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Washington • The watchdog arm of the Homeland Security Department is reopening an investigation into the Secret Service after its director now says he knew that agents were illegally accessing internal records about Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

The department's inspector general released the results of a monthslong investigation into the agency that found that some 45 Secret Service agents or employees logged into a restricted database to see Chaffetz's 2003 job application to join the agency, and that at least one senior official suggested leaking that information to the news media.

The report said that Secret Service Director Joe Clancy told investigators he wasn't aware that agents had been looking at Chaffetz's job application — he was rejected — but last week, he reversed himself and said he did hear of a "speculative rumor" that Chaffetz had applied to the agency.

"It was not until later that I became aware that this rumor had developed as Agency employees had used an Agency database to gain access to this information," Clancy said in the statement to The Washington Post.

The inspector general's office said Monday its investigators would conduct further interviews and "take other investigative steps" and issue an addendum to its report now that Clancy has revised his statement.

Meanwhile, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said Monday that he would block three of President Barack Obama's nominees for ambassador roles until the administration takes steps to punish the Secret Service over the Chaffetz incident.

"This was apparently a violation of law, and absolutely shocking conduct," Cotton told The Post. "The executive branch all the way up to the West Wing needs to treat this with the seriousness it requires."