The State Department is giving law enforcement and intelligence agencies unrestricted access to the personal data of more than 145 million Americans through information from passport applications.

Iran PressAmerica: The information was uncovered by Sen. Ron Wyden during his ongoing probe into reporting by Yahoo News about Operation Whistle Pig, a wide-ranging leak investigation launched by a Border Patrol agent and his supervisors at the US Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center.

On Wednesday, Wyden sent a letter to Blinken requesting detailed information on which federal agencies are provided access to State Department passport information on US citizens.

“​​I write to express serious concern that the Department of State is providing law enforcement and intelligence agencies with unfettered access to personal data, originally collected through passport applications, of the more than 145 million Americans with a passport,” states the letter sent to Blinken.

Wyden, D-Ore., wrote that “the breadth of this access highlights the potential for other abuses. In a July 13, 2022, briefing for my office, State Department officials confirmed that 25 other federal agencies have access to the Department’s database of passport applications.”

Wyden is asking the State Department to come up with plans to make sure law enforcement use of passport data is for legitimate purposes and is consistent with privacy protections commonly used elsewhere in the government.

According to documents posted on a Department of Homeland Security website, data collected on U.S. citizens include names, addresses, birth dates, biometric data like fingerprints and facial images, email addresses, phone numbers, gender, race, Social Security numbers, and other types of personal information.

It is unclear if the 25 law enforcement and intelligence agencies have different levels of access or how many people at these agencies have access to the full data set. In a meeting with Wyden in May, the State Department said they would be unable to break down the numbers by agency, only State Department and non-State Department, according to the letter.

The revelations come amid several probes from Wyden’s office stemming from allegations that a border patrol agent misused government databases to pursue a rogue leak investigation into a reporter and her relationship with a congressional staffer. The DHS Office of Inspector General launched a probe into these allegations and the work of the Border Patrol agent’s supervisor and co-worker at CBP’s National Targeting Center, which was established after 9/11 to help identify and thwart threats coming from overseas.