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A new report says that Secret Service data is extremely vulnerable to hacking



The agency charged with protecting the president has a problem protecting sensitive information in its database, according to a federal watchdog report

The U.S. Secret Service's database has "unacceptable vulnerabilities" which put sensitive data at risk of being hacked, Department of Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth said in a statement Friday. 

The damning report is a follow-up to an earlier investigation that was launched after Secret Service employees leaked information about California Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

That investigation found that on 60 different occasions, 45 Secret Service employees accessed database information on Chaffetz, who had applied to for a job at the agency in 2003. 

Chaffetz was rejected from the job and now serves as Chairman of the House committee charged with conducting oversight on the Secret Service. 

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, during the committee's hearing on "Planned Parenthood's Taxpayer Funding," Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards testified. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

"The Secret Service believes they have a core mission to protect the nation's financial infrastructure from cyber related crimes, yet can't keep their own systems secure," Chaffetz said in a statement Friday. 

The latest audit uncovered a slew of weaknesses in the agency's IT management, including poor system security plans, poor privacy protections and systems that were being accessed without current authorization. 

In written comments on the report, Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy said his agency will "do our utmost to ensure that all of the information with which we are entrusted is properly protected and secured to the greatest degree possible."

"While Secret Service initiated IT improvements late last year, until those changes are fully made and today's recommendations implemented, the potential for another incident like that involving Chairman Chaffetz's personal information remains," Roth said.

Auditors gave the Secret Service 11 recommendations to improve cyber security and, the agency said it would make the appropriate changes by Dec. 31.

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