Navy sailors wanted access to Biden medical records, military says

A U.S. sailor has been disciplined by the Navy for unsuccessfully attempting to access President Biden’s medical records without authorization, officials said Tuesday, amid ongoing investigations into the president’s health and fitness for office.

The incident occurred in late February, well before Biden’s faltering performance at last month’s presidential debate sparked panic among Democrats. It was not immediately clear whether the actions were politically motivated.

The sailor, who has not been publicly identified, is assigned to a Navy medical unit at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, outside Washington, Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, a Navy spokesman, said in a statement. The sailor accessed the military’s digital patient portal and searched for Biden’s name “out of curiosity,” but was ultimately unable to access any of the president’s documents, Hawkins said.

“At no time was the president’s personal information compromised,” he added.

The case came to light because a colleague reported the sailor for violating medical privacy laws, Hawkins said, noting that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service concluded in April that there had been a breach, even though “the file the sailor had access to was not the electronic file of the president of the United States.” The Navy did not release its findings at the time.

The sailor, who was described as only junior in rank, was given administrative punishment, said a U.S. defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The case, first reported by CBS News, came to light days before Biden underwent a routine medical examination at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. The sailors’ unit in Virginia had a separate mission to train sailors in medicine and has about 400 doctors, nurses and other staff assigned to it.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters that the White House and senior Defense Department officials were briefed on the situation in February.

The Navy’s disclosure of the incident comes more than a year after news broke of another high-profile data security issue involving the military.

In that case, a junior member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard accessed hundreds of top-secret documents without authorization and posted images of them online. Jack Teixeira, 22, faces up to 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to willfully retaining and transmitting national defense information.

Teixeira remains in custody as he awaits sentencing this fall. The Air Force has separately sought to have Teixeira court-martialed on charges of obstruction of justice and failure to obey orders. A commander overseeing the case is expected to announce his intentions for that case soon.

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