STATE

The Washington Times Weekly - - Pol­i­tics -

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.”

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