Multiple sources told Secret Service chief of Chaffetz leak, IG says



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WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security said Friday that Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy had learned of information surrounding the improper accessing and leaking of Rep. Jason Chaffetz's personnel file from at least three sources in the week before that sensitive information became public.

Chaffetz, who as chairman of the House Oversight Committee has been deeply critical of the Secret Service, once unsuccessfully applied for a job at the agency.

Clancy initially told investigators he didn't know anything about Secret Service officers accessing and spreading information about Chaffetz until just before news stories were published about it in April.

A few months later, Clancy acknowledged having heard a "rumor" in late March about Chaffetz having applied for a job there, but stated it was "not credible" and "not attributed to a source of information or indicative of any action — appropriate or otherwise — by any Secret Service employee."

Now, though, the inspector general has conducted more interviews and says Clancy was told about Chaffetz's record by at least three high-level official sources: a Secret Service deputy director, a deputy assistant director and former directors.

One of those former Secret Service directors, Julia Pierson, said it was Clancy who told her about the rumors circulating, and that Clancy had said the Secret Service was "looking into it."


We are unable to determine, because he has no memory of it, the degree to which Director Clancy understood how widely the information was being disseminated within the Secret Service, or whether he understood that the discussion about Chairman Chaffetz was being fueled and confirmed by dozens of agents improperly accessing a protected file.

–Inspector General office statement


But Clancy did not take action to discover the ultimate source of this information surrounding Chaffetz, how it was discovered, or why it was circulating, the inspector general's office said. And Clancy told investigators that he doesn't remember anything about those March conversations about the rumors.

"We are unable to determine, because he has no memory of it, the degree to which Director Clancy understood how widely the information was being disseminated within the Secret Service, or whether he understood that the discussion about Chairman Chaffetz was being fueled and confirmed by dozens of agents improperly accessing a protected file," the inspector general's office said.

It added, "We do know that Director Clancy was told of the information from three different sources. We also know that no agency-wide affirmative steps were taken to stop access to the record until after the information was reported in the media."

Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback told CNN Friday night that Clancy contacted the inspector general "on his own initiative" last month so he could provide "additional details he felt he may have overlooked." But Hoback did not address the inspector general's finding that Clancy learned of the leak from multiple sources.

"The director has been nothing but cooperative and completely transparent throughout this entire investigation," Hoback continued. "Out of a sense of pride for this agency and its employees, he felt it important to provide the IG with every detail, even knowing that doing this would create further scrutiny."

Related:

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson responded to the ongoing file leak investigation in a statement, saying, "We will proceed expeditiously in determining accountability for those who violated any laws or policies of this department."

Johnson said he, not Clancy, will be making those decisions in coming weeks.

After news of the leak broke, Clancy apologized to Chaffetz, who told CNN earlier this month, "That isn't good enough. It's a little bit scary. The Secret Service diving into my background as a sitting member of Congress? These people are trusted with guns by the President, for goodness' sake."

On Thursday, the Secret Service blasted the inspector general's methods and findings concerning its investigation of two officers caught sleeping on the job over the summer.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2015 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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Michelle Kosinski

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