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Rep. Jason Chaffetz received personal apologies from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy after details that he once had been rejected as a job applicant by the security agency were leaked to a reporter.
"Secretary Johnson has called for an investigation and if the allegations in the report are true, those responsible should be held accountable," said Marsha Catron, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security.
She said Johnson apologized to Chaffetz, R-Utah, for "being put in a situation that he had to acknowledge a matter that should have been kept confidential."
Chaffetz said he wouldn't let the episode change his investigation into security lapses involving the Secret Service.
"I'll be professional about it. It is disconcerting, but I have a job to do and I will continue to do it," he said, noting the calls from Johnson and Clancy. "They assured me they will get to the bottom of it and I believe it when they say it is wholly unacceptable."
The Daily Beast reported Thursday that Chaffetz had applied to the Secret Service in either 2002 or 2003 and received a rejection letter. Chaffetz said it was because he was too old (he would have been 36) to apply.
Chaffetz is the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has been highly critical of the Secret Service for a series of recent missteps, including when a man jumped a fence and made it into the White House. In March, two intoxicated agents drove into a White House barricade next to an ongoing investigation of a suspicious package.
Almost immediately after The Daily Beast story appeared online, senior Oversight Committee aides contacted the Homeland Security's inspector general, saying sources within the agency believe Chaffetz's Secret Service application was leaked in an attempt to embarrass him. Johnson then called for an investigation.
Chaffetz said he applied to the Secret Service and, possibly, the FBI in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He downplayed his interest in a law-enforcement job.
"It was about 10 minutes of my life and that's it," he said."I didn't take it personally then or now and neither should they."
Chaffetz eventually moved on to manage Jon Huntsman's successful campaign for Utah governor in 2004. He was elected to the U.S. House in 2008.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, reacted strongly to the suspected leak.
"If these claims are true, I find them extremely problematic and disturbing," the Maryland Democrat told The Hill. "It continues to erode the credibility of one of our most important agencies."
The leak came just two days after Chaffetz subpoenaed two Secret Service agents who were present when colleagues drove through the active bomb investigation. Clancy refused to make those agents available.
Chaffetz argued that, without the agents' testimony, the committee couldn't perform its oversight role.
Johnson disagreed, releasing a statement saying: "I regret that Chairman Chaffetz and his staff have taken the unprecedented and unnecessary step of subpoenaing two members of the U.S. Secret Service with the responsibility for the protection of the president, his family and the White House complex," he said. "Director Clancy and I must fight to protect them against the visibility, public glare, and inevitable second-guessing of a congressional hearing."
The committee has yet to schedule that hearing.
"[The Secret Service] has a deep cultural problem," Chaffetz said, "and we are going to continue our investigation."