The government of Australia accidentally disclosed personal information about President Obama and 30 other world leaders who traveled there last fall for a summit meeting, according to a report on Monday in The Guardian.
A document obtained by the British news organization shows that an official in the Australian immigration department mistakenly sent the information, which included passport numbers, in an email to an employee of an international sports committee. The email was quickly deleted, the document said.
A White House official said he could not confirm the security breach, which was reported to have occurred before the Group of 20 summit meeting last November in Brisbane. “We are looking into the incident, and we will take follow-up action to ensure the president’s privacy and security as appropriate,” said Patrick Ventrell, a spokesman for the National Security Council.
The immigration agency said in a statement that the breach was immediately referred to government authorities. “The data was immediately deleted by the recipient and was not distributed further,” the statement said. “The department has reviewed and strengthened its email protocols to limit and contain future breaches.”
In addition to Mr. Obama, the leaders whose information was disclosed included David Cameron of Britain, Xi Jinping of China, Angela Merkel of Germany, Narendra Modi of India, Shinzo Abe of Japan and Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. Australia did not inform the leaders, The Guardian reported.
The personal information included the leaders’ names, dates of birth, titles, positions, nationalities, passport numbers, visa grant numbers and visa subclass, according to an Australian government document detailing the episode and obtained by The Guardian. Most of that information is publicly available. The White House would not say whether it had changed the president’s passport number as a result of the breach, or if it would.
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SOURCE: NY Times