It could have been a case of curiosity or it could have been an effort to dig up dirt. Either way, nine people are facing up to a year in jail after being indicted on Wednesday on federal charges of trying to access President Barack Obama’s student loan records while employed at a Department of Education contractor in Iowa.
According to the AP:
All nine are charged with exceeding authorized computer access. They are accused of gaining access to a computer at a Coralville office where they worked between July 2007 and March 2009, and accessing Obama’s student loan records while he was either a candidate for president, president-elect or president. Each of eight indictments posted by Wednesday night were brief, saying the charged individual “intentionally exceeded authorized access to a computer and thereby obtained information from a department and agency of the United States” and “intentionally accessed student loan records” of Obama without authorization.
Six of the defendants allegedly accessed the records while Obama was a candidate and one is accused of accessing the records while he was president.
If this was a case of looking up dirt then the suspects deserve to be punished to the fullest.Just because you are a public figure does not mean that your private information should not be guarded. There are people out there looking for information about public figures and celebrities to sell to the tabloids for profit or to smear them for revenge or political purposes.
Just look at the case of Farah Fawcett. Every time she went to UCLA Medical Center while battling cancer, it would get leaked to the tabloids. She suspected someone at the hospital was responsible and set a trap. She told no one but her doctor about an upcoming visit for a reoccurence of cancer. Within a few days, the tabloids had the news of her cancer. A hospital worker had been paid $4,600 by the National Enquirer. That worker pled guilty to unlawfully accessing Fawcett’s records, but she died of cancer before sentencing.
“It seems that there are areas that should be off-limits,” Fawcett said before her death.
Recently, operatives are said to be seeking information about whether president Obama had an affair. They reportedly have offered over $1 million for proof of an affair. It is a clear attempt by the right to smear the President after other crazy attempts, such as the birther movement, have failed.
If this was a case of curiosity, it still smacks of unprofessionalism. Why risk your job or career to look at how much student loans the President owes? He wasn’t rich but attended Harvard and Columbia. He probably owed Sallie Mae and other lenders tens of thousands of dollars like many people who pursue higher education at expensive schools (That’s why student loan reform was necessary). In case you do want a peak inside the President’s financial affairs, he and First Lady Michelle Obama release their tax returns every year.
Now, these individuals are facing a year in jail and up to a $100,000 fine. Hope it was worth it.