Report on Senate file theft not released

March 4, 2004 at 6:58 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 4 (UPI) -- U.S. Senators met privately Thursday to review a report on the theft of Democratic e-mails about President Bush's judicial nominations by Republican staff.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, refused to provide details about Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William Pickle's investigation into the matter before closing the hearing to the public.

He blamed "two misguided former Senate staffers" for the thefts of the files from a faulty computer system that reportedly allowed any member of the Judiciary committee access to other's private files.

Both parties have made an attempt to make issue of the thefts with Democrats saying laws were broken and Republicans saying the emails about internal party strategy were proof of the minority party's political motivation in opposing a number of Bush's more controversial judicial nominees.

In addition to the thousands of documents that Democrats have accused GOP staff of accessing, Hatch indicated more than 100 of his own personal files were also improperly accessed and distributed.

It remained unclear when or if the report would be released publicly.

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