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Passportgate? No?

It seems a number of State Department employees have gained illegal access to Senator Obama's classified passport records. It seems it happened on three different occasions and involved at least two State employees. I say "seems" because this is just coming out and stories like this can drift over time.

The two employees in question have been fired, a third has been disciplined. Firing strikes me as a bit harsh, unless we have evidence that they were acting out of malice. If they were doing oppo for the GOP, or trolling for tabloid gossip, that's one thing, and the FBI should spend a couple of agent-hours and find that out. But if it's just some dumb-asses peeking out of curiosity, that strikes me as an unpaid leave-of-absence kind of thing.

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“Passportgate? No?”

  1. Blogger peter hoh Says:

    Intent is hard to prove. It's a lot easier for an employer to make the firing offense dependent on some action that is objectively defined.

  2. Blogger Randy (Internet Ronin) Says:

    UCLA Medical Center dismissed a couple of employees, and disciplined a few others, for peeking into Britney Spears's medical records. This strikes me as curiosity. (I think they were fired because they weren't permanent employees of the State Dept. - working for a contractor.)

  3. Anonymous Kevin Says:

    Having worked in a couple of jobs where I had access to confidential information, I have to disagree with you here. The problem is that you can only tell whether it was curiousity or malice after a whole ton of damage has been done.

    Say the "curious" State Dept employee or UCLA Med Center employee finds him/herself sitting on a juicy piece of information. Maybe the payoff of going public with the info offsets the loss of their (possibly shitty contractor) job. That's not a decision you want your employees contemplating.