GOP staffers spy on Dems, steal files


Geraldine Sealey
January 23, 2004 12:42AM (UTC)

The Boston Globe had this doozy today about GOP staffers on the Senate Judiciary Commitee breaking into Democrats' computers, stealing files and handing over secret strategy memos to journalists -- including GOP leak-magnet Robert Novak.

You read that right.

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The Senate sergeant-at-arms has interviewed about 120 people to date and seized more than half a dozen computers -- including four Judiciary servers, one server from the office of Senate majority leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, and several desktop hard drives, the Globe says.

"From the spring of 2002 until at least April 2003, members of the GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them to access restricted Democratic communications without a password. Trolling through hundreds of memos, they were able to read talking points and accounts of private meetings discussing which judicial nominees Democrats would fight -- and with what tactics.

More: "Democrats now claim their private memos formed the basis for a February 2003 column by conservative pundit Robert Novak that revealed plans pushed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, to filibuster certain judicial nominees. Novak is also at the center of an investigation into who leaked the identity of a CIA agent whose husband contradicted a Bush administration claim about Iraqi nuclear programs. Citing 'internal Senate sources,' Novak's column described closed-door Democratic meetings about how to handle nominees."

"They're welcome to think anything they want," Novak said. "As has been demonstrated, I don't reveal my sources."


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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