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Acting Inspector General William E. Todd and the chief IG branch investigator, James B. Burch, a former U.S. Secret Service agent, are leading the passport probe, which began Thursday. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said his department was no reason yet to investigate.

Miss Rice and Mr. Kennedy did not learn of the breaches of Mr. Obama’s personal data until The Times e-mailed questions about the security breaches on Thursday.

“As soon as we realized that there were these unauthorized accesses for Senator Obama’s passport files, we collected the information, we briefed the secretary, we briefed Senator Obama’s staff, all before we ever replied to the reporter,” Mr. McCormack said.

“Then we replied to the reporter, and then we all talked to the rest of you as the questions came in,” he said.

Jerry Seper contributed to this report.