Thursday, March 20, 2008

Claims of dirty tricks after security breach on Obama passport details
By Leonard Doyle
Friday, 21 March 2008

A major security breach has occurred involving Barack Obama's confidential passport details. Two State Department employees have been fired and another suspended following an investigation, which began after it was learned that his computer file had been accessed.

The security breach has echoes of other Republican dirty tricks operations. Mr Obama's confidential files were first accessed after he defeated Hillary Clinton in the Iowa caucus at the beginning of January.

There were three separate breaches of security detected; the most recent last Friday. "This is an outrageous breach of security and privacy," Mr Obama's spokesman Bill Burton said last night, warning the Bush administration that it had a responsibility and duty to protect private information and not use it for political purposes.

"We demand to know who opened Senator Obama's file," he said, asking why it took so long to reveal the breach. There were calls last night for an FBI investigation and the possible appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the case.

A senior State department official said that "curious" officials opened the file and that there was no malicious political intent involved. The Democrats dismissed this explanation as improbable...[Open in new window]

NBC News

Two contract employees of the State Department were fired and a third person was disciplined for accessing passport records of Sen. Barack Obama "without a need to do so," State Department officials confirmed to NBC News.

The three people who had access to Obama's passport records were contract employees of the department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, NBC News has learned. The unauthorized activity concerning Obama's passport information occurred in January.

"A monitoring system was tripped when an employee accessed the records of a 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...[Open in new window]

State fires 2 for looking at Obama file

1 minute ago

Two contract employees for the State Department have been fired and a third disciplined for inappropriately looking at Democratic Sen. Barack Obama's passport file, a spokesman said Thursday.

Spokesman Sean McCormack said the department itself detected the instances of "imprudent curiosity," which occurred separately on Jan. 9, Feb. 21 and March 14. He would not release the names of those who were fired and disciplined.

"We believe this was out of imprudent curiosity, so we are taking steps to reassure ourselves that that is, in fact, the case," McCormack said.

Bill Burton, a spokesman for Obama's presidential campaign, called for a complete investigation.

"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. Our government's duty is to protect the private information of the American people, not use it for political purposes," Burton said...[Open in new window]


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