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Gov. Kristi Noem looking for answers on social security number leak in connection to Jan. 6 committee

Gov. Kristi Noem was one of nearly 2,000 people whose Social Security numbers were leaked by the Jan. 6 committee due to their unredacted inclusion in White House visitor logs made public last month.

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem takes the stage Tuesday night in Sioux Falls.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Gov. Kristi Noem is seeking answers on how federal agencies allowed her personal information to become public as a side-effect of record releases from the Jan. 6 committee, as well as how these agencies plan to combat the potential results of this leak.

According to an article from the Washington Post published on Jan. 6, among the hundreds of records posted online by the committee laying out the timeline of the events leading up to the storming of the Capitol was “a spreadsheet with nearly 2,000 Social Security numbers associated with visitors to the White House in December 2020,” a list that included several high-profile Republicans.

That leak included Noem along with her husband, three children and son-in-law, who according to the White House logs visited the outgoing President Donald Trump on Dec. 14, 2020, a visit Noem says was official state business.

In a letter posted on the governor’s social media, an attorney representing Noem excoriated the White House, Government Publishing Office, National Archives and Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, a Democrat who chairs the Jan. 6 committee, writing the family is “now at a very high risk of identity theft and being personally compromised due to the failure to redact the social security numbers and making the same available to the public.”

Noem is also seeking explanations on concerns including, “how the breach of privacy occurred, who was responsible, what steps each of you has taken to remedy the breach, and what specific measures and remedies will be taken to protect Governor Noem and her family in light of the public dissemination of their private information and the heightened risk for identity theft and other future privacy violations.”

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The letter also lays out an argument that the publishing of this information is a violation of the Privacy Act of 1974, and left open the possibility of further action. Noem’s lawyers attached a Jan. 13 deadline for a response from the addressed parties.

According to the Washington Post, the records, originally published by the Government Publishing Office at some point this past week, were taken down on Wednesday, Jan. 4. They have since been reuploaded with personal information redacted.

Though the Post was unable to confirm that everyone who suffered from the leak — including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson — had not been notified of the mistake by federal agencies, it appears that Noem did not know about the leak for several days as her Social Security number sat in a public database.

“To my knowledge, we were not notified. The governor was not notified,” Ian Fury, a spokesman for Noem, told the Washington Post.

MORE BY JASON HARWARD
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Jason Harward is a Report for America corps reporter who writes about state politics in South Dakota. Contact him at 605-301-0496 or jharward@forumcomm.com.

Related Topics: KRISTI NOEMJANUARY 6
Jason Harward covers South Dakota news for Forum News Service. Email him at jharward@forumcomm.com.
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