Monday, February 16, 2004

Senate Computer Memo Theft Compared to Watergate

"Republican snooping through Democrats' tactical memos on President Bush's judicial nominees has grown into a full-blown Capitol Hill uproar - with comparisons to Watergate, accusations of court tampering and conservatives attacking senior GOP senators.

Already, two staffers implicated in giving newspapers and conservative groups the memos stored on a shared Judiciary Committee computer server have been forced to leave. Secret Service agents are prowling the Capitol interviewing legislative aides, and some senators are calling for an outside investigation - perhaps by the FBI - and severe punishment if warranted.
'We know that dirty tricks have long been infecting the nation's politics, but they haven't infected the Senate or our committee until now,' said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who with Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., learned that some of his staff memos had been taken off the shared computer.

Kennedy compared it to Watergate.

'In those days, break-ins required a physical presence, burglar's tools, lookouts and getaway cars,' he said Thursday.
'Today, theft may only require a computer and the skills to use it and the will to break in.'

Even some Senate Republicans are calling for heads to roll.
'Somebody needs to be fired,' said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of the newest Judiciary Committee Republicans. 'Somebody in Washington needs to eventually lose their jobs, whether it's on weapons of mass destruction or this type of behavior."

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