It’s about abusing power

This is the United States of America, where the government is not supposed to attempt to intimidate members of the press, use the Internal Revenue Service to harass opponents of the White House, retaliate against public employees who try to protect sick veterans or go out of its way to embarrass congressmen who demand the Secret Service do its job.

But it has happened. All of it. And in the face of truly un-American behavior, President Barack Obama’s administration has not fired a single person involved in activities listed above. And though clear violations of the law have occurred, no one has been prosecuted.

Perhaps you have heard about most of the situations. But the Secret Service outrage is brand new.

Among those demanding reforms at the agency, which has tolerated repeated failures in its duty to protect top government officials, has been U.S.?Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.

Scores of Secret Service employees became aware that in 2003, Chaffetz applied to become an agent. He was turned down, for reasons unknown other than a notation on his file, “Better Qualified Applicant.”

Secret Service Assistant Director Ed Lowery suggested the file be leaked to retaliate against Chaffetz. “Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out,” Lowery wrote in an email to another agency official.

“It’s intimidating,” Chaffetz said of the episode, adding, “It’s what it was supposed to be.”

Indeed. Lowery – and probably others at the Secret Service – meant to send a message to other members of Congress: Don’t make us mad. We may have a file on you, too.

Both Democrat and Republican lawmakers have expressed outrage about the situation.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson apologized to Chaffetz, and said those involved in the outrage “should be held accountable.” He provided no details of how that may be done.

If history is any guide, a few bureaucrats may be allowed to retire early – with full benefits, of course – but no meaningful punishment will be meted out. That almost never happens in Washington.

That, too, sends a message to government officials. It is about abusing power and getting away with it, even in America.


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