Patterico's Pontifications


State Department: Candidates’ Passport Files were Breached

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 11:02 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

After reports yesterday that Senator Obama’s passport file was accessed without authoritization by State Department contract workers, the New York Times reports today that all three major Presidential candidates’ files were breached within the past year:

“The State Department said on Friday that it was investigating several incidents in which the passport files of all three presidential contenders were improperly accessed by employees.

The breaches involved electronic files that contained personal information about Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain. A State Department spokesman declined to say what was in those files, but said they likely contained biographical information and passport applications.”

State Department Secretary Condoleeza Rice apologized to Senator Obama yesterday.

State Department management was not aware of a breach, apparently because lower level employees did not report them up the line. Instead, management learned about the breaches after receiving inquiries from a reporter.


16 Responses to “State Department: Candidates’ Passport Files were Breached”

  1. Something to keep in mind in this episode:

    As reported thus far, the breach took place pretty far down the organizational chart in the State Dept. bureaucracy. As with other government agencies, the political appointees if any given cabient ageny make up an infinitesimal % of the overall workforce, with the balance being career employees who carry over from administration to administration.

    Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, and the Maryland neighborhoods surrounding the District are overwhelmingly Democratic, as are the public sector unions to which a huge number of federal employees belong.

    But the State Department is particularly so. The career foreign service staff of the State Dept. has been widely reported as being off-the-reservation over the foreign policy decisions of this administration.

    Which leads me to this point — I heard on CNN last night, and I’m looking around for it on the ‘net today, that the career official that oversaw the particular department where this happened, was formerly the senior foreign service officer in Paraguay … IN THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION.

    I’m not certain if that means the individual was actually named Ambassador, or if they occupied the position of Charge d’affairs while there was no appointed Ambassador in place.

    Given that this is the State Department, I think its perfectly plausible to conclude that the people rooting around in Obama’s files were more likely Clinton supporters than GOP operatives. The fact that it started the day after Clinton recovered her footing in the NH Primary, but knew she was in for a battle in the weeks and months ahead, suggests it was her campaign — if it was a campaign at all — that went in search of ammunition to use against Obama.

    WLS (68fd1f)

  2. Why did Sec. Rice apologize to Sen. Obama? Did I miss her apologies to Sens. McCain and Clinton?

    Or, is it somehow worse that Baracky’s information was compromised by a leftist State Dept. (redundant) appointee?

    JD (75f5c3)

  3. JD,

    I bet she will apologize to them today. Apparently the reporter only asked about the breach of Obama’s file so that’s the first one management discovered.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  4. And the Democrats want to nationalize health care.
    Guess who will have access to your medical records.

    cubanbob (409ac2)

  5. when two employees are fired for doing this and a third is reprimanded but remains employed, what it means is that the third employee has sufficient clout (close relative member of congress?) to be unfireable.

    assistant devil's advocate (19fc6a)

  6. Just another reminder that State requires a good house-cleaning – not micro-surgery, but something approaching a wheat-combine.

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  7. ADA– Apparently, the guy who was reprimanded did it only once; the other two have a year-long record of going back and back and back to the records.

    Foxfier (97deae)

  8. If McCain is smart, he will very soon come out and say that this is no big deal, and that he’s not worried at all, and blah blah blah, and make Sen Obama look like a whiney little baby…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  9. Obama’s campaign (wasn’t it a spokesperson and not Obama himself?) was responding to the first reports, which made it seem like Obama was the only candidate that got peeked at. It sounds whiney now only because we know now that he wasn’t. I would say wait and see what all of them now say.

    BTW, am I remembering correclty when I think that someone peeked at Kerry’s passport file in 2004?

    And trivial correction: “senior foreign service officer” could be second in command of an embassy where the ambassador is a political appointee from outside the DOS.

    kishnevi (33a0bd)

  10. kishnevi — that’s the point I was making about whether or not the person was an appointed ambassador or not. If they were the senior FSO at the embassey with no posted Ambassador, they would be in charge of the Embassey staff. Or they might have simply been the senior most career State Dept. official at an Embassy with an Ambassador.

    WLS (68fd1f)

  11. If you read the most recent article carefully, the same person looked at Obama’s and McCain’s file, but not Clinton’s. The only person who snooped in Clinton’s file was a trainee last year who tried to access her file during training, but was immediately discovered and reprimanded. That makes it sound like it was a Clinton fan who snooped.

    It also sounds like the person who wasn’t fired was the one who breached Obama’s and McCain’s files, but that’s not 100% clear from the article.

    Finally, the article notes that firing the employees makes it difficult if not impossible to question them about the breaches, so it may be a good thing one person is still employed who has to answer questions.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  12. Perusing Drudge just now, seems both contractors had some kind of ties to the Obama campaign.

    tonynoboloney (138267)

  13. I am nonplussed. It seems to me that a reporter was informed of a situation, that could be twisted up to take Obama’s race relations story off the front burner, an occasion that the leftie channels were only too willing to leap at with gusto.
    And sure enough, Msnbc with Keith Obamamann leading the charge, spent the entire day Thursday poking at this non story from every possible angle.

    Blah. Who cares? Tomorrow we will hear report of Barry’s missing socks, complete with mug shot of the maytag repairman, and list of the alleged offending dryer model numbers.

    papertiger (4d1249)

  14. Huh… Turns out that one of the Contracted companies involved in the breeches is headed by a foreign policy advisor to Obama…

    Change, I tell you. CHANGE!!!

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  15. Why not state that the CEO of Stanley, Inc. (the other contractors) has contributed to the Clinton campaign?

    Aislinn (d1f35a)

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