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It can be kind of uncomfortable when a purely political game leaves you with egg all over your face. It’s more uncomfortable when almost everyone else calls you on it.

Speaker Tim Jones (r) presiding over the House on February 18, 2013.

Today, in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Editorial: Speaker must be held accountable for House hacking

….Last week, Mr. Jones – or one of his minions – used a state computer in the Missouri House in an attempt to hack into a secure state computer server under control of the Office of Administration. The OA handles much of the internal computer security for the executive branch of government.

OA records obtained in a Sunshine Law request show that the mystery hacker took 23 shots at cracking the OA security. The hacker used a user name and password that had been given to a federal law enforcement official as part of an investigation into potential disability fraud….

….Here’s the outrage: For more than a month now, Mr. Schaefer and Mr. Jones have been accusing law enforcement officials, from Mr. Schilb to the Missouri Highway Patrol to Gov. Jay Nixon, of violating state law, because under Missouri law, the CCW list is a closed record.

They have ignored the very clear exceptions in law for law enforcement to obtain the records as part of an investigation. Indeed, Mr. Nixon never broke the law, nor did the state patrol, nor did Mr. Schilb. Each of them was following the mandates in the state and federal Drivers Privacy Protection Act to share such information, including the Department of Revenue-controlled CCW list, as part of a state or federal investigation.

But in attempting to show that one of them broke the law (which, to repeat, they didn’t) Mr. Jones or his mystery hacker might have. In fact, he might have broken several laws….

[emphasis in original]

Ruh, roh!

The Post-Dispatch editorial points out a relevant state statute:

Missouri Revised Statutes

Chapter 569

Robbery, Arson, Burglary and Related Offenses

Section 569.095

Tampering with computer data, penalties.

569.095. 1. A person commits the crime of tampering with computer data if he knowingly and without authorization or without reasonable grounds to believe that he has such authorization:

(1) Modifies or destroys data or programs residing or existing internal to a computer, computer system, or computer network; or

(2) Modifies or destroys data or programs or supporting documentation residing or existing external to a computer, computer system, or computer network; or

(3) Discloses or takes data, programs, or supporting documentation, residing or existing internal or external to a computer, computer system, or computer network; or

(4) Discloses or takes a password, identifying code, personal identification number, or other confidential information about a computer system or network that is intended to or does control access to the computer system or network;

(5) Accesses a computer, a computer system, or a computer network, and intentionally examines information about another person;

(6) Receives, retains, uses, or discloses any data he knows or believes was obtained in violation of this subsection.

2. Tampering with computer data is a class A misdemeanor, unless the offense is committed for the purpose of devising or executing any scheme or artifice to defraud or to obtain any property, the value of which is five hundred dollars or more, in which case tampering with computer data is a class D felony.

Ruh, roh!