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Luetkemeyer: Social Security Investigating Records Release, Admits Protocol Violation

Press Release

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-3) today announced that the U.S. Social Security Administration Inspector General (SSA OIG) Patrick O'Carroll, Jr., has confirmed that there was a violation of normal agency protocol when the agency requested and received sensitive data for more than 100,000 Missouri driver's licenses and concealed carry permits. O'Carroll has vowed to investigate the matter thoroughly and to answer specific questions posed by the congressman about the agency's actions in the matter.

In a telephone conversation with Luetkemeyer late last week, O'Carroll said agency protocol had been violated because a formal, written request was never provided to the Missouri State Highway Patrol for the data, which the law enforcement agency received from the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR). According to O'Carroll, following an informal conversation with an employee of the Highway Patrol, an SSA OIG investigator requested the information of Missourians holding concealed carry permits. That information was given to the investigator in fall, 2011, by the Highway Patrol employee but was unreadable on the investigator's computer and the data was destroyed.

In the fall of 2012, the same investigator contacted the Highway Patrol employee and again requested the information which was provided by the Highway Patrol employee in January, 2013, and this time the investigator was able to read the information. Upon seeing that the Highway Patrol had sent the entire list of Missourians holding concealed carry permits numbering anywhere from 167,000 to 187,000, the investigator called Social Security headquarters and was told to delete and destroy the list. O'Carroll said the information on that list was not shared and was not made public.

"Clearly, at the federal level, mistakes were made and there appear to be some significant inconsistencies between what state officials have said and what actually occurred and that is extremely troublesome given the impact this has had on the personal rights of thousands of lawful Missouri gun owners," Luetkemeyer said. "I fully respect the Inspector General's mission of curbing disability fraud and ending waste and abuse in the Social Security Administration, but the way that this investigation took place is unacceptable."

Luetkemeyer last week sent letters to O'Carroll, Acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn Colvin, and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano seeking answers about the extent of the federal government's role in the transfer of the sensitive personal data. Luetkemeyer, a former state representative who currently represents the 13 counties of the 3rd Congressional District, asked 10 specific questions surrounding the release of the information by the Missouri Department of Revenue and the Missouri Highway Patrol. Luetkemeyer also is seeking all correspondence between agencies in the State of Missouri and Social Security Administration/Office of Inspector General.


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