Agency Has Repeatedly Hindered Congressional Oversight Efforts
WASHINGTON—Today, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a subpoena for documents to U. S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. Due to repeated failures of the protective mission and embarrassing instances of misconduct at the U.S. Secret Service (USSS), the Committee is reviewing all aspects of the agency’s leadership, culture, protocols, training, personnel, budget, technology and tactics in an effort to understand the source of these mishaps. While the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and the Protective Mission Panel (PMP) have previously conducted reviews of the agency, the Committee is seeking unique information to establish the root of budget, training, technology, morale and mission challenges.
The USSS first came into the spotlight in 2012 when USSS personnel engaged in sexual misconduct, including soliciting prostitutes, during a Presidential visit to Colombia. In the three years since that disappointing and unacceptable incident, the Committee has been made aware of numerous similar situations.
In a February 18, 2015 letter, the Committee outlined the scope of documents and information it was requesting. Despite numerous attempts to work collaboratively with USSS over the last 5 months, the agency has failed to produce all materials requested.
“We have been exceedingly understanding with the USSS, but the Committee’s bipartisan document request is now months old. We need these documents to better understand the root cause of past security lapses, low employee morale and serious incidents of misconduct,” said Chairman Chaffetz. “Our goal is to identify and address deficiencies before another dangerous incident occurs. We have a Constitutional right to this information and will use all available remedies to ensure we obtain the access we need to conduct effective oversight.”
The U.S. Secret Service has repeatedly obstructed oversight efforts.
- In March 2015, the Committee was forced to subpoena USSS personnel involved in the March 4, 2015 suspicious package incident outside of the White House complex when the agency refused to produce them voluntarily for interviews.
- USSS did not produce a single document in the February 18, 2015 request by the April 1, 2015 deadline, and has since failed to completely produce specific document sets prioritized by the Committee.
- USSS is withholding 13,000+ documents from the Committee that were provided to the outside Protective Mission Panel (PMP) commissioned to review the agency last fall. The PMP finished its entire review in two months, including the time it took to receive these documents from USSS.
- In documents provided to the Committee, information is withheld in the form of unnecessary redactions.