Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz said Thursday that the Department of Homeland Security is using roughly 1,000 rounds of ammunition more per person than the U.S. Army, as he and other lawmakers sharply questioned DHS officials on their “massive” bullet buys.
“It is entirely … inexplicable why the Department of Homeland Security needs so much ammunition,” Chaffetz, R-Utah, said at a hearing.
The hearing itself was unusual, as questions about the department’s ammunition purchases until recently had bubbled largely under the radar — on blogs and in the occasional news article. But as the Department of Homeland Security found itself publicly defending the purchases, lawmakers gradually showed more interest in the issue.
YouTube A complete video of the July 13, 2011 hearing in which Rep. Chaffetz discussed the 25,000 breaches.
Homeland Security to Chaffetz: Stop the leaks of sensitive information (Washington Post):
The Department of Homeland Security has complained to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) about what it says was an inappropriate disclosure of sensitive security information to the press by the House transportation panel that he chairs.
In a letter dated Wednesday, a clearly miffed Department of Homeland Security Deputy Counsel Joseph B. Maher told Chaffetz that “sensitive security information” provided to his subcommittee by the Transportation Security Administration was illegally disclosed to the press.
“This document was marked as [Sensitive Security Information],” Maher wrote, “and provided clear notice that unauthorized disclosures of the document violated federal law.”
The letter was obtained by the Washington Post from an administration official.
USA Today and other news outlets reported this week that “newly released” DHS documents revealed 25,000 security breaches at U.S. airports since November 2001.
Maher called the information on past security breaches “a topic of particular interest to our adversaries” and said the law against unauthorized disclosure is designed to protect air travelers.
In an angry response directly to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano late Friday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), head of the House Oversight Committee, called Maher’s assertions “meritless” retaliation for the committee’s efforts to address “TSA deficiencies.”
Issa called Maher’s letter a “threat to the entire legislative branch that this administration will seek retribution when non-classified information is shared with the public.” Issa denied that the security breach data was classified information. His staff said lawmakers and open-government groups have long debated whether security classifications are often used to hide embarrassing information.