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. Greg

    Obama said that his pastor was never his political advisor... and he is correct.... but, he was his religious advisor... and personally I think that is much much worse... it is a lot easier to go against something that a political advisor says rather than a religious advisor... and it is a lot easier to not listen to a political advisor rather than a religious one.

    March 22, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. Tom,des moines

    I think Barack r so desperate rightnow. after we find out how fraud,phony and hyporcrite Barack were. Shame on u Barack.

    March 22, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. @americans

    By the time this election is over; CNN, MSNBC and FALSENEWS will go out of business!!!!

    right now they all think Americans are so stupid they are feeding us these garbage of divisiness, hate, more hate, and tearing this nation apart while we are losing our homes, food prices are on the upswing, our jobs are being shipped overseas...we need to stick to the issues and unite together on one UNITED STATES!

    March 22, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. Shar

    Based on some of the comments made on this blog, it would appear that some Obama supporters have been reduced to childish name calling. Perhaps, this is necessary because they cannot refute Mr. Obama's connections to this corporation. Mr. Obama needs to severe his connections to this corporation and refund their contributions. I would also wonder what he was thinking when he exposed his daughters to the rantings of Rev. Wright. Where have all the platitudes gone?

    March 22, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. Chanel

    Did the supporter look into the file or did an employee of the supporter look into the file? Are people that illiterate or just that desperate that they don't care about the facts of the story but only want to hear whatever makes Obama look bad?

    In my Hillary voice: "shame on you cnn for reporting this stupid story, and shame on the whole media for making this race look closer than what it really is, if Obama was behind in delegates and votes he would have been written off immediately! and most importantly shame on people, no matter who you support for not wanting to get over your ignorance and educate yourselves on facts vs. analysis and propaganda....shame on you!

    March 22, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. P L

    As soon as the news broke, a guest "Larry" on AC 360 immediately charged that the snooping is an example of the corrupt Republican administration. The fact that the CEO of the contractor's co supports Obama and the fact that all candidates files have been violated certainly mitigates the above charge.
    Lucky for Condi this time. Heaven helps the aministration if the CEO happens to be a McCain supporter. There, that's why it is importatant to enlighten those who ask.
    That said, there should not be any breach whichever party the snooper belongs. There should be serious investigation.

    March 22, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. Roger Burrows, Canada

    So the snoopers were tied to contractors supporting the two Democrat campaigns and not to the Republican administration. Bang goes a conspiracy theory. America really is an equal opportunity (to snoop) country!

    PS CNN, Please don't tie me up in "awaiting moderation" yet again. And explain why so many comments have nothing to do with this story!

    March 22, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. Laura Charlotte NC

    ah! heck? Couldn't agree with you more have a year to campaign.
    One national primary, one person one vote. Something to be said for that.

    March 22, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. GoAmerica

    The CEO donated in January and the first breach was on January 9.I urge people to use their own mind and judge others based on the facts not on myths that floats around the news everyday. If Obama campaign had any hand on it why would the CEO donate $2.300 to his campaign knowing it will be traced back to them. If Obama camp had any hand on it, the CEO wouldn't have donated that lump of money to Obama capaign.It is that simple. Be fair and nice. I am a Hillary Supporter. Justice, freedom and liberty for all, that is what America stands for and that is what we should focus on. Lets focus on important issues CNN.

    March 22, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  10. Alicia Baird

    Obama is a joke ... a bad one indeed ...

    March 22, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. Kevin M

    Must people interpret based on bias and surface informations whether Clinton, Obama or McCain supporters. Most of the attacks lack substance or relevance. I support Obama because he reminds Americans that they can make a difference and he backs it up with an impressive legislative record. Obama ls not perfect by any means. Obama is a uniter and his record illustrates this for anyone interested in researching the fact. The charges that Obama is racist are absurd and are the charges that Clinton is a racist. Obama has the judgment and record we need during these trying times. Obama is the best person for the job of president. Yes we can!

    March 22, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. another typical white person

    Obama probably is using this to get people off the preacher story..he is history...bye bye Obama

    March 22, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. Laura Charlotte NC

    Ryan,
    Supporter.....campaign advisor. Two different things. Look it up

    March 22, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  14. smartie

    Obama should go into motivational speaking. Obama is an occupational hazard. CNN, put this headline on the front page you biased fox like news outlet. (now watch, they won't post my comment).

    March 22, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  15. Molly Keith

    Oh my God. Here we go again. Obama jumping to the wrong conclusions again I would be embarrased if I were them. Is this what we have to look forward to if he gets the nomination. Someone who is so defensive that everyone must walk on egg shells to keep from offending him?

    March 22, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. Bayou Joe

    what really bothers me is that Gov. Richardson basis his support for Obama on his Race Speech. This is the same justification that Obama supporters make because there is no substance to Obama.

    Any candidate that would attend a church that preaches hate against other people for 20 years would have been forced to give up the campaign by the party leaders. In this case the Party leaders are scared to antagonize the Black and Young Ideological supporters that Barak has ignited with his speeches.

    Go ahead and nominate Obama and watch the Republican MCCain beat him in the general election. Hillary needs to be the candidate not Obama, but you are too stupid to realize that Middle America wants a Moderate in the Whitehouse. That leaves only McCain and Hillary.

    March 22, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  17. Typical white person

    Rookie mistake by a rookie politician.

    Obama go away.

    March 22, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  18. stacy

    all this so very tiresome and yes there is Richardson playing the
    minority role, "with a written script" by BO's script writers.

    March 22, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  19. B.M.

    The Clintons have tried every trick in the book to smear Obama. Being an ex-president he knows all the ends and outs. Of couse he wants Hillary to win. He will again be running the country. What he did while in the White House was scandalous. What respect does he have for his country, family and the people who put him there?

    March 22, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  20. sonia

    obama,s chickens coming home to roost

    lol,,,

    obama,,pls stop this,,,fraud stuff

    March 22, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  21. Obama needs to be unwrapped

    too much is hidden. he will make democratic party loose, bcoz next 6 months, someone, is going to unwrap him and show his true colors and pictures... another 10 remarks that are anti-american either by that pastor or someone else whom obama's thoughts matched for years and is not a few hour relationship. Got to think guys. This man, obama is a fake guy and going to be be a black president, that's all. not American at all.

    March 22, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. end game

    Just a diverson for Obama camp.
    Bill Clinton was the best Democratic President in the last 40 years, and it is quite clear the Republican are steering the DNC into the false thought that Obama should win based on their agenda.
    Bill and Hillary are quite aware of what the Republicans are doing and unfortunately they are using the African American voters as the wedge, unless they see through it and support Hillary in the end as they have supported their commodity for years. Mr Obama has not support the AA community yet, and I am not so sure he can as well as the Clintons have.
    END Game is November, so AA communities you may wish to make it clear you will support either candidate, unless you wish to see McMain in office come January. It is about the end game, If Clinton win, ALL Democrates win, If Obama wins the nominee he will lose 70% of her supporters and Republicans win. Sorry just reality.

    March 22, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. Yolanda Diaz

    Obama Supporter? suprise, surprise

    March 22, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  24. julie

    As a proud American I will not vote for Obama on any ticket,not even hillarys , A New Republican.......

    March 22, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  25. Ruth from Toronto

    No amount of silver-tongued oratory can ever erase the damage so incredibly visited on the Obama campaign by the righteous Reverend Wright. Obama and his followers must feel humiliated and disgraced by the unbridled and hateful rants by a mentor and close friend.

    Strangely enough, there may be a fortuitous sense in which the diatribes may be the salvation of Obama and the Democratic party. Because Obama has been cut down to size, he may finally grasp that his gifts can best be used as the Vice Presidential nominee, thereby providing a solution to all the problems plaguing the democrats. and the nation.

    March 22, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8