The Waxman Takes Action in Obama-State Dept. Flap

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Three State Department contractors have been punished for improperly accessing Barack Obama’s passport and other files in what State is calling acts of “imprudent curiosity.” Congressman/bulldog Henry Waxman wants to make sure there isn’t something more sinister going on. He wants to know exactly who these contractors were working for. Here’s his letter to Secretary Rice:

Dear Madam Secretary:

Yesterday, Ambassador Patrick Kennedy, the Under Secretary of State for Management, confirmed that three contract employees working for two State Department contractors gained unauthorized access to the passport records of Senator Barack Obama. When Ambassador Kennedy was asked for the identities of the contract employees and the companies, however, he declined to provide them:

Question: Are you releasing the names of any of these three contractors or the companies for which they were contracting on behalf of the State Department?

Ambassador Kennedy: In a word, no.

I am writing to request that you provide the Oversight Committee by Monday with the identities of the companies involved in these breaches. I also believe this information should be made publicly available.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the principal oversight committee in the House of Representatives and has broad oversight jurisdiction as set forth in House Rule X.

Sincerely,

Henry A. Waxman, Chairman

Could this be part of “Blackwater’s World of Warcraft”? If anyone in Congress is going to find out, it’s Waxman. The State Department doesn’t seem interested in pushing this further, and the FBI and Justice Department have yet to get involved.

(If it’s not clear, we here at MoJo’s DC office think Henry Waxman is secretly a diminutive but powerful superhero. By day, Waxman ends corruption and graft through his work on the Oversight Committee. By night, he keeps the nation’s capital city safe from common criminals. He is Waxman. Let’s get dangerous.)

Update: Looks like Hillary Clinton and John McCain’s files were also improperly accessed.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate