By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
July 4, 2008
Government workers repeatedly snooped without authorization inside the
electronic passport records of entertainers, athletes and other
high-profile Americans, a State Department audit has found. One
celebrity's records were breached 356 times by more than six dozen
The audit, by State's inspector general, was prompted by the discovery
in March that three of the department's contract workers had peeked at
the private passport files of Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain and
that a State Department trainee had examined the file of Sen. Hillary
The report documented a widespread lack of controls on the personal data
of the 127 million Americans who hold passports, finding numerous
"weaknesses, including a general lack of policies, procedures, guidance
and training." The State Department had maintained that its system
worked when the candidates' passport breaches were discovered.
"This is unacceptable. The report makes it clear that the private
information of over 100 million Americans is vulnerable to unauthorized
access," said Sen Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.).
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