State Department official Debra Sue Brown pleaded guilty to illegally accessing confidential passport application files, the Justice Department announced Friday.
Between 2005 and 2008, Brown repeatedly logged into the department’s Passport Information Electronic Records System (PIERS) to view passport information for more than 60 celebrities and their families, professional athletes, musicians, comedians and other people who were in the news, the DOJ said. She also viewed information on personal friends and acquaintances. Brown admitted her motivation was “idle curiosity,” the DOJ said.
Brown is the ninth current or former State Department employee or contractor to plead guilty to illegally accessing files in the department’s Passport Information Electronic Records System (PIERS). She is scheduled to be sentenced on Mar. 23, 2010.
Of the eight individuals who have already pleaded guilty to unlawfully accessing passport files, five have been sentenced. All received 12 months probation and either community service of 50 or 100 hours or pay a $5,000 fine.
The cases are being prosecuted by Armando O. Bonilla of the public integrity section of the criminal division at DOJ.