Republicans press Pentagon on improperly released records of congressional candidates

Republicans press Pentagon on improperly released records of congressional candidates

Two House committee chairmen are asking the Defense Department to provide more information about the military records of congressional candidates that were released without their consent last year shortly before the midterm elections.

Reps. James Comer, R-Ky., of the Oversight Committee, and Mike Rogers, R-Ala., of the Armed Services Committee, sent a letter Thursday to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin seeking documents and answers about what led to the unauthorized releases.

They said a previous response from Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall was insufficient.

“This response is late, threadbare, and unresponsive. It omits obviously pertinent information about the nature of the requests that lead to the improper releases of servicemember records,” they wrote. “We have yet to hear from any other service regarding this matter.”

Comer and Rogers asked for a list of congressional candidates and those elected to Congress from Jan. 1, 2021, to Jan. 3, 2023, whose records were improperly released from any service without consent.

They also requested the identities of those involved in the approval process, as well as any details about punitive action taken against them.

The Pentagon declined to comment on the letter.

In October, Politico reported on military records of Jennifer-Ruth Green, a Republican who unsuccessfully ran for a House seat in Indiana. The story included a detail about an allegation that Green was sexually assaulted when she served in Iraq. The Air Force later acknowledged the wrongful release of the information, according to a report from The Hill at the time that included a statement from an Air Force spokesperson.

In a joint statement last week, Comer and Rogers said the Defense Department had “failed to protect the private information of our servicemembers” and called for responses from other services after the Air Force revealed more candidates had been affected.

Comer and Rogers sent the letter after sensitive personal information about some lawmakers and congressional staff members was posted online following a “significant data breach” of DC Health Link, the health insurance marketplace for Washington, D.C.

Data about more than 1,000 people with job information indicating they work for the House or the Senate was alleged to have been exposed on a database.

Zoë Richards

Zoë Richards is the evening politics reporter for NBC News.  » …
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