm about privacy.

“Those responsible need to be held accountable, because behavior like this threatens the very nature of independent oversight of law enforcement,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, said Thursday.

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