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Obama's passport file breach, 2 fired at State Department


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Author Topic: Obama's passport file breach, 2 fired at State Department  (Read 85 times)
Kristina
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« on: March 20, 2008, 08:13:31 pm »

2 fired over Obama passport file breach
Third employee at State disciplined over accessing candidate’s records


BREAKING NEWS
NBC News and news services
updated 13 minutes ago
Two contract employees of the State Department were fired and a third person was disciplined for inappropriately looking at Democratic Sen. Barack Obama's passport file.

Spokesman Sean McCormack Thursday night confirmed instances of what he called "imprudent curiosity" by the State Department employees.

McCormack said the department itself detected the breaches, which occurred separately on Jan. 9, Feb. 21 and March 14.
The three people who had access to Obama's passport records were contract employees of the department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, NBC News reported.

A senior official told NBC News there was "no political motivation" to the incidents, adding that the three were low-level contract employees doing administrative work and accessed Obama's records out of "curiosity."   

This official told NBC News that he does not believe any of the information was sent anywhere.

A spokesman for Obama's presidential campaign called for a complete investigation. The spokesman, Bill Burton, also demanded to know who looked at the file and why, and why the State Department did not reveal details of the security breach until now.

Monitoring systems are tripped when an employee accesses the records of the high-profile individual, a department official told NBC News. "When the monitoring system is tripped, we immediately seek an explanation for the records access. If the explanation is not satisfactory, the supervisor is notified."

Explaining why the contractors had access to the files, the official said: "The State Department uses cleared contractors to design, build and maintain our systems and cleared contract employees provide support to government employees and several steps of passport processing including data entry, file searches, customer service and quality control.

"Each time an employee logs on, he or she acknowledges the records are protected by the privacy act and that they are only available on a need-to-know basis," the official added.

This breaking news story will be updated.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23736254/
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Kristina
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2008, 08:15:49 pm »

The file was breached on three different occasions, by three different people, one in January, one in Feburary, once in March.

First impression?  The Republicans at the State Department are looking for "dirt" on him to use in the campaign.

This being the Bush Administration, they don't of course, plan to do any further investigations.
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"Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances."

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April Kincaid
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« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2008, 01:40:10 am »

The problem with the Bush Administration is that they are so dumb, corrupt and evil yo just don't know what their motives are each time they do one of these.
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Volitzer
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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2008, 02:23:46 am »

Sheesh they want something on Obama why don't they just use a search engine and go to http://knowbeforeyouvote.com all that money going to NSA and Homeland Security and they can't use a simple search engine.  Angry
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Monique Faulkner
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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2008, 10:14:43 am »



Someone snooped in Obama's passport file

Three times since January, Sen. Barack Obama's passport file was accessed in an unauthorized way, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack tells CNN. The breach seems like "imprudent curiosity" among the contract workers, said McCormack
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Monique Faulkner
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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2008, 10:16:12 am »

State Department: Someone snooped in Obama's passport file

Story Highlights
NEW: Three separate contractors looked at file three times since January

Campaign spokesman: "This is an outrageous breach of security and privacy"

Obama camp calls for complete investigation into the breach

State Department says two contractors were fired; a third was disciplined


Next Article in Politics »


 Read  VIDEO
     
(CNN) -- On three occasions since January, Sen. Barack Obama's passport file was looked at by three different contract workers, said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.




Sen. Barack Obama's passport file was breached three times since January, the State Department said.

 The contractors accessed information in the file in an unauthorized way, he said.

Two contractors were fired and one was disciplined by the contractor's company, McCormack said.

He said the contractors are not linked.

The State Department hires contractors to design, build and maintain their systems and help employees with searches. McCormack said two of the contractors in the Obama case were "low-level" personnel and the other was in a mid-level position with no management role.

The breach seems like "imprudent curiosity" among the contract workers, said McCormack, adding that senior management at the State Department was not aware of the incidents until Thursday afternoon. Breaches occurred January 9, February 21 and March 14.

A State Department source said passport files contain scanned images of passport applications, birth date and basic biographical information, records of passport renewal, and possibly citizenship information.

Obama's campaign is asking for a complete investigation to find out who looked at Obama's passport file and why.

"This is an outrageous breach of security and privacy, even from an administration that has shown little regard for either over the last eight years," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton in a statement.

"Our government's duty is to protect the private information of the American people, not use it for political purposes."

Doug Hattaway, a spokesman for Sen. Hillary Clinton, Obama's rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, said, "If it's true, it's reprehensible, and the Bush administration has a responsibility to get to the bottom of it."

The White House declined comment Thursday evening, just hours after the State Department upper management learned of the breach.

State Department officials say Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was told Thursday what happened and that she told her staff she wanted a full investigation.

The department would not speculate whether the information had been shared with anyone else. Watch Anderson Cooper discuss the controversy »

"That obviously is something we are investigating," said Under Secretary of State Pat Kennedy. "I have no reason to believe they did, but I certainly am not going to be dismissive of what is a serious and valid question."

Kennedy said he will brief Obama's senior staff on Friday.

The news was reminiscent of a breach of Bill Clinton's passport information during the 1992 presidential campaign. The FBI launched an investigation after the State Department reported that someone had ripped out pages from his passport file from the late 1960s and '70s.

The department concluded that a search of Clinton's passport records was an attempt to influence the presidential election, reportedly by trying to show that Clinton tried to seek citizenship in another country to avoid the draft. Clinton was running against President George H.W. Bush.

Then-State Department Inspector General Sherman Funk found no evidence the White House ordered department staffers to dig for political dirt in Clinton's passport files. However, Funk said the White House probably knew it was happening.


Sen. Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement late Thursday.

"I am deeply troubled that State Department contract employees sought access to Sen. Barack Obama's passport files. Firing or disciplining those responsible is an important first step. But we need to understand why these employees had access to this information in the first place, why they sought the information, and why it took over two months for this matter to come to light. I urge the Secretary of State to promptly refer this matter to the State Department Inspector General for investigation." E-mail to a friend

CNN's State Department correspondent Zain Verjee contributed to this report.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/20/obama.passport/index.html
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Tesha Dodge
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« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2008, 01:10:07 pm »

Clinton's, McCain's files also viewed, officials say.

Story Highlights
NEW: State Department says files of Clinton, McCain also breached

NEW: Rice told Clinton her passport files were viewed in 2007, Clinton's office said

NEW: One contractor who saw Obama's file also saw McCain's, officials say



     
(CNN) -- The State Department said Friday that all three presidential candidates' passport files were breached.


Sen. Barack Obama's passport file was breached three times since January, the State Department said.

 The admission comes after it was revealed Sen. Barack Obama's files had been viewed three times by contractors. One of the contractors also viewed the files of Republican Sen. John McCain, said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

Earlier Friday, Sen. Hillary Clinton's office said that the State Department had notified it that her file had been breached in 2007.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday she had apologized to Obama for the unauthorized viewing of his passport file by State Department contractors.

It was unknown Friday whether Rice had apologized to Clinton and McCain.

Two contractors were fired and a third was disciplined after they accessed Obama's file, McCormack said Thursday.

Rice told also said that the breaches would be investigated.

"I told him I was sorry and I told him that I myself would be very disturbed in anyone had looked at my passport files and that, therefore, I will stay on top of this," Rice said.

"We are going to do an investigation through the inspector general," she said. "None of us want us to have a situation where any American's passport file is accessed in an unauthorized way."

Rice said "it appears that the system worked" because the unauthorized viewing was flagged, but "it should have been known to senior management."

Don't Miss
ElectionCenter 2008
The State Department will brief Clinton's staff this afternoon, a statement from her Senate office said. State Department members are also briefing McCain's staff.

State Department officials said Rice was told Thursday that Obama's files had been improperly viewed and that she told her staff she wanted a full investigation.

The State Department has refused to release the names of the companies that employed the contractors.

The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Harry Waxman, sent a letter to Rice asking for the companies' names and said they should be made public.

The department hires contractors to design, build and maintain their systems and help employees with searches. McCormack said two of the contractors in the Obama case were "low-level" personnel and the other was in a mid-level position with no management role.

The breach seems like "imprudent curiosity" among the contract workers, said McCormack, adding that senior management at the State Department was not aware of the incidents until Thursday afternoon. Breaches occurred January 9, February 21 and March 14.

A State Department source said passport files contain scanned images of passport applications, birth date and basic biographical information, records of passport renewal and possibly citizenship information.

Obama's campaign is asking for a complete investigation to find out who looked at his passport file and why.

"This is an outrageous breach of security and privacy, even from an administration that has shown little regard for either over the last eight years," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton in a statement.

"Our government's duty is to protect the private information of the American people, not use it for political purposes."

Doug Hattaway, a spokesman for Sen. Hillary Clinton, Obama's rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, said, "If it's true, it's reprehensible, and the Bush administration has a responsibility to get to the bottom of it."

The White House declined comment Thursday evening, just hours after the State Department upper management learned of the breach.

The department would not speculate whether the information had been shared with anyone else.  Watch Anderson Cooper discuss the controversy »

"That obviously is something we are investigating," said Under Secretary of State Pat Kennedy. "I have no reason to believe they did, but I certainly am not going to be dismissive of what is a serious and valid question."

Kennedy said he will brief Obama's senior staff on Friday.

Before contractors are hired, the department runs "public integrity checks," which are standard police and name checks for people who will be handling "sensitive but nonclassified information," Kennedy said.

The background checks do not include inquiries into political affiliations, Kennedy said, saying that would be "inappropriate."

A computer-monitoring system, triggered when employees access the file of a high-profile person, caught the employees, McCormack said, emphasizing that the department's system "worked."

However, despite the trigger, senior department officials only learned of the incident Thursday afternoon, after a reporter e-mailed McCormack with a question.

"It was dealt with at the office level where the incidents occurred by the office-level supervisors, who took immediate steps when they saw this," Kennedy said.

"I will admit, they failed to pass the information up the chain to a sufficiently high level." Department officials say that after Rice was told Thursday what happened, she told her staff she wanted a full investigation.

The department would not speculate on whether the information had been shared with anyone else.


"That obviously is something we are investigating," Kennedy said. "I have no reason to believe they did, but I certainly am not going to be dismissive of what is a serious and valid question."

The news was reminiscent of a breach of Bill Clinton's passport information during the 1992 presidential campaign. The FBI launched an investigation after the State Department reported that someone had ripped out pages from his passport file from the late 1960s and '70s. E-mail to a friend

CNN's Zain Verjee contributed to this report.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/21/obama.passport/index.html
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Tesha Dodge
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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2008, 01:12:48 pm »

Sheesh they want something on Obama why don't they just use a search engine and go to http://knowbeforeyouvote.com all that money going to NSA and Homeland Security and they can't use a simple search engine.  Angry

Because you can't get his Social Security number or other information from the internet like you can from his Passport file.

Think about it, you could get his personal info from there, open up a credit card and then put all these kiddie **** charges on them and woolla!  You could have an identity theft scandal.  And no one would believe him that they weren't his.
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Tesha Dodge
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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2008, 01:13:46 pm »

I wonder if they really did look into Clinton and McCain's files, too?  Could be just a smokescreen.
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