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Beauprez Campaign Under Investigation for Hacking FBI Criminal Records Database

Holy, Moly. The Colorado governor's race just went into overdrive. Congressman Bob Beauprez who is running on the Republican side has been running an attack ad on Democrat and former District Attorney Bill Ritter for plea deals made while in office that allowed some defendants to avoid deportation. (I've been a big Bill Ritter fan for years.) Ritter now says,

Beauprez is running an ad that accuses Ritter of plea bargaining to probation illegal immigrant and accused heroin dealer Carlos Estrada Medina. Medina, the ad says, was later arrested for the sexual abuse of a child. However, Medina's name does not show up on court files in either Denver or California - where Beauprez's campaign says he was charged. Beauprez's campaign contends that Medina used aliases in both cases.

Ritter said Beauprez used non-public law enforcement identification numbers to make the link between the aliases and Medina. He has asked the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to investigate the charge. (my emphasis.)

Beauprez responds he used an informant to get the information and did no wrong.

"We had an informant who followed the rules. But what (Ritter) hasn't done is say that he disputes that this is the same guy. This is the same guy ... I don't understand all the numbers but as I understand it, the numbers line up. It is a match. This is the same guy you put out on the streets again who later sexually assaulted a child," Beauprez said.

....After the debate, Beauprez's campaign manager, John Marshall, said he would not publicly provide information because it would compromise a confidential source.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation says it will investigate the incident.

The probe will start with an audit of who accessed the system and what they requested. "Potential misuse of the information database is taken very seriously and we pursue all requests to investigate," Clem said.

More here, from the Rocky Mountain News.

CBI guards the security of the highly restricted FBI database also used by state and local police agencies. Clem said police officers have lost their jobs for abusing database access and a law enforcement agency that fails to safeguard NCIC could be barred from using it.

"These kinds of allegations are looked at very seriously, because the integrity of that (NCIC) system is very important to CBI," Clem said referring to Ritter's allegation.

Here are the statutes, according to the Rocky:

Federal statutes:

  • It's a crime to intentionally access a federal computer without authorization or to exceed authorized access. Penalty: First offenses are punishable by one year in prison and fines.
  • Knowingly conveying or receiving federal records. Maximum penalty: 10 years in prison and fines.
  • Conspiracy to defraud the United States. Maximum Penalty: Five years in prison.

State statutes:

  • Public officials can be charged with official misconduct for using their authority to maliciously harm someone or violate state law. Penalty: 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • Embezzlement of government property by public servant. Penalty: Three years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Colorado blogs are on the story as well. Square State; JB Holston.

This could get very big, stay tuned.

[Cross-posted at 5280.com]

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  • Re: Beauprez Campaign Under Investigation for Hack (none / 0) (#1)
    by Ralphie on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 05:18:41 PM EST
    Jeezus, Jeralyn. A defense attorney supporting Ritter? That's the kiss of death. Expect that to appear in a Trailhead anti-Ritter ad no later than Monday. And why not? They have nothing else going for them.

    Ralphie, you're probably right. But Ritter didn't shun my support (and thanked me for it) when he ran for D.A. Of course, he did run unopposed, so there was no downside. Anyway, I like him and he was a fair D.A. and ran the office well. I doubt I'll convince any Republicans, but I might convince some Democrats who are thinking of not voting this year. There's a real choice in this race and while Ritter is way ahead in the polls, he can't take anything for granted. Especially with the tripe that the Beauprez supporters are running in their Trailheads ads.

    Re: Beauprez Campaign Under Investigation for Hack (none / 0) (#3)
    by Ralphie on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 05:32:04 PM EST
    I don't know too many Dems who are planning to stay home, at least in Mesa County where we need all of them to vote. As you know, there are enough important issues on this year's ballot to keep even the most jaded politicos interested. Ritter will win going away. Just go to Beauprez' web site. It's all negative. Beauprez has nothing good to say about himself. Not a single reason to vote for him over Ritter, even from the Beauprez campaign itself.

    An FBI database was compromised? So which Republican operative in Alberto Gonzales'/Karl Rove's Justice Department leaked this highly-classified information in an attempt to game an election? Was it Alberto Gonzales himself who approved this gross misuse of a highly-classified FBI database? I see a parallel. The Bush administration leaked highly-classfied information to reporters about covert CIA agent Valerie Plame, thus compromising our national security and endangering the lives of all U.S. citizens. (Valerie Plame was an anti-proliferation expert on WMD issues). And now we learn that these same Republican scoundrels have leaked information from a super-secret FBI database...for purely political purposes. When will American citizens awaken to how much danger the Bush administration and all Republicans have put their children in through outright and outrageous flaunting of our democratic nation's laws?

    Re: Beauprez Campaign Under Investigation for Hack (none / 0) (#5)
    by cpinva on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 08:42:46 AM EST
    wouldn't knowing receiving classified info, that could only have been accessed illegally, be considered a crime? sort of like knowingly receiving stolen personal property? if so, wouldn't this guy beuaprez be kind of in hot water, since, given the nature of the office he's running for, it seems he would kind of have to know that the data was wrongly gathered? just curious.

    Re: Beauprez Campaign Under Investigation for Hack (none / 0) (#6)
    by scribe on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 08:42:46 AM EST
    Aren't these machinations with government databases - to intimidate, defame and otherwise trash the selected opponents of the pols in power, one of the threats people warned about when government first proposed to establish them? And, isn't the possibility of these sorts of machinations one of the policy reasons given in arguments against Bushco's NSA domestic spying program? Y'know, Repugs have been saying "trust me/us, I'm/we're trustworthy" and getting away with it for entirely too long. Everyone seems to forget that the fundamental principle underlying the whole Constitutional structure is mistrust of people when they have power. Every power is subject to a check and balance not controlled by the person delegated the power. Or, so it used to be. Beauprez' and his folks' behavior in this (and I, for one, don't believe for a minute their protestations of innocence and ignorance) is exactly the kind of misconduct which should lose them this election, and all future elections they may try to enter. IMHO, it should land all of them in prison, too.

    This kind of crap makes me glad I'm only distantly related to Beauprez. And I don't live in Colorado anymore. I'd be ashame to vote for such an ignorant thug.

    If the Beauprez campaign can find and pray a private investigator or a corrupt police officer a few bucks and this guy hacks into and gains unauthorized access into FBI data, how can we believe that Diebold voting machines are safe from tampering and reliable?

    Re: Beauprez Campaign Under Investigation for Hack (none / 0) (#10)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 11:02:44 AM EST
    cpinva writes:
    wouldn't knowing receiving classified info, that could only have been accessed illegally, be considered a crime? sort of like knowingly receiving stolen personal property?
    Why don't you ask the New York Times? There, you know, good leaks and bad leaks.

    Wouldn't television stations be legally held accountable too?

    Re: Beauprez Campaign Under Investigation for Hack (none / 0) (#12)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 02:38:47 PM EST
    DA - Glad to see that you are almost catching on. And let me ask you this, oh great believer in the rules... If something is wrong, isn't it wrong? If a crime is not prosecuted, isn't it still a crime? Ta Ta!

    Re: Beauprez Campaign Under Investigation for Hack (none / 0) (#14)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 06:46:05 PM EST
    TLV - On one hand we have a possible criminal act that may, or may not have damaged a Demo politican runnuing for office.

    One the other, we have criminal acts that have damaged our ability to defend ourselves;

    So the Left condemns the first and applauds the second.

    No surprise there.

    Re: Beauprez Campaign Under Investigation for Hack (none / 0) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 06:58:03 PM EST
    et al - On one hand we have a possible criminal act that may damaged the election of a Demo.

    On the other hand we have criminal acts that have damaged our national defense.

    Guess which one the Left is condemning???