California Congresswoman Maxine Waters released a statement Saturday in which she denounced charges that someone on her staff was responsible for the release of personal information about three Republican senators. On September 27, personal details including home addresses and phone numbers for Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch, both of Utah, were published on the website Wikipedia, according to The Hill. In her Saturday statement, Waters called charges that someone on her staff was responsible for the publishing of this information “despicable.”
The personal details appeared on Wikipedia hours after the appearance of Christine Blasey Ford before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Right-wing sites including Gateway Pundit and Red State soon reported that a trace of the IP address attached to the Wikipedia updates indicated that the source of the information was someone in Waters’ office. They proceeded to identify that person and release personal information on them.
In her Saturday comments on the charge, which she shared on Twitter, Waters called the assertion, “Lies, lies, and more despicable lies” and blamed “ultra-right wing pundits, outlets, and websites” for spreading falsehoods, and stated that she had contacted law enforcement officials about the claims, promising that they would be “held legally liable” for their actions.
“I am utterly disgusted by the spread of the completely false, absurd, and dangerous lies and conspiracy theories that are being pedaled by ultra-right wing pundits, outlets, and websites who are promoting a fraudulent claim that a member of my staff was responsible for the release of the personal information of Member of United States Senate on Wikipedia… The United States Capitol Police and out internal IT specialist have determined that the IP address in question does not belong to my office or anyone on my staff. The member of my staff – whose identity, personal information, and safety have been compromised as a result of these fraudulent and false allegations – was in no way responsible for the leak of this information.”
— The Hill (@thehill) September 30, 2018
Among the many who responded to Waters’ tweet was former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer who suggested that her angry response was proof that she did not belong in the US Congress. He went on to say that the appropriate response of anyone in Congress who stands falsely accused of such things is not one that shows defiance or questions the motivation behind the false allegations, but rather that it should be “calm and serene.” Fox News reported that some interpreted Fleischer’s assessment as a critique of Brett Kavanaugh’s appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.