What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 9, 2013

Tracking Teh Crazie - Jerome Corsi. Again.

The wingnut birther conspiracy continues.

From Jerome Corsi at WND (of course):
NEW YORK – John Brennan, the Obama counter-terrorism adviser nominated this week to head the CIA, played a controversial role in what many suspect was an effort to sanitize Obama’s passport records.

On March 21, 2008, amid Obama’s first presidential campaign, two unnamed contract employees for the State Department were fired and a third was disciplined for breaching the passport file of Democratic presidential candidate and then-Sen. Barack Obama.

Breaking the story, the Washington Times on March 20, 2008, noted that all three had used their authorized computer network access to look up and read Obama’s records within the State Department consular affairs section that “possesses and stores passport information.”
And the connection to Brennan?  Take a look:
The New York Times noted the two offending State Department contract employees who were fired had worked for Stanley Inc., a company based in Arlington, Va., while the reprimanded worker continued to be employed by the Analysis Corporation of McLean, Va.

The newspaper gave no background on either corporation, other than to note that Stanley Inc. did “computer work for the government.”

At that time, Stanley Inc. was a 3,500-person technology firm that had just won a $570-million contract to provide computer-related passport services to the State Department.

Analysis Corporation was headed by Brennan, a former CIA agent who was then serving as an adviser on intelligence and foreign policy to Sen. Obama’s presidential campaign.
And since Brennan's "connected" to the intrusion it didn't take much for Corsi to paste in a conspiracy:
Investigative reporter Kenneth Timmerman said a well-placed but unnamed source told him that the real point of the passport breach incidents was to cauterize the Obama file, removing from it any information that could prove damaging to his eligibility to be president.
Information like Obama's birthplace, of course.  Two things you should know about the source of Corsi's scoop above - it's Newsmax and it's from January of 2009 about events that took place almost a year earlier.  Was there any sort of investigation in to this?  Is any of it even possible?  Corsi, gives us a clue:
In July 2008, the State Department’s Office of Inspector General issued a 104-page investigative report on the passport breach incidents, stamped “Sensitive But Unclassified.” The report was so heavily redacted, it was virtually useless to the public. Scores of passages were blacked out entirely, including one sequence of 29 consecutive pages that were each obliterated by a solid black box that made it impossible even to determine paragraph structures.
You can read the "virtually useless" report here. From the Executive Summary we learn:
In March 2008, media reports surfaced that the passport files maintained by the Department of State (Department) of three U.S. Senators, who were also presidential candidates, had been improperly accessed by Department employees and contract staff. On March 21, 2008, following the first reported breach and at the direction of the Acting Inspector General, the Office of Inspector General (OIG), Office of Audits, initiated this limited review of Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) controls over access to passport records in the Department’s Passport Information Electronic Records System (PIERS). Specifically, this review focused on determining whether the Department (1) adequately protects passport records and data contained in PIERS from unauthorized access and (2) responds effectively when incidents of unauthorized access occur.
So the unauthorized access was through the PIERS system. Now we're getting somewhere.  But can anyone actually do what Corsi says these low level data entry employees did?

Not really.  From page ten of the OIG report:
According to CA [Consular Affairs] officials, almost all PIERS users have “read only” access.
There's a foot note to that sentence which reads:
A small number of CA Directorate Staff can edit PIERS records as required by their positions.
So as it's only those State Department employees on the "CA Directorate Staff" who can edit (which, presumably would include "sanitize" or "cauterize") passport records and as the "connection" between Brennan and the snooping wasn't a State Department employee, Jerome Corsi's thesis (that Brennan "sanitized" Obama's passport records to cover up the "fact" that he was born in Kenya) is virtually useless.

But let's assume it's true.  It would be illegal, right?  But if that's the case then why would this happen?
Still, the New York Times report indicated then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had spent Friday morning calling all three presidential candidates and that she had told Obama that she was sorry for the violation.

“I told him that I myself would be very disturbed if I learned that somebody had looked into my passport file,” Rice said.
If Corsi is right, then Rice must've been in on it - if only to cover it up. Jerome Corsi - he's got teh crazie.

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