CNN: Telco sacks workers who snooped Obama's mobile phone

'Would not disagree with the story,' says spokesman

Verizon Wireless has fired an undisclosed number of employees who snooped into the mobile phone records of President-elect Barack Obama earlier this year, according to a report by the cable news channel CNN.

Verizon declined to answer questions Monday, but a company spokesman said he "would not disagree with the CNN story."

Friday, CNN quoted a source within Verizon who said that several workers had been fired for looking at call records on an Obama mobile phone that had been inactive for months. No text messages, if Obama had sent or received them, could have been read by the employees, the source told CNN. They also would not have been able to access any voice mails, although they would have been able to see whether any had been left for Obama.

"This was some employees' idle curiosity," the source told CNN.

Last Thursday, Verizon acknowledged that the president-elect's phone records had been viewed by personnel not authorized to access them, and said it had put some workers on paid leave pending an investigation and would take additional action if necessary.

"As the circumstances of each individual employee's access to the account are determined, the company will take appropriate actions," the company said in a statement issued last week. "Employees with legitimate business needs for access will be returned to their positions, while employees who have accessed the account improperly and without legitimate business justification will face appropriate disciplinary action."

Verizon also apologized to Obama for the breach.

The news last week followed speculation that Obama will have to surrender his BlackBerry over concerns about security risks and compliance with federal laws, particularly the 1978 Presidential Records Act, which requires all communications to be archived.

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Gregg Keizer

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