The State Department issued passports to at least 4,500 registered sex offenders, including 30 federal employees, according to a report released by the investigative arm of Congress.
The State Department balked at the presentation of the study, released on Wednesday by the Governmental Accountability Office (GAO), saying that it was “misleading” and “that it conveys more ‘shock value’ than factual accuracy,” according to a letter to the GAO responding to a draft copy of the report.
The State Department said that the 4,500 passports issued to sex offenders amounted to “less than 0.0003 percent” of the total 16 million passports it gave to U.S. citizens in 2008.
The study, requested by Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.), stipulates that the State Department does not have the authority to deny passports to the majority of sex offenders.
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