Friday, March 21, 2008


The Huffington Post had a conspiratorial take on the information released today that the passport files of Obama, Clinton and McCain had been breached. Huffington notes that there is a "Clinton connection" to the story in that Ambassador Maura Harty, the recently retired Assistant Secretary of Consular Affairs, was Ambassador under Bill Clinton. And Huffington's readers have responded that she should be investigated.

That is really reaching.

The incidents did not happen while she was Ambassador. They did not happen while Bill Clinton was in office. In fact, Hillary's was accessed first, in 2007.

Clearly, accessing the files is wrong. All of us who have undergone consular training know that we are only supposed to access Americans' passport files under certain very specific circumstances.

My suspicion is that there was no malicious intent on the part of the contractors, who have been fired or disciplined. My guess it they accessed the files out of curiousity. No less wrong, but certainly less conspiratorial. But I guess that would be boring to those who are looking for vast right-wing or vast left-wing conspiracies. (Maybe this is a vast centrist-wing conspiracy, since the files of all three top presidential candidates were accessed!)


hannah said...

I'm glad my conjecture concurs with yours on this. When the original story was that Obama's alone had been accessed, I thought it had to have been random curiosity instead of really shoddy opposition research. Now that the other names have come out, one wonders how much longer the news cycle will care about this.

Or maybe it's Ron Paul's supporters. I hear they're still agitating for their candidate.

Consul-At-Arms said...

Attempting to "smear" recently-retired A/S Harty as some sort of Clinton machine operative is a dishonest and dishonorable attack on a distinguished American diplomat whose only declared loyalties have been to the United States itself.

A/S Harty began her Foreign Service career long before former Pres. Clinton was in office, as evidenced by being at a senior enough rank during his administration that she was appointed an ambassador, even to Paraguay. This is something like assuming everyone promoted to general or admiral during the years of that administration is also a Clintonista of some stripe.

I've quoted you and linked to you here: