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WaPo: Hundreds of Social Security numbers found in Jan. 6 files

Jan 06, 2023


According to a Washington Post report published Friday, the committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riots published the Social Security numbers of nearly 2,000 people online. The committee recently wrapped up its work, recommending charges against former President Donald Trump and posting hundred of records online.

The Social Security numbers appeared as part of the White House visitor logs published in a spreadsheet by the committee. Many Social Security numbers in the logs were redacted, but around 1,900 of them were not. The Government Publishing Office (GPO) removed the spreadsheet from its website Wednesday before re-uploading with redactions.

The Social Security numbers in question are associated with visitors to the White House in December 2020. They include at least three members of Trump’s Cabinet, a few Republican governors and numerous Trump allies. Notable names include:

  • Gov. Kristi Noem, R-S.D.
  • Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas
  • Gov. Henry McMaster, R-S.C.
  • Former Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar
  • Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson

“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,” Carson said. “President Reagan was a savant indeed — the nine most frightening words to hear are ‘I am from the government and here to help.’”

According to the Post report, it appears there may now be a blame game over responsibility for the published Social Security numbers between the committee and the National Archives. Last February, the White House wrote a letter to Archivist of the United States David Ferriero saying that the committee agreed to accept the records — in redacted form — from the National Archives.

“To ensure that personal privacy information is not inadvertently disclosed, the Select Committee has agreed to accept production of these records with birthdates and social security numbers removed,” then-White House lawyer Dana Remus wrote in the letter. In a statement to the Post, the Archives’ public and media communications office told The Post in a statement that “while we took affirmative steps to redact personally identifiable information (PII), we did not expect that the Committee would publicly release records that still may have contained PII.”

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