There were more signs of friction between Congress and the Obama Administration over the Secret Service on Tuesday, as a House panel issued a subpoena for the closed door testimony of two agents, while the Department of Homeland Security chief accused Republicans of bad faith in the review of the troubled agency.
“It is disappointing the Department has declined to cooperate,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who accused the Obama Administration of refusing to allow Congress to hear privately from agents, not only about a March 4th episode outside the White House, but also more generally on issues inside the agency.
Not so, countered Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
“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,” Johnson said.
“Chairman Chaffetz’s assertion that this Department has been “uncooperative” is simply wrong,” Johnson said in his own written statement.
Chaffetz said his panel simply wants transcribed interviews, which would be on the record, but not before TV cameras.
Secretary Johnson said that would be fine.
“For reasons that are unclear to me, Chairman Chaffetz and his staff rejected this offer,” Johnson said.
Last week, Chaffetz and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) repeatedly pressed the Secret Service chief to insure that agents would be available; though he deferred to Johnson, his boss at Homeland Security.
This video was produced by the House Oversight Committee to buttress their argument.