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. Laura Charlotte NC

    The man is an ADVISOR to the Obama campaign, not just a supporting voter like you or me, big difference.

    March 22, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. Slap Stick, Florida

    Wow I can see that the Hilliary supporters are not getting enough love so they continue to Spewwww the Hate. Hmmm Happy Easter!!!

    Obama 08
    Yes We Can

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

    I'm sure this was nothing more than innocent curiosity.

    The Bush Administration has earned our trust on questions like this. They would never do anything to diminish Americans' right to privacy, especially not for political reasons.

    Got any NYC bridges for sale?

    March 22, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  4. Dear CNN

    I'm a huge fan of CNN, but have to admit you are not very informative and have lots of missed opportunities.

    It would be great to shake things up by having different Analyst takeover. Example: Analysts last night were reporting that Bill Richardson's endorsement was significant. However, while having dinner with friends, we fell there was much missed opportunity relative to this topic. Our stand is this endorsement is a betrayal to his district and the Clinton's. We feel this endorsement does not hold much weight given the fact that no one voted for him while he was in the election. A good discussion ensued amongst us relative to the trustworthiness of Richardson.

    My take is that your Analyst tend to agree with one another, and not consider other stances or a bigger picture.

    Your Analyst do not hold candidates to answers such as: Who, what when, where, how, and why. These are fundamental questions and expectations of the viewer. Your Analysts are not neutral; therefore, making them hard to watch because they become emotional. At the end of the day, let me know what’s going on around the world, less the dramatics.

    This is not to suggest that I can do a better job, but these are trained professionals - skilled in this area. That said, I will continue to watch CNN and hope that there will be some changes.

    March 22, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. Nikole

    Why is it that most people that comment on here lack to understand what they JUST read? The OWNER of a company supports Obama. We still have NO idea why the snoopers, snooped and what they planned to do with any info.

    March 22, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. Laura Charlotte NC

    Well said!! Here is my campaign slogan for Ms. Clinton.

    Forty three Presidents, all with one thing in common...VOTE for real change, a NEW point of view HILLARY CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT!

    March 22, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. Dolores

    People open your eyes Obama is not what he has been claiming to be. Stop being so idealistic for a moment, just a moment and take a good look.
    He is more business than usual than anyone else simply because he claims not to be.

    And, while Hillary is a Clinton and the Clintons are the Clintons, we know what the results can be. And, don't be silly any trips made abroad by the Clintons, McCain and Obama since they have been public official have been through diplomatic channels.

    This would have a lot more validity if Obama would not have ties to the CEO of the company that has been doing the snooping.

    I am so sick of Obama's whining I can't take another four years of this. even Bush is willing to take on more responsibilty than Obama.

    Or maybe he just has no judgement.. But he did get it right on the war although we really don't know since he did not vote on it.

    March 22, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  8. L X

    I don't know or will never know the real reason why we have this "news" , but it may not be difficult to know who will get most benefit from this "news".

    I agree with someone's opinion about taking off public's eyes from Wright. However, there is another important issue that could be moved away from public eyes. That is both re-vote in MI and FL are blocked successfully.

    March 22, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  9. Joe G

    I am already sick and tired of Barack Obama.

    March 22, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. Brandon Chicago

    now it all adds up. 1- stupid wife , 1 – racist pastor, 1- idiot campaign adviser , now 1- crooked CEO = Barack Obama campaign. Not even talking about not being African American too which he is not. Come on Oprah spill the beans about his fantasy book on his life. Why not tell Americans he is really Arab American. There is no pride in saying you back a book of truth & dreams when it is all a lie. Obama speak the truth for once in your pathetic life. I could not and will not vote for someone who has lied every-day of his life too himself , his race, and his own followers. You haven't found any-thing too hurt Hillary , so far I see the very same truth she has spoken , you lies. Please bow out while you still have some respect left, think of at least your soul and that of your family. Let the truth come out about your falsehood .

    March 22, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. Karen

    Doesn't surprise me that an Obama campaign supporter looked into Obama's files and then McCains. Why look only into McCain's files if caught? This way it looks harmeless.
    And by the way, since so many media specialists say that the Clintons will do anything to win, please please read the Chicago Tribune's article, March 22, 2008, on Barrack Obama and his ruthlessness to win at any costs. Politics, says M Obama, whom I find so refreshing and true is a game and insane. But for the American people, needing leadership that is genuine and sincere, it is not a game. There are times when a leader, must break the rules, for the "greater good". Let me tell you, if the DNC STEALS THE NOMINATION from HILLARY, by not seating the Flordia and Michigan voters (she would have received even a higher number of voters had the primary been redone and Barrack knows it) and disenfranchises Florida and Michigan voters, then Hillary should pull a Barrack who sabatoged Alice Palmer, an african American, whom so many of us admired. Hillary, don't give in please to anything that does not represent those of us who believe in you and your struggles so very very much!

    March 22, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  12. Slap Stick, Florida

    MADDDDDDDDDDDDDD respect to Bill Richardson for doing the right thing despite being friends with the Clintons. It is about making a decision for what is best for the country and Bill Richardson is showing America first hand that yes he has sat at the home of the Clintons but it is about all of America not just about sitting up in the suburbs. Some people are so closed minded to discredit him.

    March 22, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  13. Franky

    This is crazy. I mean, crazy things happen for some reason. Whether is one campaing or the other. But you know what? Senator McCain is just chillin while the Dems just keep going at it. Hmmmm, interesting I gotta say........

    But on the other hand, some people wonder why I don't trust my government no more, LOL!!! Na'h, na'h I'm just playing, I do trust them...........just a little bit, LOL!!!

    March 22, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. Stepheny

    Means nothing. They should dig even deeper, which they probably won't. Our current administration and the Clinton's are so corrupt and their ties so deep that it wouldn't surprise me to find out this was done for more sinister reasons. Still love you Obama. Stand tall, stand proud. You've still got my vote.

    March 22, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. pol watcher

    Looks like Obama screwed this one up!

    What was it - besides being "Politics as usual" which you vowed
    that you were above such stuff.

    This a diversion from the Preacher story – to take the heat off you.

    Sorry – that blew up in your face.

    March 22, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  16. ANN

    Another indication of Obama' a frauulent claims of purity a
    nd "new politics".

    It is now Obama's time to apologize to the Nation and to retire from the campaign.

    March 22, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. geoff

    By the way Obama is up three points in the Gallup tracking poll where he was 7 behind just a few days ago!

    March 22, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  18. Geoff in Brooklyn

    Given all the emphasis on polls this week, TICKER and CCN generally should REALLY emphasize the latest Gallup tracking result:

    "Barack Obama has quickly made up the deficit he faced with Hillary Clinton earlier this week, with the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update on Democratic presidential nomination preferences showing 48% of Democratic voters favoring Obama and 45% Clinton."

    This is huge news.

    March 22, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  19. Peter in Canada

    This stuff is not really news..its the reporting of random facts designed to create conspiracy theories! It is all pure nonsense!
    Did the CEO have brown hair and dark skin or blond hair and red skin...was he fat or thin...does he use the same lunchrooms as Hillary or Barack...what CRAP!

    March 22, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  20. Obama Guy

    Umm why are people even caring about this..he's a Obama Supporters and has only donated money to the mans election campaign so tell me again how this is Obama's fault...ah yes cause it isn't..try again Obama Bashers.

    March 22, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  21. mapmure

    Hillary voted for NAFTA see where it lead America. Do we even have to mention the Iraq war.

    Carol you beginning to detect voters are seeing Obama as a whiner and Hillary as a fighter…….

    Well if it makes you sleep well at night, with that narrow mind that you got. Then l rest my case.

    March 22, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  22. Drew, RI

    CNN, if you keep that photo of Barack and his pastor up for the enire weekend, I will be convinced that you are a PAID Hillary or McCain supporter.

    Shame on you.

    Barack Obama, the next president of the United States.

    March 22, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  23. DKauffman

    Obama is screwed. By the time he was hyping the breach infringement he must had known his contributor was in the loop of the investigation. Interesting!

    March 22, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  24. HP Boston

    This is so sad Obama is caught lying again.

    First about the NAFTA snafu he was responsible for then the Wright sermons, now wrong again.
    I hope to God he has not destroyed the Dems chance to win the WH, who the hell would vote for him. I never will!

    March 22, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  25. Carole

    I am so happy to see Richardson endorse Barack Hussein Obama. His state was won by Hillary so he helped to prove the superdelegates DO NOT need to support the candidate their state supported. They SHOULD use their own free will to chose the candidate they feel will be the best for our country....I hope this will put to rest all those that say they should go with the candidate their states supported...

    HILLARY 2008

    March 22, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8