A third former State Department employee was sentenced today after pleading guilty illegally peeking at passport files belonging to friends, neighbors and assorted celebrities, the Justice Department announced.
Gerald Lueders, a 65-year-old former foreign service officer, received a year of probation and a $5,000 fine for allegedly checking out more than 50 off-limits passport applications, which contain personal information such as photographs, telephone numbers, current addresses and emergency contact information. Lueders accessed the files between July 2005 and February 2008, while he was working as a watch officer at the Office of Counselor Affairs.
Lueders’ punishment, handed down by Magistrate Jude Alan Kay at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, stacks up fairly evenly with those of the other two men who have pleaded guilty to similar snooping. He is, however, the first one to have to shell out for a fine.
State Department intelligence analyst Lawrence Yontz, who pleaded guilty to accessing more than 200 of the confidential files, was sentenced in December to a year’s probation and 50 hours of community service. In March, Dwayne Cross, an administrative assistant-turned contractor, received a year’s probation and 100 hours of community service for looking at more than 150 files.