<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
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US State Department to Identify Stanley Associates as Contractor that Illegally Accessed Senator Barack Obama’s Passport Files

The Official Announcement Will Come at 5 p.m. ET, a State Department Source Tells Narco News

By Bill Conroy
Special to The Narco News Bulletin

March 21, 2008

Two of the three State Department employees accused of snooping on presidential candidate Barack Obama’s passport records worked for a major U.S. government contractor called Stanley Associates Inc., a State Department official has confirmed.

“Stanley was the employer of two individuals involved in (accessing) Sen. Obama’s passport file,” the State Department official says. “Given that the Inspector General has launched an investigation into this matter, we cannot provide any additional information at this time.”

The official did say the State Department expects to release a statement concerning the Stanley employees later today.

Stanley, a publicly traded company, provides contracting services for dozens of government agencies through more than 100 locations nationwide. Among its clients is the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs — for which Stanley provides passport processing and support services.

The company secured a major 10-year contract in late 2006 to help the State Department deal with the expected increase in passport applications due to more stringent passport rules adopted as part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. The following year, Stanley unveiled a massive passport processing center in Hot Springs, Ark.

The ribbon cutting for the Arkansas facility last summer attracted a host of public officials, including the governor of the state, Mike Beebe; Mike Bush, the mayor of Hot Springs (where President Bill Clinton lived and attended school as a boy); and the Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Maura Harty, who was a Clinton appointee and the former ambassador to Paraguay.

Harty oversaw the division where the security breaches occurred with respect to Obama’s passport information. She retired late last month (her retirement was announced in late 2007, and there is no information so far that links her exit to the passport case violations), prior to the third passport spying incident targeting Obama.

Since opening the Arkansas center, Stanley has announced plans to unveil an additional passport production center in Tucson and last week announced that it has received a five-year, $570 million contract to continue the State Department passport-services contract.

Jodelle Pozza, spokesman for Stanley, declined to comment, indicating that State Department officials had requested that the company forward all press inquiries to them.

Two of the three contract employees accused of improperly accessing Obama’s passport files have been fired while a third employee has been subjected to disciplinary action, according to press reports.

The State Department official did confirm that the two Stanley employees were based in Washington, D.C. However, he was not able to provide any other information concerning those workers.

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America