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