State Department Employee Pleads Guilty to Illegally Accessing Passport Application Files

Brooke E. Reyna, a State Department employee, pleaded guilty on November 5 to giving false statements to officials in connection with an investigation that she was allegedly illegally accessing passport application files. Reyna was an employee at the National Passport Center in Portsmouth, NH where she had access to the State Department’s database which included the Passport Information Electronic Record System (PIERS) that contains passport photos all the way back to 1994. In addition to the photos, PIERS also contains personal information like the applicants name, birth place and date, address, phone numbers, spouse/family information as well as contact information. All of this information is protected under the Privacy Act of 1974 and access is limited to official use only. Between May 2004 and February 2008, Reyna admitted to logging on the PIERS database to look up the passport information for over 500 different celebrities, actors, musicians, models, athletes, and members of these individuals’ families for pure curiosity; she wasn’t carrying out any official business for the State Department. When originally questioned about her activities, Reyna denied the accusations but soon plead guilty to the charges and 9 other State Department employees/contractors have been found guilty as a result of the investigation.