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House Republican panel launches investigation into ‘unauthorized’ disclosure of Air Force records

“In late February 2023, media reports highlighted how the OSAF improperly disclosed the Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) of 11 military personnel without proper authorization or lawful consent. [Office of the Secretary of the Air Force] “The personnel files of at least two members of Congress were reportedly released to an opposition research firm funded by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC),” they wrote.

“Although the Air Force is rightfully responsible for these improper OMPF disclosures, questions regarding the collection, maintenance, and distribution of this classified information by the U.S. Air Force remain unresolved,” they told Kendall. continued the letter.

Other committees, including the House Armed Services Committee and the Oversight Committee, have asked the Pentagon for details on disclosure.

Politico first reported The Air Force notified at least two sitting Republican members of the House — Congressmen. Don Bacon (Republican, Nebraska) and Zach Nunn (Republican, Iowa) — improperly disclosed their military records to third parties.

In Bacon’s case, a letter from the Air Force last month said Abraham Peyton of the Due Diligence Group, a research firm with ties to the Democratic Party, had “improperly” requested and successfully obtained these records. identified.

Peyton according to the letterhe said he was seeking the records for employment and profit purposes, but the Air Force admitted that such records were released without their permission, which is protected under the Privacy Act of 1974. A security number when completing the information request form.

Other GOP candidates from the previous cycle shared They were likewise informed by the Air Force that Peyton, the former director of research for the Democratic group American Bridge, was behind the request for such records. It is included. November’s Stephen Horsford (D-Nevada) and Kevin Derrick, who lost the Republican primary, took on the House of Representatives. Susan Wilde (D-Pa.).

Such efforts by due diligence groups include multiple military branches, and Peyton challenged Congressman Schmidt in an attempt to obtain records on Colin Schmidt, who is now serving in the New York National Guard. rice field. Pat Ryan (DN.Y.), in the last general election for the state’s 18th district, Copy of request form.

The Air Force said an internal investigation was launched after POLITICO last month Former Republican candidate Jennifer Ruth Green’s military record reported in October — when she was challenging for Congress. Frank Mrvan (D-Ind.) found that in a battlefield — the personal records of 11 people had been improperly disclosed to third parties.

Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek said that “virtually all” of the 11 unapproved releases “represented themselves as background investigators seeking service records for employment purposes” in the same order. He said it was done to three people.

It is unclear if Payton was behind all 11 Air Force requests. Nunn has not publicly disclosed whether Peyton was the individual who asked for his military records, and Green only confirmed that due diligence had asked her.

Other individuals affected by the release of Air Force records are not publicly known. Commissioner Rogers (R-Alabama) vowed to keep track of the details of the disclosure.

POLITICO was said to have been obtained through a public records request by the person who provided Greene’s military records last year. POLITICO has considered third-party record requests for a “published/redacted copy of OMPF.” [Official Military Personnel File] In accordance with the laws of the Freedom of Information Act. The claimant identified the purposes of the claim as relating to “benefits,” “employment,” and “other.”

POLITICO also confirmed the letter sent in response to the requester. The military employee responded with a password-protected version of the file that restricted editing. After the release, the Air Force said the release of the records was an error and launched an investigation.

Bacon said last month that Air Force Secretary Kendall informed him that materials from the Air Force’s internal investigation into the exposed records had been turned over to the Justice Department for possible further action. All of the Republican Air Force veterans are calling for a DOJ investigation into whether the political probe led to criminal activity.

The Justice Department declined to comment on questions about the potential or circumstances of an unauthorized disclosure investigation, but in a statement Sunday, a DOJ spokesperson said they were “aware of the concerns raised. “The Department of Justice has it.” He “is in communication with the U.S. Air Force on this matter.”

Stewart and Jordan also advised the Air Force of all requests made by the DDG from the beginning of January 2021 to date, all notifications to affected military personnel that information was improperly affected, and a record disclosure policy. documents relating to our policy on and files relating to our internal investigation into this matter.

“My proudest years were spent defending a great nation in the Air Force. It is a shame to see this sacred branch of our government weaponized, but we I will correct this mistake.” Stewart tweeteda member of a Republican-led subcommittee that claims to “demand accountability.”

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