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Remarks Before Meeting With Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
March 21, 2008

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SECRETARY RICE: Welcome.

MINISTER JOBIM: Thank you.

SECRETARY RICE: Very good to see you.

MINISTER JOBIM: You too.

SECRETARY RICE: Good to have you here in the United States. It was very good to have been in Brazil and I look forward to our conversation.

MINISTER JOBIM: You like Salvador?

SECRETARY RICE: I like Salvador very much. If you will pardon me, though, I'd like to address a local issue for one moment --

MINISTER JOBIM: Okay.

SECRETARY RICE: -- if you would allow me to do that. I'm certain that by now you've all seen the reports of an unauthorized look into the passport file of Senator Obama. We are very concerned about this. It appears on the first examination that indeed the system worked in that there is a flag that goes up if there's any unauthorized look into a file of that kind. We are going to do an investigation through the Inspector General, who will get to the bottom of it and make certain that nothing more was going on. We are in contact with the Senator's office and indeed will provide briefings concerning this incident.

But none of us wants to have a circumstance in which any American's passport file is looked at in an unauthorized way. And in this case, it should have been known to senior management; it was not to my knowledge. And we also want to take every step that we can to make sure that this kind of thing doesn't happen again.

QUESTION: Do you believe any laws were broken, Madame Secretary?

SECRETARY RICE: I can't comment before there is an investigation, but there will be a full investigation.

QUESTION: Do you plan to apologize to the Senator for it, or to express regret for it?

SECRETARY RICE: I have talked to the Senator.

QUESTION: You have? And what did you tell him? Did you say you were sorry it happened?

SECRETARY RICE: I told him that I was sorry and I told him that I, myself, would be very disturbed if I learned that somebody had looked into my passport file. And therefore, I will stay on top of it and get to the bottom of it.

2008/209



Released on March 21, 2008

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