March 23rd, 2008
02:00 PM ET
10 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. Tim MN.

    Lord! We going to get another fancy speech for this one? The last one hooked Richardson maybe another one could sway McCain to switch sides and run as VP for Mr. Obama hehe.

    March 22, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. Anne

    HAHAHAHAHA – I'm sure Obama wanted this to be some kind of Clinton conspiracy. If the CEO was an advisor to the Clinton campaign we would never hear the end of it and Obama's ploy to deflect attention away from his little Rev Wright problem would have succeeded.

    Before I was on the fence but I am no longer. If Obama gets the nomination, this 'typical white INDEPENDENT woman' will be voting for McCain.

    March 22, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  3. Annamica, OH

    Love how the Obamatrons will try to spin this as Clinton's doing. Get a life...because your candidate's run is over.

    March 22, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. s.b.

    And they tried to blame the Clinton campaign for this and change the subject from his hate filled church. Wow that sounds a little fishy to me.

    March 22, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. Laura Charlotte NC

    i have a great job. I just have to physically work my butt off but I love it.
    Too bad more Americans don't have the vision to take what is available in this country and use it to their advantage but instead blame it on the government. You are in control of your own destiny not the President or the congress.

    March 22, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. cc4obama

    Wasn't there a report this morining that the head of the agency had connections to the Clintons?? O coincidentally has since resigned??? Where is the report on that?

    March 22, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. Joy

    I don't care Obama playing tricks on public attention, but I don't like his pastor preaching anti-America stuff to children, especially to African-American children, 'cause that will creat racial discriminations in our society. He didn't do anything about it for 20 years. Now he distance himself from the pastor of course it's for political positioning.

    Obama is not qualified to be a senator.

    March 22, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. doc

    i am sick of watching BHO strutting around and issuing pompous,self-righteous garbage.Why didn't he leave that anti-white,anti-American church.He knew what was going on all along.Obama is un-American

    March 22, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. someone smiling in Texas

    I guess they were about to blame Hillary for this aannnnd ............someone messed up the plan and I hope people see what obama is doing.....he's the master planner of the so called Hillary Campaign attacks and this one just back fired. he's so desperately trying to get all this negative attention of himself, but it's not working.....remember when soo many things are going wrong, that's a sign from GOD that he doesn't want that for you and if you keep at it, it's only going to get worse. We all know you trying to make history, but this is not the right way to do it.

    March 22, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. Leah DiMarco, TX

    I can't believe how MANY dumb and ignorant Americans post comments online.

    The fact that a company owner has given money to one campaign or another has absolutely nothing to do with the crimes that the contract 'workers' that breached the security did.

    Senator Obama is correct in saying that we need better education in the school system in America! Too bad that it is too late to do anything about all of the adults that now are just uneducated and will probably stay that way.

    March 22, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. Susan

    This is ridiculous. There were employees of two contractors involved. An exec of one of the companies donated to the Clinton campaign and an exec of the other donated to Obama's campaign. This is going to boil down simply to three employees snooping around out of curiosity. The positive thing about this is that it exposed problems regarding communication between the low to mid level management within the State Dept....something that has to be corrected. It will of course be investigated as it should be, but I don't expect any big revelations here. There is nothing in those files that isn't already out there with the exception of social security numbers, phone numbers, etc.

    March 22, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. Benjamin

    MAB2 is dead on, and could have easily pointed out all the huge electoral sized states went to Hillary as well, and has a much stronger general election appeal. Super Delegates can think about THAT as well. You can not count the MI, FL, delegates, but the superdelegates have the responsibility to consider the millions of people who voted there.

    The Democrats can not let the campaign attitudes deflect from the reality of what has and will happen. Remember, Obama when losing by the same margin he leads now, argued the difference was negligible. Now he's on top, and it's all of a sudden a HUGE gap between Hillary and himself. His campaign is trying to dictate victory, and pressure the superdelegates to not go against him.

    March 22, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. Ryan

    3 different interns snooped over a 1 year period. This didn't just happen last week.

    lol @ "someone being arrested" because the owner of a company with dumb interns supports Obama. Obama's files are the ones that got broken into thrice!

    Sometime I wonder about the thought processes of the people who comment in these blogs.

    March 22, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. Gion

    this is somehow news, yet you bury that Clintons supporter is head of the other company, and meanwhile video has finally shown up proving that Hillary did not face sniper fire in Bosnia – she flat out LIED and noones covering itt

    go to youtube look up Hillary Bosnia and everyone will see.

    March 22, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  15. Медведев

    Clinton fools, this has nothing to do with Obama, not him, not his campaign. Hillary has lost already, accept it! You are just helping John McCain and the republicans which is what you wanted all along. Hillary is vying for the McCain running mate position, she truly is a vile disgrace to the Democratic Party and all it stands for! Obama had nothing to do with FL and MI, those clowns in those states dug their own grave. Stop hating Obama and embrace our one true destiny! OBAMA '08.

    March 22, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. maya

    Gee, now we know why this so-called BREAKING story came out timed so perfectly to get everyone's minds off of the Obama-Wright situation.

    And CNN- CHANGE YOUR TICKER TITLE. You've had that "Richardson calls out Clinton advisor" title up for almost 24 hours. I seriously don't know why I bother are so biased towards Obama...

    March 22, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. Laura Charlotte NC

    Of course Obama would not use these words in public. Do you think that would get him elected? Attending these services for twenty years does give a clue to what is in his head, thought, does it not?
    I think so......

    March 22, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |

    Whoever the CEOs support is unimportant. Guess what? Its election time. Everybody is contributing to campaigns.

    Its the 4 separate employees that breached security. The real questions are:
    -Did the employees have motive or are they just stupid?
    -What motive did the lower-level supervisors have for not reporting the security breaches up the chain of command?

    If the breaches were considered serious enough to fire them why didn't the supervisors tell?

    Welcome to our severely broken government.

    March 22, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |


    March 22, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. B.M.

    Barack Obama did not break the rules in Michigan and Florida. They broke the rules! It is what it is. Hillary will do anything to win the nomination. She has run nothing but a negative canpaign. That's why she is lagging behind.. If the people voted on which candidate was the most honest, she nor her husband could win. She could never get my vote even if Obama did not win. What is she afraid of not to reveal her tax forms?

    March 22, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. Illinois

    Yet another problem that Obama's name is tied to lets see how he spins this. Do I detect another race speech or will he just blame it on the Clinton's.Obama was trained from the best of Chicago's corrupt group of political people.Look up the Chicago political machines names and over half are in trouble or under investigation or have been asked to resign and even jailed. People wake up Obama is just as corrupt as the rest and its just a matter of time before its out What about the list of names that Obama's tied to and who he supported and endorsed the people that helped him get in office from day one not a list that I would want if it became public
    You can take the politician out of Chicago but you can't take the Chicago out of the politician.

    March 22, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. "typicalwhiteperson"

    HOW DARE!!! u obamians blame EVERYTHING on hillary !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????? WHAT!? it turns out that Obama hatched this plan to shed light off of his pastor case and yet its STILL HILLARYS FAULT?!!!!?
    oh well i guess im just...... "a typical white person"

    March 22, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. TP

    I don't care who contributed campaign money to which candidate. If an employee, or any other individual is snooping into personal files that are clearly off limits, then kick them to the curb! This company and their "curious employee" do not warrant any special treatment and should be held to the highest accountability.

    March 22, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. Ryan

    "The other two contractors, who worked for Stanley Inc., were fired. Its CEO, Philip Nolan, contributed $1,000 to the Clinton campaign."

    The other company's CEO is a Clinton supporter. Did ya'll just gloss that over before attacking Obama for foolishness?

    March 22, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. RP

    OMG... and the CEO's grandmother is a Clinton supporter and his pastor is a child molester and he has friend who is a lesbian. His family can be traced back to plantation owners engaging in slavery as well.

    Are you people insane?

    March 22, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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