Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has rejected accusations that a member of her staff published the personal information of Republican senators Thursday on Wikipedia as they held a hearing on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh.
“Lies, lies, and more despicable lies. 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,” Waters said in a statement Saturday.
The information posted purportedly included phone numbers and home addresses for three Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the hearing: Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), Sen. Mike Lee (Utah) and Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah).
They were doxed when an anonymous Wikipedia user edited their pages. The information was quickly removed after the doxing was discovered and aides contacted authorities.
Thousands of Twitter users were alerted to the edit after it was posted by the social media “accountability bot” @CongressEdits. The bot tracks edits to the online encyclopedia made from IP addresses assigned to the U.S. Capitol. According to the bot, the pages were “edited anonymously from US House of Representatives.”
Social media users began circulating images showing a string of numbers purportedly associated with a staffer for Waters, a fierce Trump critic.
Waters denied that association.
“The United States Capitol Police and our internal IT specialist have determined that the IP address in question does not belong to my office or anyone on my staff,” she said in the statement. “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 Capitol Police did not respond to a request to confirm Waters’s claim about their involvement or whether they have determined who may have posted the information. It was not clear how accurate the information may have been.
Other edits also were caught by the bot during the hearing, which was watched by 20 million people. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). asked Kavanaugh about the term “Devil’s Triangle,” which appeared in his yearbook. Kavanaugh said it was a drinking game, though it has also been understood to be a term to describe a sexual encounter between three people.
The CongressEdit bot recorded a change to the “Devil’s Triangle” Wikipedia page from an IP address associated with the House: “a popular drinking game enjoyed by friends of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.”