Peek-a-boo Passports

Ideas and Issues Personal Writings

New Orleans         Turns out that working for the U.S. State Department in the passport section is exactly like being a stringer for People magazine.  If you get a little bored with the paperwork from time to time, just open a big fat file and take a look at some well known traveler and see where they might be going these days.  

    After firing some passport workers for peeking at the files of McCain, Obama, and Hillary, it seems that the Inspector General for the State Department thought they should take a look.  They put together a hit list of 150 politicians, sports figures, movie stars, and other celebrities.  They did not reveal the list, but rest assured Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Brittany Spears, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and the like were all on it!  

    It seems that 127 of the 150 or 85% had been accessed 4,148 times in the little more than 5 year period 2002-2008.  In short, one can assume that there were a couple of work days at Foggy Bottom when someone somewhere was not looking to spice up their day, but not many.

    Nine of the files had been hit more than 100 times — see list above starting with Angelina.   Thirty-three had provided vicarious adventure more than 25 times and 85 just got one hard eyeball during the period.  

    I’m betting that the 15% on this “random” list of 150 that were too boring for peek-a-boo were all part of the “politician” part of the list, since the better part of those names were probably members of the Congressional oversight committee for the State Department who had lobbied for their names to be on the list so that they could find out if anyone was snooping on them.

    What are they going to do?  Increase the hall monitors from 2 to 8 — essentially do more snooping to stop snooping.  They also recommended cutting the access from State employees by half, though I’m betting that may just mean that more people are forced to look over the shoulders of the people who are peeking, but maybe I’m cynical about this.

    Oh, and they say they are going to “improve” privacy training, which might be a euphemism for starting to offer that to their folks who are either too bored on the job or have too much time on their hands not to walk the line with the rich and famous for a minute.

Angelina Jolie