Roger L. Simon

The Big Passport Flap - What I'd Like to Know

At first glance, the current passport flap based on the revelation that all three major candidates’ passport files have broken into by some “imprudently curious” folks caused me to ask the obvious: What’s in a passport file anyway? As someone whose had a passport for over fifty years, I’m embarrassed to say I’m not sure, beyond the obvious, that is: normal identification and proof of citizenship (basically public information), some record of where you’ve been (passport stamps have been generally replaced by a magnetic swipe at the border) even though many countries don’t bother, maybe something on some of the visas you have (for me, most recently, I have a rather pompous document from the Russian Republic attached to my passport, though I doubt the Russians told the US. They were more concerned I pay a fee.). That’s about it. Unless the candidates have been sneaking in and out of the country without our knowing for nefarious purposes, there’s not a helluva lot of there there. And even if they’ve gone places they’re not supposed to, chances are they didn’t have their passport stamped or swiped. [Were you in Communist Cuba for the First Festival of the New Latin American Cinema in 1979?-ed. Don’t ask, don’t tell… but you can read about it in my forthcoming book. And, no, I didn’t get my passport stamped. I flew illegally out of Miami.]

So what is this all about? I’m curious. I’m also curious why the first revelation was about the supposed breach of Obama’s information, then suddenly it was revealed that Clinton and McCain had snoopers too. What’s it all about, Alfie? (other than campaign filler)

BTW, from the Passport Agency’s website,this is the info required for a passport.

1. Your full name at birth and any subsequent name changes and/or the full name of your minor child or children, if you are requesting their records;
2. Your date and place of birth and/or those of your minor child or children;
3. Your current mailing address;
4. Your current daytime telephone number;
5. Your current e-mail address, if available;
6. Your reason for the request;
7. The dates or estimated dates your passports were issued;
8. Your passport numbers or any other information that will help us locate your records; and
9. A copy of requestor’s valid photo identification

There is some stuff in there about addresses and phones I wouldn’t like gvien out. But I suspect for senators that most of it goes back to their offices – again…. public record info.