The Waxman Takes Action in Obama-State Dept. Flap

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Three State Department contractors have been punished for improperly accessing Barack Obama’s passport and other files in what State is calling acts of “imprudent curiosity.” Congressman/bulldog Henry Waxman wants to make sure there isn’t something more sinister going on. He wants to know exactly who these contractors were working for. Here’s his letter to Secretary Rice:

Dear Madam Secretary:

Yesterday, Ambassador Patrick Kennedy, the Under Secretary of State for Management, confirmed that three contract employees working for two State Department contractors gained unauthorized access to the passport records of Senator Barack Obama. When Ambassador Kennedy was asked for the identities of the contract employees and the companies, however, he declined to provide them:

Question: Are you releasing the names of any of these three contractors or the companies for which they were contracting on behalf of the State Department?

Ambassador Kennedy: In a word, no.

I am writing to request that you provide the Oversight Committee by Monday with the identities of the companies involved in these breaches. I also believe this information should be made publicly available.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the principal oversight committee in the House of Representatives and has broad oversight jurisdiction as set forth in House Rule X.

Sincerely,

Henry A. Waxman, Chairman

Could this be part of “Blackwater’s World of Warcraft”? If anyone in Congress is going to find out, it’s Waxman. The State Department doesn’t seem interested in pushing this further, and the FBI and Justice Department have yet to get involved.

(If it’s not clear, we here at MoJo’s DC office think Henry Waxman is secretly a diminutive but powerful superhero. By day, Waxman ends corruption and graft through his work on the Oversight Committee. By night, he keeps the nation’s capital city safe from common criminals. He is Waxman. Let’s get dangerous.)

Update: Looks like Hillary Clinton and John McCain’s files were also improperly accessed.

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It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

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