Two Fired for Looking at Obama's Passport Files

By: AP
By: AP

STATE DEPARTMENT (AP) _ A spokesman for Senator Barack Obama's
campaign says a breach of Obama's passport files is "an outrageous
breach of security and privacy."

A State Department spokesman says two contract employees have been fired and a third disciplined for inappropriately looking at the passport file.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says the department
itself detected instances of what it is calling "imprudent curiosity." The violations are said to have occurred separately on January 9th, February 21st and March 14th. He would not release the names of those who were fired and disciplined.

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton says there should be a complete investigation. Burton says the "government's duty is to protect the private information of the American people, not use it for political purposes."

Obama isn't the first presidential contender to have someone snoop in his State Department files.

During the 1992 presidential campaign, officials in the first Bush administration searched then-Democratic nominee Bill Clinton. An inspector general's report called the search improper and said it was aimed at finding material that would be damaging to Clinton's campaign. At the time, Republicans were criticizing Clinton for anti-Vietnam War activities when he was a student at Oxford University.

The report says officials looked into the passport files after rumors sparked freedom of information requests, but later discovered that privacy laws would bar their disclosure. A three-year probe concluded the violations were "stupid, dumb and partisan'' but not criminal.

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