Did a Second Aide to Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan Admit Role in Doxing GOP?

The charges stem from an incident in which another ex-staffer hacked into Hassan’s computers and released the addresses of GOP congressmen.

  • Published 1 August 2019

Claim

Samantha Davis, a former staff assistant to Sen. Maggie Hassan, pleaded guilty to crimes related to the hacking of government computers and the release of GOP senators’ addresses during Brett Kavanaugh’s final U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

Origin

On Sept. 27, 2018, personal information such as home addresses of Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham, Mike Lee, and Orrin Hatch were “posted by an unknown person [to Wikipedia] … during the hearing of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh,” according to a Fox News report. Later, after Kavanaugh’s successful confirmation, the personal information of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul were briefly disclosed in a similar fashion.

In April 2019, a former aide to New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, Jackson Cosko, pleaded guilty to five felonies involving the collection and dissemination of personal data from government computers, as reported in Politico:

In April, Cosko pleaded guilty to five felonies, admitting that after being fired last year from his work as a systems administrator on Hassan’s staff, he repeatedly used a colleague’s key to enter the office [of Hassan], install keylogging equipment that stole work and personal email passwords, and downloaded a massive trove of data from Senate systems.

Cosko also acknowledged that after growing angry about the GOP’s handling of the Supreme Court nomination, he released home addresses and phone numbers of Sens. Lindsay Graham, Orrin Hatch, and Mike Lee on Wikipedia. After initial press coverage of that doxing, Cosko released information about Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul.

On July 30, 2019, the colleague who provided Cosko with that office key, Samantha Davis, also pleaded guilty to two crimes related to Cosko’s actions. During a hearing, evidence revealed “no indication” that Davis was aware of the doxing part of the crime, Politico reported, but she did admit that she knowingly provided office keys to Cosko with the assumption or knowledge he would “tamper” with the computers:

Davis admitted that she gave Cosko keys to Hassan’s office on one occasion, knowing he would tamper with computers in the office. Davis also acknowledged that she had noticed on several occasions that Cosko had taken the keys from her purse and she had not reported it. She also admitted that she lied to investigators the first two times she was interviewed about intrusions at Hassan’s office.

As a result of a deal with prosecutors, Davis pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of evidence tampering under D.C. law and one misdemeanor count of aiding computer hacking under federal law. As part of that plea deal, Davis admitted under oath to her role in Cosko’s crime, and as such we rank this claim “true.”

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