|News Media Update||WASHINGTON, D.C.||Confidentiality/Privilege|
Treasury closes investigation on Secret Service report
- A leak investigation within the U.S. Secret Service did not uncover who spoke to reporters at U.S. News & World Report, which published a series of stories in 2002 about problems within the agency.
Dec. 17, 2003 — A U.S. Secret Service internal investigation failed to discover who told U.S. News & World Report magazine about serious problems within the agency.
The magazine’s 2002 series prompted a year-long internal investigation by the Treasury Department, which oversees the Secret Service. Results of that investigation, conducted by the Treasury’s Office of Inspector General, were chronicled in a report released last week pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request by The Washington Post.
The redacted report, completed in April, says the investigation failed to discover any current or former Secret Service employees who illegally disclosed sensitive information to U.S. News reporters, according to a Dec. 12 story in the Post. However, one agent refused to provide a sworn statement to investigators and resigned from the agency, the report says. Another agent did provide such a statement, but the report says the agent probably lied.
The Post reported that investigators examined “Secret Service telephone and computer records.”
The U.S. News articles, published in June 2002, detailed criminal behavior and careless action by members of the Secret Service. One article reported how agents left Vice President Dick Cheney’s detailed itinerary in a snowboard shop during the Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games in 2002. Another article told of a drunken brawl involving agents after their shift ended. Allegations of inadequate weapons training and extramarital affairs involving agents were also reported.
The Department did not subpoena any reporters from U.S. News during the course of its investigation.
U.S. News editor Brian Duffy says there were “people who were anxious about having spoken to us about the Secret Service’s protective capabilities” and that he is grateful those government employees chose to express their concerns to the public.
© 2003 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press