State Department Confirms Tarrant County Passport Investigation

Agency mum on why it ordered county to close passport offices.

The U.S. Department of State on Wednesday confirmed it is investigating Tarrant County’s passport office and had ordered the county to stop taking passport applications but would say little else.

“We can confirm that all passport acceptance facilities in Tarrant County, Texas, have temporarily suspended accepting U.S. passport applications,” a State Department spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. “As a review is ongoing, we cannot comment on further details.”

NBC DFW was first to report on Tuesday that the operation was shut down.

A person close to the case said investigators were looking into whether clerks violated important procedures and processed passports for people using fraudulent documents.

Tarrant County District Clerk Tom Wilder said he received a State Department letter on June 25 ordering the county to close its seven passport offices. He said he had no idea why.

On Wednesday, Wilder said he had no new information.

NBC DFW filed an open records request for the State Department letter. Tarrant County has 10 days to make the document public or appeal the request to the Attorney General, according to the state’s open records law.

Also on Wednesday, a spokesman for Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, said the congresswoman was following the investigation but was not getting involved.

People in Tarrant County can still go to certain post offices or to surrounding counties to process passport applications.

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