U.S. sailor sought access to Biden’s medical records, Navy says

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

The incident occurred in late February, well before Biden’s halting performance during last month’s presidential debate set off a panic among Democrats, and it was not immediately clear whether the actions were politically motivated.

The sailor, who has not been identified publicly, is assigned to a Navy medical unit located at Fort Belvoir, Va., 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 he ultimately failed to access any records belonging to the president, Hawkins said.

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

The case surfaced because a co-worker reported the sailor for violating medical privacy laws, Hawkins said, noting that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service concluded in April there was a breach, though “the record the sailor accessed was not the electronic record of the president of the United States.” The Navy did not disclose its findings at the time.

The sailor, described only as junior in rank, was punished administratively, said a U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.

The case, first reported by CBS News, emerged days before Biden received a regularly scheduled physical at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. The sailor’s unit in Virginia had a separate mission to train sailors in medicine and has about 400 doctors, nurses and other personnel assigned to it.

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

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

In that case, a junior member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard accessed hundreds of highly classified documents without permission and uploaded images of them online. Jack Teixeira, 22, faces up to 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to willful retention and transmission of national defense information.

Teixeira remains in custody while awaiting sentencing this fall. The Air Force separately has sought to court-martial Teixeira on charges of obstructing justice and failing to obey orders. A commander overseeing the case is expected to disclose his intentions for that case soon.

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