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March 04, 2004



The Republican defense that they informed someone that they could access Democratic memos, but then went merrily on reading them when the security hole wasn't fixed (a) seems like an odd thing to believe based on the uncorroborated and undetailed assertion of one side to the controversy and (b) doesn't make a lot of sense.

What are we supposed to think happened? First, a Republican staffer informed a Democrat in a position to correct the problem that the security hole existed and then: the Democrat did nothing because he thought the Republican staffer was lying, and there was no such hole? the Democrat did nothing out of indifference to the existence of the hole, believing that it was all right that the Republicans were able to access the memos? the Democrat tried to have the problem fixed and failed?

If the first, the Republicans remain culpable: notification of the problem in a form that allowed the person notified to disbelieve it (that is "Ha ha, you guys are so screwed, we can read all your files" said in a joking tone, rather than "Come over here to my computer -- look, even logged in as me, Republican Staffer, I can open all of your files") is not actual notification, in the same sense that telling the janitor, or someone else without understanding of the problem, is not notification.

If the second, indifference to or approval of the existence of the security hole on the Democratic staffer's part, the Republicans remain culpable. Such an attitude is not compatible with good-faith service as a Democratic staffer: the damaging results are too obvious. Such a staffer would be actively aiding the Republicans in their continued access to Democratic documents -- esentially acting as a mole in the Democratic offices. Stealing the documents with the aid of a mole is no more ethically allowable than accessing them through an unannounced security hole.

Finally, if the Democrats attempted to fix the hole and failed: this would suggest that its existence was not gross negligence on the Democrats' part, but a real problem, whether maliciously created or not, with the computer system, and thus the "they left them out in plain view" defense really isn't available.

Without some more details, there just is no way that the Republican assertion that they announced the problem is worthy of serious consideration: it just doesn't make sense.

T. Gracchus

Initial news reports on the redacted Seargent at Arms' Report, do not support the claim that the Republican staff had informed the Democratic staff of the security problems. LizardBreath therefore appears to have it right, at least in significant part. It seemed possible, but a little unlikely. Possible because such things do happen and more frequently than one would like. In any event, one hopes more information will be forthcoming.

Term Paper

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vibram five fingers

If the first, the Republicans remain culpable: notification of the problem in a form that allowed the person notified to disbelieve it (that is "Ha ha, you guys are so screwed

vibram five fingers

Turns out they were wrong, and it may well be that they were negligent for so thinking.

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