US State department fires two officials for improperly opening Obamas file

March 21st, 2008 - 4:19 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Mar 21 (ANI): The US State Department has fired two employees and reprimanded a third for improperly opening electronic information from the passport file of Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama.

On three separate occasions in January, February and March, three employees looked through Obamas file in the departments consular affairs section, violating the departments privacy rules, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, said.

McCormack said the departments internal controls flagged the breach, which he attributed to imprudent curiosity.

State Department officials said that they had no idea why the employees broke into Obamas files. The department is continuing to investigate, McCormack said.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was told of the security breach, which was first reported in The Washington Times on Thursday evening.

McCormack said security measures used to monitor records of high-profile people like Obama worked properly in the three instances to alert department officials of the breaches.

Obamas campaign said that the breaches were reprehensible.

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, said Bill Burton, a spokesman for the Obama campaign.

This is the second time that such a breach has occurred at the State Department during a presidential campaign.

In 1992, a similar breach took place when State Department officials looked up data on then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton, amid rumours that had tried to renounce his citizenship in order to dodge the draft while he was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford during the Vietnam War. (ANI)

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