Republican cybercrime

Jane Galt’s political analysis of the stolen Democratic memo strikes me as acute. (Though I don’t share her confidence that Orrin Hatch didn’t know the memos were stolen, as opposed to not having known they were stolen cybernetically; where did he think they came from?)

Jane is right: this won’t make much of a scandal in the public mind. But her essay never considers the question about whether it should make such a scandal. I think it should. Stealing informatin from a computer is a felony. Senate staffers shouldn’t run around committing felonies.

(And Jane is clearly wrong when she says that “almost any really juicy piece of political news was obtained illegally.” It’s not a crime to tell a reporter something your boss wishes the public will never discover. In the national security area, some of the “juicy news” does, indeed, involve the release of classified information, which is in many cases illegal even when it shouldn’t be. But this is hardly in the same category.)

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com