State Department says passport files of 3 candidates breached - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

State Department says passport files of 3 candidates breached

WASHINGTON (AP) - The passport files of the three presidential candidates - Sens. Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain - have been breached, the State Department said Friday.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the breaches of McCain and Clinton's passport files were not discovered until Friday, after officials were made aware of the privacy breach regarding Obama's records and a separate search was conducted.

McCormack said the individual who accessed Obama's files also reviewed McCain's file. This contract employee has been reprimanded, but not fired. The individual no longer has access to passport records, he said.

"We are reviewing our options with that person" and their employment status, McCormack said.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke with at least Obama and Clinton on Friday and expressed her regrets. State Department officials also planned to brief the staffs of all three candidates on Friday.

McCormack declined to name the companies that employed the contractors, despite demands by a senior House Democrat that such information is in the public interest.

"At this point, we just started an investigation," he said. "We want to err on the side of caution."

Traveling in Paris, McCain said any breach of passport privacy deserves an apology and a full investigation.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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