to “just being nosy,” adding, “I do regret going into those files but never did I mean any harm to the applicant or to the department in doing so.”
An employee in Arlington, Va., said she didn’t recall illegally accessing anyone’s files without approval and suggested that co-workers might have used her computer.
An employee based in Mexico told investigators that gested looking up celebrities’ or family members’ names to become familiar with the electronic passport system.
Mr. Laine said the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs responded to the scandal by enacting numerous reforms, including the introduction of enhanced training and new “breach notification procedures.” He said officials also developed a training class called Passport Data Security Awareness, which has been completed by 4,500 personnel so far.
In a redacted report on the
An employee in Arlington, Va., said she didn’t recall illegally accessing anyone’s files without approval and suggested that co-workers might have used her computer. An employee based in Mexico told investigators that an instructor at the Foreign Service Institute suggested looking up the passport files of celebrities as an exercise to become familiar with the electronic passport system. A supervisor could not recall giving such advice.
for the center, said the lack of disclosure makes it hard to determine the extent of the passport snooping problems within the State Department.
“If they fixed the problem, then there should be no reason to keep the report redacted,” she said.
To uncover the extent of the snooping, State Department investigators compiled a list of 150 high-profile individuals and looked into whether their passport files had been accessed. The study found that 127 of those files had been accessed between September 2002 and March 2008, a “hit rate” that officials said appeared excessive.
Nine individuals have pleaded guilty in connection with the passpor t snooping scandal; the most recent two cases involved guilty pleas or sentences this month.
Former State Department employee Karal Busch, 28, of District Heights, Md., received two years’ probation for looking up the passport files of at least 65 actors, musicians, models and others.
Debra Sue Brown, 47, of Oxon Hill, Md., pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington last week to unauthorized computer access for looking up more than 60 celebrities and their families, including actors, comedians and athletes, as well as personal friends.
Authorities said she said her sole motivation was “idle curiosity.”