The January 6th Committee, in seemingly their last act, has accidentally released the Social Security numbers of hundreds of citizens including top Trump allies and Republican governors.
As a part of the committee's 845 page final report, they released documents related to the Capitol riots as well as information leading up to that day. Amongst the report was a spreadsheet that listed 2,000 Social Security numbers of individuals who visited the White House in December 2020.
Amongst the list were Republican governors, three top cabinet officials, and multiple Trump allies putting each of their securities at risk, according to the Washington Post.
The individuals who were exposed were not notified of the breach of privacy by the Government Publishing Office (GPO). One of the individuals exposed was Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) along with her husband and three children.
In a letter posted to Twitter on Friday, Noem directed her lawyer to ask the White House, the National Archives, and the chair of the January 6th Committee Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) who was responsible for leaking the information to the public.
What specific measures and remedies will be taken to protect our identities? pic.twitter.com/HWBu5ukWPP
— Kristi Noem (@KristiNoem) January 6, 2023
“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 make the same available to the public,” the letter read. “Because the information was published online, anyone could have accessed their social security numbers and saved, disseminated, or sold the information…Governor Noem and her family are particularly susceptible to such a threat.”
In addition to the South Dakotan governor, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson also had his information leaked. He told the Washington Post that “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. … President Reagan was a savant indeed — the nine most frightening words to hear are ‘I am from the government and here to help.’”
While these leaks are incredibly dangerous, responsibility has yet to be taken. GPO spokesperson Gary Somerset told the Post that their office does not “edit or alter materials provided by Congress for publication.”
Additionally, the Post reached out to Rep. Thompson and he did not have any comment as to the mishap. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), who was a member of the committee, was also reached out to for comment and he told the Post that he was not aware of the publication of the Social Security numbers.
The Social Security numbers have since been redacted from the report, however, that is likely too little too late to protect the officials effected.
It is clear that the committee has made a grave mistake in its pursuit of investigating the events of January 6th. Their mistake will likely compromise the privacy and security of hundreds of public officials and responsibility should be taken.
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