Hatch Staffer Put On Leave for Accessing Democratic Files

Hatch Staffer Put On Leave for Accessing Democratic Files

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(Washington-AP) -- Utah Senator Orrin Hatch says he put one of his staffers on administrative leave for improperly obtaining data from the secure computer networks of two Democratic senators.

Hatch calls it an improper, unethical and simply unacceptable breach of confidentiality.

Hatch launched an investigation after Senators Dick Durbin and Edward Kennedy protested what they said was the theft of memos from their servers.

The memos concerned political strategy on blocking confirmation of several of President Bush's judicial nominations.

The committee's four computer servers were disconnected and daily backup tapes had been given to the U-S Capitol Police. An outside expert will conduct a forensic assessment to determine if there had been unauthorized access to files.

Hatch says an investigation has revealed at least one current staff member had improperly accessed at least some of the documents. He says that unidentified staffer has denied leaking the information to the press.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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