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Passport row: Rice apologises to Obama

"I told him that I was sorry. And I told him that I myself would be very disturbed if I learned somebody looked into my passport file," says Rice.

world Updated: Mar 22, 2008 00:36 IST

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday said she has apologised to presidential hopeful Barack Obama after employees improperly viewed his passport file and stressed that a probe had been launched.

"I told him that I was sorry. And I told him that I myself would be very disturbed if I learned somebody looked into my passport file," Rice told reporters when asked if she had talked to Obama about the incident.

"Therefore I will stay on top of it," Rice said as she sat down for talks with Nelson Jobim, Brazil's minister of defence who was visiting Washington. She did not say when she called Obama.

The US presidential campaign drowned out internatinal diplomacy at the State Department which late on Thursday announced that two contractors were dismissed and a third disciplined over the unauthorised access to Obama's passport.

State Department spokesmen declined to give details about the type of information accessed or the identities or political affiliations of the employees who gained access.