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Joseph A. Palermo Headshot

Condi Rice's State Department Spies on Barack Obama?

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Operatives from one of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's web of privatized contractors within the State Department, which includes Blackwater, on at least three occasions scrutinized Barack Obama's passport information probably in search of something that could be used against him politically in some unforeseen way, and provide ammunition for well-timed leaks.

The political nature of this latest episode is clear from the fact that the dates of the breaches were January 9, February 21, and March 14, which correspond with the New Hampshire primary, the Democratic debate in Texas, and the day the Jeremiah Wright story became major news.

If Rice's State Department had its "security" breached when Obama's passport information was pilfered on January 9 then why didn't it set off alarm bells right then and there? Why wasn't this first breach brought to her attention and an investigation launched?

And why were two other breaches able to occur on February 21 and on March 14?

The episode represents a major security breach of a VIP who is currently running for president, which raises the question of whether or not the Bush White House was informed of this violation of Obama's privacy rights.

Are we to believe that these contractors "routinely" combed Obama's passport information without recognizing the fact that he is currently a presidential candidate?

Was it just incompetence like when Condi Rice missed the President's Daily Brief of August 6, 2001 entitled: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the United States?" Or is it something more sinister like Karl Rove cooked up for the Justice Department and the politicization of the U.S. Attorneys?

Congress must begin its own inquiry into this potentially grave abuse of federal power. We cannot allow the federal machinery to be used in political warfare.

The Hillary Clinton campaign also has some explaining to do since Maura Harty, who was President Bill Clinton's ambassador to Paraguay, resigned her post with the Bush State Department between the second and third breach of Obama's passport information.