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Clearly, Not That Safe

Friday, Mar. 21, 2008 3:43 AM

As if the presidential campaign wasn't ugly enough, MSNBC has uncovered three separate breaches (at three separate locations) of both security and privacy as 'contract' employees within the State Department accessed the passport information of Senator Barack Obama, supposedly because they were curious.

Two of the employees have been fired and the third 'disciplined.' My personal feeling is that firing is the least that should happen; they should also lose any security clearances they hold, and be permanently banned from further government service, contract or not.

Poking around through passport data is something the first Bush Administration did during the 1992 campaign, ostensibly to dig up dirt on Bill Clinton and family members. However, the State Department official in charge of the Bureau of Consular Affairs during two of the current breaches was a Clinton ambassadorial appointee.

That doesn't absolve the Bush Administration of wrongdoing, as word of the breaches was not passed on to superiors, but instead reached them by way of a reporter's question. I can't wait to hear Condi Rice say, "I don't think anyone knew ..." again.

Beyond the invasion of privacy issue, this is crappy security. We have a president who is constantly warning us of the dangers posed by terrorists, that they want to come here and attack America, and we can't safeguard a citizen's passport data???

A photo showing Reverend Jeremiah Wright with President Bill Clinton has made its way onto the internet. It is apparently from a White House event with American religious leaders - at which Clinton told the assembled clerics that he had 'repented' over his tryst with Monica Lewinsky. And Hillary's schedule indicates she was also present at the event.

The Clinton campaign dismissed the photo, claiming that President Clinton took thousands of photos during his time in office. (The same excuse was trotted out by the Bush Administration when they tried to disavow any connection with lobbyist Jack Abramoff.)

It seems that regardless of whether Barack Obama wins or loses the presidency, conservatives think it's bad ... but not because of his policies or plans. No, Rep. Steve King thinks that if Obama wins, al-Qaeda will be 'dancing in the street' because they respond to the name 'Hussein' like the old Frau Blucher joke from Young Frankenstein. And FOX News radio commentator Tom Sullivan believes that if Obama loses, blacks will riot like they did after the Rodney King verdict.

In the wake of a Michigan woman's death after being stung by a stingray that leapt out of the water and onto the boat she was on, political 'expert' Joe Klein decided he had the perfect metaphor for Barack Obama's recent troubles on the campaign trail:

"I think maybe the operative metaphor here isn't drowning but the giant sting ray landing in Obama's boat," Klein laughed.

Klein's on-air colleagues at CNN weren't amused.

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