Over the weekend, someone threw something through the Staten Island office window of Republican Congressman Michael Grimm, while also getting inside and allegedly installing Linux on the computers, for some reason. While there was no sign of forced entry, the campaign reported at the time that the broken window was “a cover-up for the burglary in which the suspect corrupted and erased the hard-drive of the campaign computer server, which contains confidential campaign files and polling data.” Grimm himself called the mischief a “politically motivated crime” and an “assault on democracy.” But now the cops say the computers are just fine.
According to the New York Times, “a law enforcement official said on Monday night that police experts had examined the campaign’s computer systems and concluded that nothing had been erased or tampered with” and that “there was no evidence that an intruder had been in the office.” The source said, “At this point, there is no indication that it was anything other than an act of vandalism.”
But Grimm, who is under investigation by federal prosecutors for accepting potentially illegal donations, was not taking this alleged incident lightly, according to a Staten Island Advance report yesterday. “In fact, one officer said to me today they see this as a crime against the government, because I am a sitting United States congressman and they take it very seriously,” he explained. “You know, especially in light of what happened with Gabby Giffords, we’re not in the world today where we can shrug things off.” He may have been overreacting a little bit, and now the campaign has some explaining to do.
Update: The Post reports that an eighth-grader admitted he and a friend broke Grimm’s window. The great computer mystery remains unsolved.
Update 2: While Grimm admits “it is possible that a volunteer could have inadvertently compromised the computer and failed to report it,” NYPD spokesman Paul Browne told Politicker, “Contrary to the ‘law enforcement officials’ purported claims in the NY Times, NYPD computer crimes detectives had only just begun this morning looking at images taken from Grimm computers.” The plot thickens! He added that “no determination had been made as whether there was tampering” and “none was likely to be made until much later today or tomorrow because the process is time consuming.”
A spokesperson for Grimm’s Democratic opponent Mark Murphy threw in his two cents, too: "The wild accusations and apparently totally false conspiracy theories of the last 48 hours have made this bizarre situation a sad spectacle."