Someone Is Killing Off Patrick Leahy, Dianne Feinstein, and Frank Lautenberg

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Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A mysterious prankster has been trying to fool news outlets into thinking that very alive Democratic senators Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy, and Frank Lautenberg have died. It started yesterday, when California media outlets received an e-mail from Feinstein's office saying she had died of cancer. Then today, Vermont news outlets were sent similar e-mails claiming Leahy had died of cancer. They looked authentic and official, as if they had actually been sent from Leahy's office. The hoax was also perpetrated against New Jersey's Frank Lautenberg, who just announced last week that he had vanquished lymphoma. The Capitol Police are investigating, but for now, it appears that government computers were not hacked. And Senator Leahy, at least, is taking it in stride; he was joking about the whole thing with Vermont Public Radio today. Patrick Leahy is not intimidated by thugs.

Notices of Senators’ Deaths Are Hoaxes [Caucus/NYT]