J6 committee released docs ‘inadvertently’ containing SSNs, those affected reportedly not alerted

As the final days of the blatantly biased House Jan. 6 committee wound down, it posted online the rotten fruits of its labor — hundreds of documents gathered as part of its quest to quest to end former President Donald Trump’s political career.

According to a new report, included among the “massive cache” of materials were the Social Security numbers of nearly 2,000 high-profile people who visited the White House in December 2020.

On Friday, the second anniversary of the fateful events at the Capitol, The Washington Post reported that the “inadvertently” doxxed individuals include “at least three members of Trump’s Cabinet, a few Republican governors and numerous Trump allies.”

Many of the Social Security numbers listed in the logs were redacted, but The Post reports that roughly 1,900 of them were revealed, including those of South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R), her husband, and her three children.

A spokesperson for Noem, Ian Fury, said the Government Publishing Office (GPO), the original publisher of the file, did not even bother to give Noem a heads-up about the massive breach of privacy.

“To my knowledge, we were not notified,” Fury said. “The governor was not notified.”

“My lawyers have asked the @WhiteHouse, the @USNatArchives, and @BennieGThompson which of them is responsible for leaking the Social Security Numbers of me, my husband, my 3 kids, and my son-in-law,” Noem tweeted on Friday. “What specific measures and remedies will be taken to protect our identities?”

As chairman of the House committee, a lawyer for Noem demanded that recipients of the letter provide “a detailed response addressing how the breach of privacy occurred.”

“Governor Noem and her family are now at a very high risk of identity theft and being personally compromised due to the failure to redact the social security numbers and making the same available to the public,” attorney James E. Moore wrote. “Because the information was published online, anyone could have accessed their social security numbers and saved, disseminated, or sold the information.”

The publishing of Social Security numbers, Moore noted, is a violation of the Privacy Act of 1974.

Also caught up in the breach were Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R), and former Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, all of whom did not comment.

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, who also had his Social Security number posted in the spreadsheet, called the breach “frightening.”

“Whether it was a careless and sloppy handling of records or a deliberate disregard of decorum, either scenario is a perfunctory and callous display of government and a frightening reminder of the current state in Washington,” he said. “President Reagan was a savant indeed — the nine most frightening words to hear are ‘I am from the government and here to help.'”

An anonymous former Jan. 6 aide told The Post that committee “records released publicly underwent a review process to redact personal details and other sensitive information.”

“Any release of such information was inadvertent,” the aide insisted.

According to The Post: “A federal district court judge and a federal appeals court judge, at least a half-dozen people who testified before the Jan. 6 committee and a lawyer who represented another witness before the committee also appear to have had their Social Security numbers exposed.”

It was The Post that notified the GPO of the astonishing error, and the GPO removed the spreadsheet on Wednesday, but it is unclear how many people had downloaded the sensitive information. A new spreadsheet has since been uploaded with the Social Security numbers redacted.

In a statement, GPO spokesperson Gary Somerset said the office “does not edit or alter materials provided by Congress for publication.”

Somerset went on to say that the logs were removed from the site as a “temporary measure” while “our teammates scan other documents” for personally identifiable information.

Meanwhile, the Jan. 6 committee, the White House, and the National Archives are scrambling to throw blame at each other.

Then-White House attorney Dana Remus wrote a letter to Archivist of the United States David Ferriero on Feb. 15, 2022, stating that the Jan. 6 committee “agreed to accept production of these records with birth dates and social security numbers removed” to “ensure that personal privacy information is not inadvertently disclosed.”

But the Archives’ public and media communications office told The Post in a statement that “while we took affirmative steps to redact personally identifiable information (PII), we did not expect that the Committee would publicly release records that still may have contained PII.”

The Post’s request for comment “was the first we had heard of a potential inadvertent release of personally identifiable information,” the statement continued, adding that “we are assessing the situation and any necessary steps to address an inadvertent release.”

Online, few are buying the notion that this was a simple mistake.

“Need public firings of all involved,” wrote one user on Twitter. “May they rot in prisons.”

“That’s absolutely reprehensible!!!” exclaimed another.

“This was done intentionally and they need to be intentionally charged with a crime!” stated a third.

And a fourth tweeted this sobering take: “Seems America is imploding.”


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Melissa Fine


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