Non-Juan reports on the Senate Judiciary memos imbroglio. Non-Juan reports Ira Winkler's take on matters. Winkler's views may be summed up (I hope fairly) as: There is nothing here because there was no security. (You should go to Volokh for more details.) In a lovely analogy, Winkler says "What happened in the Senate Judiciary Committee was the electronic equivalent of leaving the files in the Capitol rotunda." Unfortunately, not quite.
So far, the evidence suggests that the Democrats did not know the files were open. They thought the files were in a locked cabinet, so to speak. Turns out they were wrong, and it may well be that they were negligent for so thinking. But it was not like leaving files in the Rotunda. (POsting them is like leaving them in the Rotunda.)
There is a persistent error here - that the world of data has no relation to the rest of the world. Because something is not locked does not mean that it is free for the taking. What Miranda did is like entering a house that is unlocked and taking files lying on a table in the house.
It will be a great help, however, when the investigation is completed and we have some reliable information about the actual status of the files, information concerning the security of the files, and information concerning responsibility for the security.
Juan Non notes that he previously mentioned that the Democratic staff was told of the absence of security. I did not mean to dispute either that he said that or that it is true. (In fact, I do recall him noting that point some time ago.) I too recall reading that some on the Republican staff claim to have told the appropriate person(s) on the Democratic staff of the lapse. One of the reasons I would like the results of the investigation is to have clearer information on that. It may be that someone was told and that person had no understanding of the information. (I have had opposing counsel try that game by calling paralegals or secretaries.) On the other hand, maybe the rigth person was told. It may be gross negligence by the Democrats. I am withholding judgment on that aspect until the report is made public.
It does not matter to some of my assessment. I can warn someone to lock their car, but even if they don't taking the car is still wrong. The Republican staff still had to enter and open the file and copy it. Thus, I would not use the wallet in the Rotunda analogy. It is more like leaving the wallet in an unsecured drawer in a shared space. I do not suggest that anyone "broke into" the files, and my analysis presumes there was no breaking or hacking.
For those interested, Mr. Miranda has published his own account and defense in the February 22, 2004 edition of the Salt Lake Tribune (you will need to pay for access).