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Durbin writes Justice Department on Hilton, Dem hackings


Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) penned a letter to Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Wednesday asking why the Justice Department was able to successfully prosecute a teenager for hacking into Paris Hilton's cell phone, but has yet to fully investigate two Republican staffers who hacked into the Senate Democratic Judiciary computer system, RAW STORY has learned.

The Massachusetts teenager was sentenced to 11 months in juvenile detention earlier this week for hacking into the hotel heiress' cell phone and other corporate computer systems.

Durbin refers to two Republican Judiciary committee staffers who were caught hacking into confidential memorandums between Democratic Senators and their attorneys in April 2004. The case was referred to the New York Justice Department, but has never come to fruition.


One of the men involved, Manuel Miranda, has now gone on to become the head of a coalition of grassroots conservative organizations involved in judicial issues and is a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. He also claims to advise members of Congress on judicial issues. He and the other Republican staff member, Jason Lundell, were dismissed from their Senate positions when the break-in was discovered.

Excerpts from the Illinois Senator's letter follow.


Dear Attorney General Gonzales,

I read with interest that the U.S. Attorney in Massachussetts was able to successfully conclude investigation into the illegal electronic access into hotel heiress Paris Hilton's cell phone...

While I appreciate the vigor and diligence in which the Justice Department has pursued the high-tech scofflaw plaguing Ms. Hilton, I must say I am less than impressed with the attention shown to a criminal investigation which bears striking similarities to the Hilton case.... Perhaps the U.S. Attorney in MAssachussetts who appears to have some expertise and success in prosecuting such cases would be better suited to handle this investigation.

Based on an April 2004 investigative report prepared by the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, it appears that from some time in 2001 until at least the Spring of 2003, two former Republican staff members, Mister Jason Lundell and Mister Manuel Miranda stole and used information from internal and confidential Democratic office computer files including memoranda from counsel to Senators... They read, downloaded, printed and used such files for their own personal and partisan purposes.

I believe that the unauthorized accessing, reading, downloading, printing and use of these files is every bit as serious as the illegal access to Paris Hilton's cell phone files.

Originally published on Friday September 16, 2005.


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