House not giving info on gun database access
Thursday, May 9, 2013
The Missouri House is declining to give Gov. Jay Nixon’s administration computer data related to an attempted access of the list of concealed weapons permit holders.
House Clerk Adam Crumbliss sent a letter Tuesday to the Office of Administration that said the information would not be released. Commissioner of Administration Doug Nelson had sent an open records request to the House last week requesting computer firewall, workstation and other computer logs between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on May 2.
A House computer attempted to gain access that day to a secure website with the list of gun permit holders 23 times using login credentials previously provided to a federal agent with the Social Security Administration.
Crumbliss, who is responsible for House operations, was not immediately available for comment Wednesday. In his letter, he cited an exemption to the state open records law that allows agencies to keep secret information that could allow unauthorized access to a state computer system. Nelson said using the law’s exemption “ironic” since a House computer was used to gain unauthorized access to a secure website.
“This is a public record maintained by a public governmental body which the public and the press have a right to access,” Nelson said Wednesday during a meeting with reporters.
In March, lawmakers began an investigation into the Revenue Department over new drivers’ license procedures that required applicants’ personal documents, such as birth certificates and concealed weapons permits, to be scanned into a state computer system. During that investigation, lawmakers learned the Revenue Department gave the state Highway Patrol a list of gun permit holders to share with Special Agent Keith Schilb, an investigator with the Office of Inspector General for the Social Security Administration.
House Speaker Tim Jones said on Monday the attempted access using Schilb’s credentials was done during the course of an ongoing investigation into the sharing of concealed weapons data. Jones, R-Eureka, created a special House commission to look into the state’s driver’s license policies and to investigate the sharing of gun data. On Wednesday, Jones appointed former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves on Wednesday to that panel.
Crumbliss also used the House’s investigation in denying the administration access to computer records, writing that turning the information over could interfere with the ongoing probe.
The Office of Administration said the list of concealed weapons permit holders was removed from the website on March 5 but the login information given to him was released to the public and other lawmakers last week as part of the Legislature’s probe into the administration.
Schilb, the federal agent, told a Missouri Senate panel last week that he wanted the list of gun permit holders to advance a fraud investigation. He said that he was looking into Social Security recipients with a mental health diagnosis who also had a state-issued weapons permit.
The Highway Patrol gave him a password to the secure website after he could not use two CDs containing the same information. Schilb said he accessed data on the website in February but was not comfortable using the information in that format and did not attempt to login again.
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