Former State Dept. Contractor Pleads Guilty to Unauthorized Computer Access

A former State Department contractor pleaded guilty yesterday to illegally accessing confidential passport application files, according to the Justice Department.

Mark Carter, 51, of Brooklyn, N.Y., pleaded guilty to a one-count criminal information charging him with unauthorized computer access.

According to the plea documents, Carter was a contract hire at the State Department and served as the network administrator in the Eastern District of Virginia. He admitted to logging onto the Passport Information Electronic Records System to peruse the passport applications of approximately 60 celebrities, musicians, actors, members of the business community, colleagues, a professional athlete, members of his family and others.

According to DOJ, these confidential files are protected by the Privacy Act of 1974, and access by State Department employees is strictly limited to official government duties.

Twelve current or former State Department employees or contractors, including Carter, have pleaded guilty in this continuing probe.

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