Don’t Tell Me – Another "Idle Curiosity" Case

Our computers IIImage by aranarth via Flickr

Yesterday, DOJ announced yet another guilty plea on the passport snooping case. This is the 8th person to plead guilty to illegally accessing passport files. How many more are coming down this way?

An eighth individual pleaded guilty today to illegally accessing numerous confidential passport application files. Susan Holloman, 58, of Washington, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay in the District of Columbia to a one-count criminal information charging her with unauthorized computer access. Holloman is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 21, 2010.

According to court documents, Holloman has worked full-time for the State Department since November 1980 as a file assistant in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. In pleading guilty, Holloman admitted that she had access to official State Department computer databases in the regular course of her job, including the Passport Information Electronic Records System (PIERS), which contains all imaged passport applications dating back to 1994. The imaged passport applications on PIERS contain, among other things, a photograph of the passport applicant as well as certain personal information including the applicant’s full name, date and place of birth, current address, telephone numbers, parent information, spouse’s name and emergency contact information. These confidential files are protected by the Privacy Act of 1974, and access by State Department employees is strictly limited to official government duties.

Holloman admitted that between Feb. 13 and Dec. 5, 2007, she logged onto the PIERS database and repeatedly searched for and viewed the passport applications of 70 celebrities and their families, actors, professional athletes, musicians and other individuals identified in the press. Holloman admitted that she had no official government reason to access and view these passport applications, but that her sole purpose in accessing and viewing these passport applications was idle curiosity.

Holloman is the eighth current or former State Department employee or contractor to plead guilty in this continuing investigation.

Read the whole thing here.