Government Snoops on Celeb. Passports: Happy Independence Day!

This story from The Washington Post (in block text) is presented with appropriate passages from The Declaration of Independence (italics).  Enjoy.

Government workers repeatedly snooped without authorization inside the electronic passport records of entertainers, athletes and other high-profile Americans, a State Department audit has found. One celebrity’s records were breached 356 times by more than six dozen people.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The audit, by State’s inspector general, was prompted by the discovery in March that three of the department’s contract workers had peeked at the private passport files of Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain and that a State Department trainee had examined the file of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

The report documented a widespread lack of controls on the personal data of the 127 million Americans who hold passports, finding numerous “weaknesses, including a general lack of policies, procedures, guidance and training.” The State Department had maintained that its system worked when the candidates’ passport breaches were discovered.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

The audit also suggests that some workers were motivated by fascination with the private lives of celebrities, none of whom were identified. One employee told investigators he simply liked looking up the records of professional basketball players.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

Investigators found that 20,500 government workers and contractors had access to the electronic system that maintained the records. Most of them worked for the State Department or the Department of Homeland Security.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

Privacy Act violations could result in misdemeanor penalties or fines if workers disclosed personal information to a third party not authorized to receive it.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

Another law, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, could result in criminal penalties for unauthorized access to government computer systems.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

You get the idea.

Happy Independence Day!  Do yourself a favor and read the Declaration of Independence sometime today.

And look forward to a great Indepencence Day on January 20, 2009.