I am happy to report that since I wrote a while ago about the limbo Manny Miranda had been stuck in in the SDNY, his case seems to have finally been resolved, contrary to the report in Schumer kisses Fredo.
September 14, 2004
The Honorable Alberto Gonzales
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Dear Attorney General Gonzales:
I read with interest that the U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts was able to successfully conclude an investigation into the illegal electronic access of hotel heiress Paris Hilton's cell phone. According to a story in today's Washington Post, following an aggressive investigation by the Department of Justice, a teenager confessed to exploiting a security flaw in T-Mobile Corporation's computer server to access Ms. Hilton's and other customers' files. While I appreciate the vigor and diligence with 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. I am referring to the criminal investigation into the theft and use of Democratic computer tiles from the Senate Judiciary Committee computer server which was opened by the Justice Department in April of 2004. The case was referred by the Justice Department to the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York, but to date, it is unclear whether any progress has been made.
A vigorous criminal investigation into the theft and use of these files is warranted. If the U.S. Attorney's office in New York is unable or unwilling to pursue this matter, perhaps the U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts, 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, Mr. Jason Lundell and Mr. Manuel Miranda, stole and used information from internal and confidential Democratic office computer files, including memoranda from counsel to Senators. These staff members knowingly exceeded authorized access and intentionally exploited a security flaw to access materials on government computers they were not entitled to access and thereby obtained information used for their advantage and possibly in violation of other laws. They read, downloaded, printed, and used such files for their own personal and partisan purposes.
While the two Senate employees named in the Sergeant-at-Arms report have since resigned from the Senate due to their involvement in these activities, it is unclear whether or not they continue to use
The Honorable Alberto Gonzales
September 14, 2005
materials obtained illegally for their own purposes. One of these individuals, Mr. Miranda, now heads an organization known as the Third Branch Conference, a coalition of grassroots conservative organizations involved in judicial issues. 1-ic is a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and claims to be an advisor to various Members of Congress on judicial matters. Only a serious investigation can determine whether Mr. Miranda is continuing to use the fruits of his illegal activities to further his career.
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. But repeated attempts to discover the status of the investigation have been unsuccessful. Perhaps the appointment of a new special prosecutor can invigorate this investigation and move it forward in a timely manner that will yield results.
Thank you for your prompt consideration and action in response to this request.
Richard J. Durbin
United States Senate