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Ex-State Department worker sentenced for passport snooping

  • Story Highlights
  • Former State Department worker admits he looked at passport files of celebrities
  • Gerald Lueders says he committed the criminal snooping out of "idle curiosity"
  • He snooped on dozens of people, including politicians, actors, musicians, athletes
  • Lueders, 65, sentenced to one year of probation and $5,000 fine
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A third former State Department employee was sentenced and fined Wednesday for illegally looking at confidential passport applications, the Department of Justice announced.

Gerald R. Lueders, 65, of Woodbridge, Virginia, pleaded guilty in January to one count of unauthorized computer access, according to a statement from Lanny A. Breuer, the District of Columbia assistant attorney general.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay sentenced Lueders to one year of probation and fined him $5,000, the statement said.

The investigation was triggered in March 2008, when the State Department acknowledged the files of senators and presidential candidates Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain had been improperly accessed.

The files contain passport applications, extensive private personal data, and other records with biographical information.

Lueders, who worked at the State Department for more than 30 years, admitted to viewing the passport applications of more than 50 celebrities, actors, politicians, musicians, athletes, family members and others, according to Breuer's statement.

Lueders said he committed the criminal snooping out of "idle curiosity," the statement said.

Two other State Department workers fired over the snooping were previously sentenced.

Dwayne Cross, 41, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, received a year of probation and an order to perform 100 hours of community service, while former foreign service officer and intelligence analyst Lawrence Yontz was sentenced to one year of probation.

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