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When it was revealed two weeks ago that State Department contractors had eyeballed the passport files of Sens. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain, you may have wondered what all the fuss was about. Then, last week, police arrested Lieutenant Quarles Harris Jr. (yes, “Lieutenant” is his first name) during a routine stop in Southwest D.C. After smelling marijuana, police searched Harris’ car and found 21 credit cards, none of which bore his name, and eight passport application printouts, according to an affidavit filed last week in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. During questioning by agents of the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Service, and the State Department, Harris described an elaborate fraud scheme. A State Department employee would feed him copies of passport applications, which he used to apply for credit cards. Another associate at the U.S. Postal Service would intercept the new credit cards before they were mailed out. Four names on the passport applications in Harris’ car matched names on four of the credit cards, the affidavit says. Harris was charged with fraud involving access devices and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. The alleged conspirators have not been charged. Prosecutors say the investigation is ongoing.
Joe Palazzolo can be contacted at [email protected].

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