MSNBC is reporting that Sen Barack Obama's (D-IL) passport file at the State Department had been improperly accessed not once, not twice, but three times since early January this year. In the first two instances, the employees were fired as per State Dept guidelines. They, like the third employee to illegally access the now-Democratic presidential nominee front-runner's file, were outside contractors, hired to do low-level work. A State Dept spokesperson, Sean McCormack, said that the reason for all three breaches was "imprudent curiosity". The third incident happened Mar 14 (the others were Jan 9 and Feb 21) and that employee is currently under administrative disciplinary action, but that case is said to still be pending, leaving open the possibility of a firing there, too.
The Senator himself was notified of all three breaches only just today. A spokesman for his campaign, Bill Burton, had released a statement:
"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."
I have other questions, too. Who were these people? (McCormack refuses to release the names of the three individuals fired and disciplined.) I want to know if they were ever employees of the Republican National Committee. Did they work for the RNC before they "improperly" looked at Sen Obama's file, and do they work for the RNC now? I would hope that they are aware that under no circumstances are they allowed to reveal any of the data that they learned from viewing the file. To do so would be a violation of the Privacy Act, and could land them in prison.