The State Department inspector general has issued a management alert about the department’s failure to assure that official and diplomatic passports are canceled when an employee leaves the department.
It said that during an audit of diplomatic passport records, the IG was alerted that one former employee’s passport had not been canceled and decided to examine the issue more broadly. In a sample of 134 employees among the 4,700 who separated while holding one of those passports over three years ending last September, it found that 57 had not been cancelled after the employee separated and
Of those, 47 had not expired as of February 1, meaning they could still be valid. In one case, the passport was not scheduled to expire until four years after the employee left the department.
Said the report, “Department bureaus and offices did not always maintain proper accountability of passports and could not confirm whether separating employees had surrendered their passports for cancellation. When an employee’s entitlement to an official or diplomatic passport ends, but the passport is not surrendered or cancelled, the individual could misuse the passport, such as misrepresenting themselves as a representative of the U.S. government. Doing so is a criminal offense.”
It said the department concurred with its recommendations to tighten controls over the passports.