‘He was asked to resign for failing to follow office procedures. We did not have reason to believe that he posed a risk…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) A federal judge on Tuesday ruled that Jackson Cosko, an unpaid staffer for Congressional Democrats who posted online the personal information of several Republican senators backing Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, is not eligible for bail.
Cosko, 27, was arrested on last week on charges of illegally accessing the personal information of five U.S. senators. He then edited their Wikipedia pages to include phone numbers and home addresses, a malicious cyberattack commonly referred to as doxxing.
Although the Wikipedia pages were quickly scrubbed of the personal details, the information already had been tweeted out on a government watchdog account that monitors and posts all edits to Wikipedia pages from Congressional IP addresses.
According to WMUR, investigators allegedly found a trove of evidence while searching Cosko’s home, including a to-do list for hiding his alleged cybercrimes that included backing up files, mailing backup files, burning aliases and wiping down computers.
They also found a list of planned targets, an array of portable electronic storage devices and cocaine.
Cosko is also charged with threatening a witness who saw him in the act. After a staffer who knew him well saw him in the act, Cosko allegedly wrote an email saying “If you tell anyone I will leak it all,” reported WMUR.
The current charges (not factoring in additional drug charges) carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison.
After prosecutors argued that Cosko posed a flight risk, Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson ruled that he should remain in custody pending trial, reported the Associated Press. No trial date has been set yet.
Most recently, Cosko interned in the office of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, but he previously worked until May 2018 as a systems administrator in the office of Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H. He allegedly used Hassan’s computers to access the information.
A spokesman for Hassan told the AP that Cosko “was asked to resign for failing to follow office procedures. We did not have reason to believe that he posed a risk.”
Cosko also had worked in the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who first brought to public attention the sexual assault accusations made by Christine Blasey Ford against Kavanaugh. Feinstein helped set Ford up with her legal counsel prior to her confidential letter being leaked to the media.
After the story first broke, internet sleuths initially believed they had traced the breach to a staffer in the offices of California Rep. Maxine Waters.
Waters blasted the accusations, saying “I am utterly disgusted by the spread of the completely false, absurd, and dangerous lies and conspiracy theories that are being peddled by ultra-right wing pundits, outlets, and websites.”