March 23rd, 2008
02:00 PM ET
7 years ago

Passport contractor exec is Obama supporter

Passport contractors connected to Presidential campaigns.
Passport contractors connected to Presidential campaigns.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The CEO of a company whose employee is accused of improperly accessing the passport files of presidential candidates is a consultant to the Obama campaign, a source familiar with the firm said Saturday.

John Brennan, president of The Analysis Corporation (TAC), advises the Illinois Democrat on foreign policy and intelligence issues, the source said.

Brennan briefed the media on behalf of the campaign earlier this month. The executive is a former senior CIA official and former interim director of the National Counterterrorism Center. He contributed $2,300 to the Obama campaign in January.

When asked about the contribution, a State Department official told CNN's Zain Verjee, "We ethically awarded contacts. Political affiliation is not one of the factors that we check."

The department does not check the "personal activities of that nature of the officers of the corporation." Contracts are "competitively awarded," the official added.

On Friday, the department revealed that Obama's passport file was improperly accessed three times in 2008, and the passport files of the two other major presidential candidates - Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican John McCain - had also been breached.

Three contractors are accused in the wrongdoings, including the one who works for TAC, who was disciplined. That contractor accessed McCain's file in addition to Obama's. None of the contractors was identified.

The other two contractors, who worked for Stanley Inc., were fired. Stanley has had contracts with the department since 1992, and was recently awarded a $570 million contract to continue providing support for passport processing. Its CEO, Philip Nolan, contributed $1,000 to the Clinton campaign.

Stanley officials confirmed Friday that two of its employees had unauthorized access to Obama passport files. Both individuals were fired, according to a company statement.

"While this is a rare occurrence, we regret the unauthorized access of any individual's private information," the statement said.

The department official said the three contractors worked in three different offices in the Washington area that are involved in various functions. One office does consular work and visas on evenings, holidays, weekends and overnights; another office issues passports; the third office scans and files materials.

The source said there has been no problem "at all" in the past with the TAC employee, who has "extensive" experience. The worker has been at TAC for years, and during that time has always worked under a State Department contract.

Explaining that the department had "complimented" this person for work in the past, the source said the individual is considered a "terrific" employee, except for this one instance, which the source characterized as an "aberration."

The department asked TAC not to take any administrative action against the employee while the investigation is under way.

On Friday, the company released a statement saying it would fully cooperate with the federal probe. The source said TAC has told the employee to do the same.

Echoing the State Department spokesman Friday, this source said there is no indication the motivation was anything but idle curiosity.

The source said TAC first learned of its employee's actions Friday morning when it received a call from the State Department. In its statement, the firm confirmed that one of the contractors was an employee, and called it "an isolated incident."

The Washington Times - which first broke the story Thursday night that Obama's records had been improperly accessed - on Saturday reported that the State Department investigation is focusing on the TAC employee, and that the investigation by the department's Inspector General will include polygraph tests for supervisors in the passport section to determine if there was any political motive.

The department spokesman on Saturday said he would not comment on whether the
department was polygraphing employees in connection with the investigation.

Related: Watch Kate Bolduan on the passport breach developments

– CNN's Kate Bolduan and Zain Verjee

soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. bob

    so obama

    explain this to us now????

    your own contributor and consultant...lol...what a joke

    March 22, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  2. Mike

    Sounds like Obama tried to pull the victim and conspiracy cards... and failed.

    Obama is a fraud, and need to steps down before the republican party puts him through the grinder. New type of Washington politics? I think not!

    March 22, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  3. Trey

    Ahhhh, it looks like the Obama campaign cooked this whole thing up to take the American public's eye off the ball (Rev. Wright). Obama is a politican like the rest of them.

    March 22, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  4. Enrique--- Hispanic Iraqi Freedom Veteran

    This is completely meaningless. Why is CNN reporting this? Who knows... Here's a thought- they post this so that they can prolong the primaries. It's sickening.

    Sen. Obama has the election all but locked up. Had the roles been reversed and Obama had LOST 12 out of the last 15 contests, Sen. Obama would have gotten the "Huckabee Treatment."

    Don't let the media spoon feed you. Watch MSNBC, FOX, ETC. Make up your own mind. Make your own conclusions.

    Obama/Richardson 2008

    March 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  5. Hillary Lied!

    Cold hard proof that Hillary fabricated a story about a harrowing experience in Bosnia.
    Go to Youtube and search with the keywords: Hillary Bosnia.

    March 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  6. Archie Kearney Ne.

    Seems as if American politics is nothing but deceit, he said she said ,smear , hate, innuendo and anything else you can think of just for the lust for power ,fame and fortune! America is on that slope of becoming a has been!

    March 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. Robyn Knights

    Just curious, Can anyone tell me why Joe Lieberman (I) formally D in fact running as a VP candidate for the D's is now chasing John McCain (R) around everywhere, he jumps into all photo ops. but worst of all his whispering in John McCain's ear recently re the Al Quaeda and Insurgents – if Lieberman had Shut up, then McCain would not be made look stupid.

    If I was a voter, and a Republican I would be furious, in fact I am a Democrat at heart but I would vote for McCain if Obama gets in, how can the US get it wrong twice? Obama is an empty vessel, nice but not ready for the awesome responsibility of the United States President.

    March 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  8. kathleen

    And, What did the Clinton's Camp do wrong?

    Nothing? No, that can't be. This very news is probably
    initiated by the CLINTON'S just as the Canadian news
    was prompted by the CLINTON'S. And the Clinton's
    were the ones that did the very thing they Accused Obama
    of-So says the Canadians. Bill was even in Canada at\
    that time!!!!!!!!!!!!! Check it out!!!!

    NAFTA WAS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE HILLARY EVER DID
    FOR OUR COUNTRY OF THE UNEMPLOYED. AND IT IS
    GETTING WORSE. PEOPLE CANNOT FEED THEIR FAMILIES!
    COME ON FOLKS, THE CLINTONS MUST BE HELD ACCOUNT-
    ABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    OBAMA 2008 OR NO ONE. 1/2 OF THE DEMOCRATS WILL
    NOT VOTE FOR HILLARY. JUST NO, NO ,NO TO HILLARY.

    March 22, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  9. Vig

    Looks like Anderson Cooper's comment that it was strange that this was just coming to light now and questioned whether it was to take the focus off the Wright problem for Obama. Looks that way. I think there is going to be another shoe that will drop on Obama – wait and see.

    March 22, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  10. ALBO

    So much for a Democratic staffer accusing the Bush administration of
    Snooping.

    But of couse, it was not the Contractor, but an individual who did it, and
    he could very well be at the payroll of Hillary or GOP campaign. But
    most probably it was only sheer curiosity (the same for the breaches regarding Hillary and McCain) and even if it is OK that
    such shall be investigated, it IS TYPICAL OF THE MEDIA TO CONCENTRATE ON SUCH IRRELEVANT ISSUES.

    ALBO

    March 22, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. Roger

    You know if that was a consultant to the Clinton campaign, we would never hear the end of it! It wouldn't be referred to as "idle curiosity". The Obama campaign would be using it as a negative against Hillary and CNN would be giving Obama another broadcast to whine about it.

    March 22, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    This is so stupid! Unless they authorized the breaching of these files, what does it matter who supports who? There will be some really petty people who will read way more into that than needs to be. CNN is feeding into this stupid behavior.

    March 22, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  13. Relax Joe

    Imagine that. Campaigns are spying on each other. Where is the outrage from Obama now that they were caught?

    March 22, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  14. charlotte

    Wouldn't you know it, an Obama supporter in the middle of this. I bet the Obama-bots will be wiping the egg off their faces with this one. LMAO

    March 22, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  15. RICHARD D SHIRLEY

    OBAMA'S SPEECH ON RACE WAS OUTSTANDING . BUT YOU TALKING HEADS KEEP RIPPING ON IT AND YOU KEEP IT UP AND YOU HAVE THE HISTORICAL SPOT OF SCREWING UP ONE OF THE BEST PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES EVER!

    March 22, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  16. Dontbefoolish

    Blah! Blah! Blah! What does the state department investigation show?

    March 22, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  17. Independant minded

    Can you imagine what the Obama and his cult followers would have done if John Brennan and TAC were Clinton or McCain advisors?

    Where is the outrage from Obama that they violated Clinton and McCain's privacy....yeah right.

    March 22, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  18. JB Boston MA

    You Hilliots are amazing. Hillary says, "you can't control those who are in favor of your campaign" in reference to Ferraro's comments, and you all praise her truth speaking skills. One of Obama's supporters does something stupid, and you start demanding for his resignation.

    A bunch of hypocrites! Oh ya, by the way, you all already lost : )

    Your horse can't win!!!!!

    March 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. tom

    why would Obama step down when he has already mathematically won. All this story indicates is a coincidental detail that the principal at Stanley gave a small donation to Obama. Stanley is a huge compant and Obama has railed well over $100M thus far. Bigger question is, why doesn't Hillary bow out. The only way she can win the nom is if something disasterous happens, and nothing so far qualifies. Basically, if she was the one the people wanted, she would not have lost 29 states and would not be too far behind to possibly catch up. Face it, only the hard core Bill CVlinton groupies want his wife to be president. That doesn't include Bill Richardson.

    March 22, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. Obama - Lacks Leadership Quality

    Obama struggles to gain his footing after Hillary Clinton took Texas and Ohio. All the endorsements, and according to Obama, "whispering" Republicans, didn't seem to help much.

    Obama lacks a team that will advise him to be specific relative to Foreign Policy, Healthcare, Education, etc... I'm of the opinion that Obama spends a great deal of time on counter responses to Clinton and MCcain.

    It has come to light that Bill Richardson is a possible contender for the Vice President position. Bill Richardson went against his district, was tossed out of the election, and turned on the Clinton's who helped is political career. I hope the Obama campaign is wiser than my current perception.

    March 22, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  21. John Adkisson

    Many of your commenters show their ignorance. Simply because the company is headed by an Obama supporter does not mean by any stretch that the employee who searched the records had any such affiliation. The only question is what were the motivations of the individuals who snooped, not whether the company itself was implicated.

    The circumstantial evidence so far is that the breach of Clinton's file is explained by a training snafu. McCain's and Obama's breaches are wholly unexplained and timed suspiciously. I would hope that Clinton herself was not connected in any way - but evidence so far points to someone who was looking for dirt on Clintons' opponents at the very time they became political threats. Investigators must determine who did the searching, not who the executives in the company were.

    March 22, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. Dontbefoolish

    Com'on people, this is the CEO of the company, not the state department. You haven't even gotten a final decision and your kicking Obama to the curb.

    March 22, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  23. zap

    Whay americans are so dump ? God
    What 1 exec have to do with someone who works at teh state departement and access some file. That person might me a republican working for the right wing.
    SO now because the exec advise obama, he's the one that push for the file to be breached.
    Now we wonder why Bill Gates go to India and china looking for engineer

    March 22, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  24. JB Boston MA

    And to CNN:

    Most people in this country have chosen a candidate. When those who have chosen a side are arrested, will you identify who they support.

    For example, "Obama supporter arrested for public nudity", or "Clinton supporter arrested for drunk and disorderly". No names of the individual, just who they support and their crime. You might as well make it fair for all candidates.

    I think that is a great idea!!

    March 22, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  25. Bob G.

    Must be a slow day at CNN!

    What real difference does this really make?

    Issues are still the same – who will make a better President that can actually steer the USS United States around.

    By August when all this hoopla has settled down and both HRC and BHO have torn each other down and wasted tens of millions of dollars, John McClain will start looking better and better to the "typical" American voter who still believes in "Duty, Honor, Country" a true American Hero and Patriot! God Bless America (all of America)!

    March 22, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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