Ex-Secret Service chief may challenge Frelinghuysen

Once lampooned in a Michael Moore movie for serving in a district so safe that he never had to face significant opposition, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen might face a challenge in the GOP primary from a retired U.S. Secret Service Agent.

Peter A. Cavicchia II of Sparta, the former Special Agent In-Charge of the New Jersey office of the U.S. Secret Service, said today that he is mulling a challenge to Frelinghuysen in the 2008 GOP primary.

Like Frelinghuysen, whose family members have served in the U.S. Senate and Congress, as U.S. Secretary of State, and as Henry Clay's Vice Presidential running mate, Cavicchia comes with a political pedigree: his grandfather, Peter Cavicchia, was a Republican Congressman from Essex County from 1931 to 1937 — the first Italian American to represent New Jersey in the House. An uncle, Dominic Cavicchia, was Speaker of the New Jersey State Assembly in 1944.

Cavicchia says he has no donors and no organization, just common street sense.

"I’m a cop," he said. And he’s troubled by what he sees as the seven-term Frelinghuysen’s inattention in the Bush years to the "who, what, when, where and how" that are all required information for elected officials trying to implement good policy.

"Too many people were too eager to follow the party line and I think that put us in a bad position," said Cavicchia, who spent much of his career in government service overseas.

The possible GOP primary challenger wouldn’t elaborate on any specific criticism of the sitting Congressman, but Frelinghuysen has been a supporter of President George W. Bush’s Iraq War policy from the beginning. Early during the American occupation of Iraq, the congressman upbraided the press for not reporting good news occurring in the Middle Eastern country.

Cavicchia says he believes too many politicians in these times have become too comfortable and simply out of touch.

"By October 1, I’ll have made a decision," Cavicchia said. "If this catches on I might be able to do something."

In 2004, Cavicchia's son – also a former special agent who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on Sept. 11, 2001 – in a separate incident was investigating a computer hacker who had gained access to a T-Mobile network when it became public that the hacker had gained access to Secret Service files through Cavicchia's private PDA. Cavicchia III resigned from the service soon after he was cleared during an internal investigation, which found that no sensitive data was revealed.

Ex-Secret Service chief may challenge Frelinghuysen