Friday, March 21, 2008

Passport Breaches: Condi Does The "I Didn't Know" Dance... Again


It’s only now being disclosed that on (at least) three different occasions... (that’s what they’re owning up to... right now.)

Some Bush Administration dingleberries at the State Department - illegitimately and illegally - stuck their proboscis into Senator and Presidential Candidate Barack Obama’s Passport history file.

... And Condi Rice claims that she was only recently told about it?

Not a big surprise there...

The Bush Administration has not only used the "I did not know that/I was unaware of/I do not recall"... more than Ronald Reagan or any other previous Administration... they’ve raised it to new heights (... or is it, "... taken it to unexplored depths?") of rampant and repetitive ridiculousness.

Also, Hillary Clinton is saying that good ol’ Secretary of State Condi told her that Senator Clinton’s passport history had also been pulled up without permission... in 2007.

Question is: When did Condi tell Hillary this?

Was it only after the news of the unofficial breach of Obama’s file began breaking all over the news shows?


Not only that...

Now... the putzes that be are also claiming that Senator John McCain’s passport file had been perused...

Yeah, Right! Like I believe that!

John McCain’s passport history?... Who Cares?!

Not the Clinton nor the Obama Campaigns!

But, I’m sure that the McCain Campaign and the Repug Party would LOVE to look for dirt or anything that could be twisted to resemble dirt on whomever becomes the Democratic Candidate for President.

It’s totally up their alley and probably in their ("How To Play Dirty") Playbook.

Suddenly - after the Obama story broke and people were hollering for an federal investigation - It is suggested that it wasn’t a Bush Admin., Ass*ole-approved act.


How nice and fair and balanced of the State Department and it’s uninformed/unaware Secretary of State to try to come up with a way to make the breach of Obama’s personal and private passport history - on at least three separate occasions - a little less of a politically-motivated CRIME by the Bush AdmiNi(t-Wit)stration.

These disclosures - of unofficial passport inquiries - hearkens back to 1992, when (whod’ve guessed?) a Republican appointee at State lost rank due to digging up Bill Clinton’s passport history. Why?... Ol’ Bill was running against Daddy Bush at the time.

Apparently... a genetic disposition towards inappropriate and unwarranted Spying has developed in the Bush family...

It probably germinated when G.H.W. Bush was at the helm of the CIA.



Rice Apologizes To Obama For Passport Breach

Associated Press
Published on: 03/21/08

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday apologized to Sen. Barack Obama for a security breach in which three State Department contractors inappropriately reviewed the Democratic presidential candidate’s passport file.

The episode raised questions as to whether the actions of the three contractors, two of whom have been fired, were politically motivated.

"I told him that I was sorry, and I told him that I myself would be very disturbed," Rice told reporters.

"None of us wants to have a circumstance where any American’s passport files are looked at in an unauthorized way," she said.

Rice, who spoke with Obama by phone, said she was particularly disappointed that senior officials at the State Department were not immediately notified.

"It was not to my knowledge, and we also want to take every step to make sure that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again," she said.

The State Department’s inspector general is investigating the passport breach, which occurred on three separate occasions — Jan. 9, Feb. 21 and as recently as last week, on March 14. On Friday, the department announced that the Justice Department would be monitoring the probe in case it needs to get involved.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Friday that the State Department would make results of the investigation available to congressional oversight committees and to Obama’s office.

Bill Burton, a spokesman for Obama’s presidential campaign, has called the incident "an outrageous breach of security and privacy."

Two of the employees were fired for the security breach and the third was disciplined but is still working, the department said Thursday. It would not release the names of those who were fired and disciplined or the names of the two companies for which they worked.

It is not clear whether the employees saw anything other than the basic personal data such as name, citizenship, age, Social Security number and place of birth, which is required when a person fills out a passport application.

Aside from the file, the information could allow Obama’s critics to dig deeper into his private life. While the file includes his date and place of birth, address at time of application and the countries he’s traveled to, the most important detail would be his Social Security number, which can be used to pull credit reports and other personal information.

"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," Burton said on Thursday.

McCormack said the breaches occurred were detected by internal State Department computer checks. The department’s top management officer, Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy, said certain records, including those of high-profile people, are "flagged" with a computer tag that tips off supervisors when someone tries to view the records without a proper reason.

The firings and unspecified discipline of the third employee already had occurred when senior State Department officials learned of the breaches. Kennedy called that a failing.

"I will fully acknowledge this information should have been passed up the line," Kennedy told reporters in a conference call Thursday night. "It was dealt with at the office level."

In answer to a question, Kennedy said the department doesn’t look into political affiliation in doing background checks on passport workers. "Now that this has arisen, this becomes a germane question, and that will be something for the appropriate investigation to look into," he said.

The department informed Obama’s Senate office of the breach on Thursday. Kennedy said that at the office’s request, he will provide a personal briefing for the senator’s staff on Friday. No one from the State Department spoke to Obama personally on Thursday, the officials said.

Obama was born in Hawaii and lived in Indonesia for several years as a child before returning to the United States. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he has traveled to the Middle East; the former Soviet states with Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.; and Africa, where in 2006 he and his wife, Michelle, publicly took HIV tests in Kenya to encourage people there to do the same.

Obama’s father was born in Kenya, and the senator still has relatives there.

The disclosure of inappropriate passport inquiries recalled an incident in 1992, when a Republican political appointee at the State Department was demoted over a search of presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s passport records. At the time he was challenging President George H.W. Bush.

The State Department’s inspector general said the official had helped arrange the search in an attempt to find politically damaging information about Clinton, who had been rumored to have considered renouncing his citizenship to avoid the Vietnam War draft.

The State Department said the official, Steven Berry, had shown "serious lapses in judgment."

After a three-year, $2.2 million probe, a federal independent counsel exonerated officials in the incident, saying that while some of the actions investigated were "stupid, dumb and partisan," they were not criminal. The independent counsel also said that Berry and others who were disciplined for their involvement were treated unfairly.

Doug Hattaway, a spokesman for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former first lady who is challenging Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, said of the current breach: "It’s outrageous and the Bush administration has to get to the bottom of it."

Kennedy and McCormack said it was too soon to say whether a crime was committed. The searches may violate the federal Privacy Act, and Kennedy said he is consulting State Department lawyers.

The State Department inspector general’s power is limited because two of the employees are no longer working for the department. McCormack said it was premature to consider whether the FBI or Justice Department should be involved.

McCormack said Rice was informed of the breaches on Thursday.

The Washington Times first reported on the breaches.

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