March 25th, 2008
04:21 PM ET
7 years ago

Justice and State Departments join forces on passport probe

 The security of the passport files of the top presidential candidates was breached, the State Department said.
The security of the passport files of the top presidential candidates was breached, the State Department said.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Justice Department Tuesday disclosed its prosecutors are now assisting the State Department Inspector General in the investigation into the breaching of passport files of the three leading presidential candidates by State Department contractors.

The involvement of Justice Department lawyers appears to represent a shift in the agency's position since last Friday when Attorney General Michael Mukasey indicated no plan to join the investigation until the State Department I.G. looked into the matter, and requested assistance.

Mukasey added Friday that in the event someone walked into the Justice Department "with a box full of evidence", that could change his stance.

"After the Attorney General's remarks on Friday, Justice Department prosecutors met with officials from the State Department Inspector General's office on this matter, and are coordinating with the Office of Inspector General on its investigative efforts," said Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr. "Due to the ongoing nature of these efforts, the Department will have no further comment at this time," Carr said.

A knowledgeable official who asked not to be identified because of the pending probe said the State Department had initiated the contact and follow-up meeting with Justice prosecutors some time after Mukasey spoke. The official said the guidance requested by State officials does not constitute what could be described as a "joint investigation" between the two Executive Departments.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack had said Monday that the Justice Department had an "open invitation to be involved in the process" and that it would be "up to the Department of Justice as to what sort of involvement they will have."

Several members of Congress have urged the Justice Department launch a criminal investigation to determine whether charges should be brought.

The latest such call came Tuesday from the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, and the panel's ranking Republican Arlen Specter, R-Penn.

"The Justice Department should not wait to be handed 'a box full of evidence' as you said at your recent briefing, before determining whether Federal laws were broken," Leahy and Specter said in a joint letter to Mukasey. "We both strongly believe that our government has a duty to protect the private information of its citizens," the Senators said.

The State Department has confirmed that contract personnel had peered into Sen. Barack Obama's file on three separate occasions, and had made unauthorized entry once each into the passport files of Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain.

–CNN's Terry Frieden and Elise Labott


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Laughing at US

    --The Media and all the other Party's is Laughing and Talking about US--

    FIGHTING AND DIVIDING over OBAMA and HILLARY-

    NEITHER is PERFECT...Yet WE are acting like WE don't have GOOD SENSE--

    -THINK-THINK- DO YOU HATE each OTHER that much that you will allow MCcain to WIN--

    Do YOU hate the U.S. that much that You are willing to DESTROY the U.S.A. with 4 MORE YRS. with ANOTHER Bush--

    COME TOGETHER-and THINK-STOP letting the MEDIA PLAY US-

    VOTE Democratic-NO MATTER WHAT-PROVE THEM WRONG

    March 25, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Darth Vadik, CA

    So two criminal entites (under the Bush administration) join to investigate a crime.
    Is there some irony in this?

    March 25, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. Grif

    All this will do. Is begin creating a much larger looksee....

    The more you look, the more you see...

    March 25, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  4. MCNEIL

    great and now we will find out about this person who is an obama advisor....obama is on vacation while his campaign is doing all the dirty work for him..OH YES HE IS ABOVE ALL THIS ...........YEAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    March 25, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. LOL at US

    --The Media and all the other Party's is Laughing and Talking about US--

    FIGHTING AND DIVIDING over OBAMA and HILLARY-

    NEITHER is PERFECT...Yet WE are acting like WE don't have GOOD SENSE--

    -THINK-THINK- DO YOU HATE each OTHER that much that you will allow MCcain/the Republican to WIN--

    Do YOU hate the U.S. that much that You are willing to DESTROY the U.S.A. with 4 MORE YRS. with ANOTHER Bush--

    COME TOGETHER-and THINK-STOP letting the MEDIA PLAY US-

    IF we STOP POSTING COMMENTS about the OTHER–They will STOP putting up Unnecessary TICKERS-

    VOTE Democratic-NO MATTER WHAT-PROVE THEM WRONG

    March 25, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. VOTER FOR TRUTH, DIGNITY-OBAMA/EDWARDS 2008

    DEMOCRATS, WATCH FOR MCCAINS CLEAN CAMPAIGN LIE.
    SIMILAR TO SWIFT BOAT ADS THAT GOT BUSH IN- KERRY OUT.

    IT IS CALLED "FREEDOM WATCH" FINANCED BY MILLIONIARES.
    FOR ONE MITT ROMNEY TO BE AT THE TOP OF THE LIST.

    March 25, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. kathleen

    This is old news. Don't waste our taxpayer money. Bush spies on us all the time. So big deal.

    Obama/Edwards2008

    March 25, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  8. scbrown

    Obama also LIED about being born 1961 during White/ Black struggles in Selma Alabama.

    To make his story sound even more interesting.

    The Selma incident happen in 1965

    March 25, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  9. RICHARD

    I REALLY DONT KNOW HOW I WOULD JUDGE THIS MATTER HOWEVER I DO BELIEVE THOSE THAT ARE FOUND CORRUPT SHOULD FACE SEVERE CHARGES, THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT IGNORANT OF THE LAWS AND INFACT ARE WELL FAMILAR WITH THEM.
    WHEN ALL THAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN IS A SMACK ON THE WRIST AND PUBLIC HUMILATION IN WHICH THEY BROUGHT ON THEMSELVES OR A RESIGNATION THE OFFER CANT BUT LOOK TEMPTING. I LOVE MY COUNTRY VERY WELL AND VERY WELL APPRECIATED OF THOSE THAT GIVE OR GAVE THERE LIVES FOR OUR FREEDOM. TO SEE THOSE WHO TAKE ADVATAGE OF THAT FREEDOM AND BRING DISGRACE UPON IT IS TERRIBLE AND IN MY OPINION WOULD BE ANTI-AMERICAN IN MY OWN OPINION.
    ALL PEOPLE WHO ARE FOUND GUILTY OF CORRUPTION EXAMPLE, MAYORS, POLICE, SHERRIFFS, STATE, GOVERNMENT AND SOFORTH. SHOULD FACE A MORE HARSHER PUNNISHMENT AND THE OFFER OF RECIEVING BRIBES OR OF TURNING ONES HEAD WOULD LOOK LESS APPEALING! SHUT THE DOOR PEOPLE........
    A TRANSGRESSOR IS SOMEONE THAT TEARS DOWN WITH HIS OWN HANDS WHICH HE BUILDS UP......
    IT'S MORE THEN A TITLE, IT'S A DUTY! REPRESENT TO THE FULLEST!!!.......AND MAY GOD BLESS AMERICA AND AMERICA BLESS GOD!

    March 25, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  10. Roni

    I don't know how to view her statement. I know she was asked a

    question, but I am a Hillary supporter and agree that it seems like a

    wag the dog move....I will give her the benefit of the doubt on this one

    because I know how bias the media has been towards Senator

    Clinton.

    Still strong for Hillary Clinton.

    March 25, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  11. wa

    oh. now i feel MUCH better

    March 25, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  12. scbrown

    Obama also LIED about being born 1965 during "Bloody Sunday" in Selma Alabama.

    To make his story sound even more interesting.

    The Selma incident happen in 1965 four years before Obama was born.

    March 25, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  13. PATRIOT

    Another waste of Taxpayers dollars. Why doesn't the Justice Department investigate real criminals. The ones that put us in this Mortgage mess. Want a few names... Citi Bank, Chase, Countrywide,
    Morgan Stanley. ,,,On and ON. Now we the taxpayers have to pick up the bill.

    March 25, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    In the words of VP Cheney, "So?"

    March 25, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  15. Deborah

    Hillary is a liar!!!!!

    March 25, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  16. Teresa

    Why would Mukasey make such a comment? That's kinda scarey. Does he think all US citizens should be treated this way? Or, is it certain citizens that he is referring too.

    March 25, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  17. Underhanded!

    I wonder why the State Dept and the Justice Dept has to investigate. It must be because Bush/McCain/Hillary are so dirty. They have one thing in common– They are liars,flipfloppers,backstabbers and warmongers. Vote for the Best. GO OBAMA!! America is sick of the constant attacks on Obama.-- Go after the other flipfloppers.

    March 25, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  18. mary

    Whatever Obama wants, Obama gets.

    March 25, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  19. grant

    Wow, I feel so much better now that two completely inept branches of Government are joining forces. No doubt it will be Bill Clintons fault.

    March 25, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  20. Steve

    We should know everything and anything of any person who has or will have their finger on the nuclear trigger. Other nations have to submit these questions to majority of cabinet ministers even Russia and Israel.

    March 25, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  21. cinammon girl

    Investigation? What's there to investigate? Put the three employees on that "To Tell the Truth" (or whatever it's called) reality show and save us a lot of money

    March 25, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  22. JOHN

    I WONDER WHAT CAMPAGIN THIER SUPPORTING. WILL HILLARY DROP OUT OF THE RACE? WILL SHE CATCH OBAMA IN VOTES, DELEGATES OR STATES? WILL THE DEM PARTY TRY TO STEAL THE ELECTION FROM OBAMA? WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT THE HELL BILL CLINTON WAS TALKING ABOUT YESTERDAY WHEN HE SAID WE CAN WIN THIS THING. WAS HE TALKING ABOUT ELECTROL COLLEGE? WHAT ARE THE CLINTONS TRYING TO DO? I'M CONFUSED. BUT I'M NOT CONFUSED ABOUT HILLARY BEING READY TO LIE ON DAY ONE.

    March 25, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  23. Vig

    Let's hope these were Obama operatives.

    March 25, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  24. An American in Canada

    MORE WASTE OF AMERICAN TAX MONEY!!!

    IF THEY ALREADY FIRED TWO OF THE CULPRITS WHAT MORE CAN THEY FIND OUT.

    OBAMA IT IS TIME TO QUIT, WITH YOUR BAGGAGE YOU WILL NEVER BE PRESIDENT; EVEN WHEN AND IF YOU GET ENOUGH EXPERIENCE.

    OBAMA IS TOO WEAK, HE IS A MAN OF NO SUBSTANCE, NO SOLUTIONS AND NO CHANCE....

    GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK!

    March 25, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  25. Jennifer Anderson, Pennsylvania

    It's a shame that Hillary talked about Obama's pastor today. She shouldn't have talked about it, She wants the country to be divided. I was there when she spoke this today, a lot of people were disappointed with her. I am an independent, but here is my thought. No One should be responsible for words that are said by others. If Obama has said something, then we can have him accountable for his words. For God's sake we live in AMerica, We should not be held responsible for words our pastors or anyone says. On the contrary, Hillary lied to us about her landing in Bosnia, these are her own words, no one else told us about this story, it was Hillary's own words. If she is willing to lie about these things, I wonder what more is to come. I would like the media to look into the other things that she claims as experience & bring it out to the American people, because we the people deserve to know the TRUTH behind her so-called "EXPERIENCE". It's a shame that there are still some people out there that trust her even after this news was out. Again, i am an independent, but as far as I can tell, Obama is the only candidate that's been so genuine, and he's the only candidate that's been respectful to the other candidates. McCain has conducted himself in a respectful way too so far. But as we all know Hilllary is full of negative attacks, and divisive politics. I think it's time for Sen. John Edwards, to seriously look into this, and endorse Sen. Obama who is will unite everyone. I think Sen. Edwards has a lot in common with Sen. Obama. Anyway, all you democrats out there, decide for yourselves whom you trust the most. Thanks

    March 25, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
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