Friday, March 21, 2008

The Breach Of Obama's Passport File

I'm going to try not to speculate on this, as every newscaster I've seen so far has done, but I may highlight a few sentences or words and make
a few comments throughout the article.

However I am, firstly, off on a rant about ideological nut cases.

First of all, I just sat in amazement as both Joe Di Geneva and Tucker Carlson, on MSNBC, blamed this breech on, among other things, big government and the much hated, by them, bureaucracy. Are they saying that we should have no passports in this country?

Are they saying that we should be able to go wherever we want, whenever we want and it should be none of the state departments business?

Just try that, Tucker and Joe. You won't get very far because other countries demand that you have a passport.

(Tucker was also visibly upset that this had blown Jeremiah Wright off the TeeVee for at least a day or so and what's-her-face as well. Problem is, What's-her-face seems to have "spoken and she can't shut up.")

I have a libertarian streak in me that's about a mile wide, but even I'm not that stupid. Passports are necessary for many reasons, quite a few of those reasons are for the protection of Americans abroad. However, the information on those passport files should never be used against an American citizen, unless there is other evidence of a crime; a big crime. This is the kind of thing that keeps me from being Libertarian. More knee jerk, thoughtless plugs for your ideology. It's every bit as aggravating as the gun-hating far left using every school shooting to decry the existence of guns in America., when my question is "where the hell are these kid's parents?"

Besides, Americans should be encouraged to travel abroad (not the ugly American, please, but the curious, courteous kind.) I have witnessed an ignorance in this country about other cultures and countries that even I have found shocking and in people I knew and believed to be more informed and open to learning more. When that many people are that ignorant, you can tell them anything and they will believe you, especially if they are ignorant, frightened and looking for an authority figure who will protect them. That, my brothers and sisters, is one super dangerous combination for a Democratic Republic, that is if we still have one.

I grew up in the deep south with a father who had an arsenal, practically. I was never really sure how many guns he had until he died, and I didn't really care. My father wouldn't have shot a bird, let alone a human being, unless that bird or that human was threatening his daughter and/or wife, not to mention himself, by entering our house unbidden and in the middle of the night, through a window with a ski mask.

When will we learn? We should not frighten each other, on purpose.

Nevertheless, I did know where two of the guns were. My father showed me where they were and made a big deal of it. He didn't do that often, so I was always impressed when he did. He told me that I should never touch those guns unless he was with me. The calm, firm tone in his voice was all it took. I never touched the things. I wouldn't even open the sock drawer where his pistol was. When I did the laundry, on occasion, I laid his socks, neatly folded, on the top of the dresser.

Later, my grandfather taught me to shoot, on a farm we had back then, with Dad's permission, of course. No, not even that made me want to pick up a gun for any other reason than shooting those tin cans off the rock fence and even then, as a teenager, my grandfather was with me. We had contests by then. I would try to out shoot him. I don't think I ever did. But it was fun, like shooting arrows, which I also did, at a big stack of bailed hay with a homemade target on it. I would most certainly learn to shoot arrows, as that was a part of my heritage.

I realize that that rant had absolutely nothing to do with the real point of this article, but there is nothing that will bring on a rant from me like concrete-minded, knee jerk babbling of ideology, even when its absolutely stupid in the context.

So, I still ask, where are the parents? You all know who I'm talking about, those Americans who are held in such high regard that they get tax breaks, apparently whether they are doing their jobs or not.

WASHINGTON — The State Department says it is trying to determine whether three contract workers had a political motive for looking at Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's passport file.

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

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that for now it appears that nothing other than "imprudent curiosity" was involved in three separate breaches of the Illinois senator's personal information, "but we are taking steps to reassure ourselves that that is, in fact, the case."

BWAhahahaha. Couldn't help it! Excuse me while I get the coffee of my monitor

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 that is required when a person fills out a passport application.

It's enough for identity theft, which could lead to all kinds of mischief!

Bill Burton, a spokesman for Obama's presidential campaign, called for a complete investigation.

"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," Burton said. "Our government's duty is to protect the private information of the American people, not use it for political purposes."

"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," he said.

The breaches occurred on Jan. 9, Feb. 21 and March 14 and were detected by internal State Department computer checks, McCormack said. 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.

I feel it necessary to add this: When an employee attempts to look into the passport records of certain high profile people, not only is there an immediate notification to the supervisor, but a warning appears on the screen that the file cannot must not be pulled up unless for certain necessary reasons and only with permission from higher-ups at state. This warning is immediate and given before a person commits the "error" of "imprudent curiosity." Ask yourself, would you let your own curiosity get the best of you in such a situation? In this economy would you risk losing your well-paying job over curiosity? Maybe the old saying is right; curiosity killed the cat. But cats don't have pre-frontal lobes which make executive decisions for us and, hopefully, keep us from ignoring warning signs.

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.

Therefore there can be no full investigation of this incident as two of the employees are gone, having been fired and beyond the reach of the State Department, though not beyond the reach of the FBI. If I were them, I would be camping out in Congress, begging to tell their story for immunity if a real crime has been committed.

"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.

Nor should the State Department routinely check the political affiliation of any potential employee. That would be illegal. But political affiliation should have been checked immediately after all three breaches. Why are the names of the contracting companies being released. They have no right to privacy in this issue that I am aware of, especially since they have been accused of nothing.

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.

And say what, exactly? Mr Kennedy doesn't know anymore about this issue than I do, if he is telling the truth about when upper level management knew about it. The fate of the contracted employees was decided by the janitor it seems and no investigation was done. There is no one to investigate since the guy who would have done that left his position at State ahead of congressional subpoenas. (Remember Old Cookie Krongard?) He did have an assistant, but as I say, the two fired employees are out of the reach of the State Department now and as we all know referring anything to Justice is like shooting it toward a black hole from which no information ever emerges. They still do have the third "curious employee." Perhaps, she he should be called before a congressional ASAP, even if they have to offer immunity.

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.

Maybe they learned a lesson from that; don't use political appointees for your political dirty work. Use contractors. It seems to work in Iraq. Joe Di Geneva, far right lawyer, said last night that the Clinton investigation, which he ran as a special "independent" counsel said that that the GHWB stunt was just stupid, but not a crime because none of Clinton's information could be used politically it was not "disseminated." Had it been, it would have been a felony. Let's face it, it wasn't disseminated because there was nothing there that would prove harmful to Clinton's campaign and I imagine that the Bush campaign, if not the W.H., was in formed of that.

But we can't help but wonder. Like father, like son?

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.

Not a very bright move for a man who had wanted to be president almost his entire life.

It seems to me that the use of government agencies against the political opposition, elected or rank and file, should be a felony in itself, whether such an effort bears fruit or not. Is my memory failing me or isn't that what finally did Nixon in; the use of executive branch agencies against people who were on his "enemies list"? (We are talking the IRS and other agencies, plus the use of rogue elements who came to be known as the Plumbers.) It wasn't the secret bombing of Cambodia and therefore the broadening of the war, and sending our soldiers and sailors into Cambodia, unknown to the American people or Congress that did him in any more than the war crimes of this administration will be the reason for their down fall. Presidents always get in trouble for what they do to the American people and the political opposition, unless, of course, the people are scared witless of an outside enemy and allow breaches of their own personal security, by allowing their own government to shred the constitution and throw their rights out the widow.

We hapless, stupid Americans: like lambs to the slaughter.

Just imagine Hillary with all the new powers afforded the new president under the unitary executive theory of government.

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.

What do you think should have happened to them, Mr. Di Geneva? Perhaps a medal of freedom?

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."

Yeah right, Hillary. Are you going to keep pushing for the truth on this one, are are you going to wait until it happens to you and it will. Oh boy, is it going to happen to you and it won't matter one bit whether it's the truth or a lie.

You and your campaign are using the kitchen sink strategy against Obama. McCain will use the airborne and special forces against you, Dear Lady, all the while saying he isn't doing it and he may be telling the truth. It may be the Rovian forces, now in darkness, who come after you.

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.

Too soon? Given how long it's been going on and how many times it's happened, it may well be too late.

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 Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was informed of the breaches on Thursday.

I don't doubt that. Why on earth involve her?

For anyone who is interested, there are some curious correlations between the time of the breeches and what was going on concurrently on the political landscape.

But, here is what I don't get and what may make it clear that this was not political. Obama is now a presidential candidate, surrounded by secret service and the press. How could he have gotten out of the U.S. and come back in without everyone knowing any way on or around the dates of the breaches. Why did it take three times, if it is political. Admittedly, Obama's passport file is probably pretty long. But these days it's all on computer, easily pulled up and read.The contractors who committed the beaches were data entry people. Was there a plan afoot to alter Obama's file in some way in order to scare Americans, again?

Passport files contain much more than most Americans think they do. They are not simply a record of where one went and when, especially when one is an official in the U.S. or people who are being watched by the government for whatever reasons. Like maybe they are Quakers or other dangerous pacifists. (snark)

I wonder why no one finds McCain's or Hillary's file all that interesting, or even Bill's file, these days. God only knows what he's been up to! LOL

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

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