Joint-Hearing Reveals Information Security Failures at the Secret Service
WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, under the chairmanship of Senator James Lankford (R-OK), and the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, under the chairmanship of Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), held a hearing today to examine recent internal security breaches at the U.S. Secret Service. Hearing witnesses included: Joseph Clancy, Director of the U.S. Secret Service; John Roth, Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security; and Joel Willemssen, Managing Director of Information Technology at the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
The Subcommittee discussed a pattern of federal agency data breaches, as well as a recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) report on U.S. Secret Service employees that alleged violations of the Privacy Act, DHS policy, and Secret Service policy. The OIG discovered a practice of accessing personal records of Americans on an internal Secret Service database. In addition to illegally accessing the information, some Secret Service employees may have disclosed protected employment records to the media.
“Today’s hearing revealed a disappointing culture at the Secret Service that reflects a total disregard for privacy, which appears to be occurring in other agencies, as well,” said Lankford. “The security violations against private citizens are very serious and should be a wake-up call to Congress and the American people. Cybersecurity and privacy are some of the biggest national security issues in today’s world, and yet our federal agencies are failing at security protocols. Dozens of Secret Service individuals have been disciplined, but more must be done to ensure a culture of respect for privacy. In light of recent failures at the Secret Service, OPM, the VA, and the Social Security Administration, federal agencies must demonstrate a plan to protect the millions of Americans whose private information is housed on government databases.”
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