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Obama’s rights violated, Ms. Rice says sorry
US presidential hopeful is yet again the centre of attraction as State Department spokesman Sean McCormack announced that three of its contract workers had individually accessed Obama’s passport records.

"Our government’s duty is to protect the private information of the American people, not use it for political purposes." Bill Burton, Obama campaign spokesman said. He also demanded an investigation into who crossed the line and why.

Burton also demanded an inquiry into why it took so long for the “outrageous breach of security and privacy" to be revealed. The files are said to have been accessed illegally on the Jan. 9, Feb. 21 and March 14.

Sean McCormack’s explanation was "At this point in time, it’s our initial view that this was imprudent curiosity on the part of these three, separate individuals," further saying that the department’s inspector general had been asked to investigate the matter.

Rice says sorry

Meanwhile, latest reports confirm that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has sent apologies to Mr. Obama.

Ms Rice told reporters Friday, ”I told him that I was sorry and I told him that I myself would be very disturbed if I learned that somebody had looked into my passport file and therefore, I will stay on top of it and get to the bottom of it,”

A vicious republican cycle?

Republicans and democrats were caught in a similar row in 1992 when Bill Clinton’s records were accessed. The democratic party blamed the republicans for accessing the records for political ends, as the search coincided with with Republican attacks on Clinton for his role in the Vietnam anti-war movement as a student at Oxford University in 1969 and for a trip to Moscow he made at the same time.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has condemned this breach saying "If it’s true, it’s reprehensible, and the Bush administration has a responsibility to get to the bottom of it."

The State department has so far sacked two of the three perpetrators.


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