BREAKING: Obama campaign demands probe into State Dept. passport records breach
NBC News reports this evening that two contract employees of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs have been fired, and a third has been disciplined after it was discovered that they accessed Sen. Barack Obama's passport records without a specific need to do so.
"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."
Sean McCormack, spokesman for the State Department, confirmed to the Associatd Press three acts of "imprudent curiosity" by the employees in question, occuring on January 9, February 21, and March 14 of this year.
Reports the Boston Globe, Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton has released the following statement:
"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. This is a serious matter that merits a complete investigation, and we demand to know who looked at Senator Obama’s passport file, for what purpose, and why it took so long for them to reveal this security breach."
This incident very closely resembles a situation involving then-Arkansas Governor and would-be President Bill Clinton, as reported by the New York Times on November 18, 1992.
Stephen M. Moheban, top aide to Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Elizabeth M. Tamposi, resigned 48 hours before the State Department's inspector general was expected to release a report criticizing a two-day search of Clinton's passport files, which Tamposi said was with the blessing of the Bush White House. The search, done in response to FOIA requests, was done in violation of State Department regulations in an effort to fulfill it before the upcoming Election Day.
The following video is from MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, broadcast March 20, 2008.