Republican Staffers Steal Democrats’ Files, Blame Victims

This one is pretty sweet: Infiltration of files seen as extensive. Seems that the ongoing investigation into how some confidential Democratic strategy memos turned up in the hands of Republican congressmen and conservative media mouthpieces has uncovered lots of wrongdoing:

Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Commitee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media, Senate officials told The Globe.

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.

I especially like this part, near the end:

[Republican staffer Manuel Miranda] also argued that the only wrongdoing was on the part of the Democrats — both for the content of their memos, and for their negligence in placing them where they could be seen.

“There appears to have been no hacking, no stealing, and no violation of any Senate rule,” Miranda said. “Stealing assumes a property right and there is no property right to a government document. . . . These documents are not covered under the Senate disclosure rule because they are not official business and, to the extent they were disclosed, they were disclosed inadvertently by negligent [Democratic] staff.”

This reminds me of nothing so much as the 2000 Florida recount, when Gore’s people came in with an attitude of, “Whoa; let’s slow down here. We’ve gotta handle this in a way that produces a fair outcome while preserving the principles of our democracy.” Meanwhile, Bush’s people were going balls-to-the-wall with anything they could think of to get their guy a win, democracy be damned.

Yeah, I realize that restraining yourself in the face of an opponent who isn’t willing to play fair is a sucker’s game. We’ve certainly seen that in the media, where we have a more-or-less professional batch of folks who seek to minimize bias on one “side” (really, more in the middle, by design), countered by the over-the-top partisans of the right-wing echo chamber.

I don’t want to be a sucker. But I’m a human being, and I want to live a decent life. Sometimes it’s better to play by the rules, even when the other side isn’t. Sometimes it’s better to risk losing than it is to improve your chances by compromising your principles.

I think this is one of those times.

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