ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A slew of private e-mails that have caused a string of controversies for Gov. Susana Martinez and her advisers may have been hacked and stolen, according to a letter from the Albuquerque FBI office.
FBI agents are investigating how a left-leaning political action committee obtained hundreds of e-mails sent to Martinez, her staffers and advisers through an e-mail address linked to the governor's 2010 campaign for office.
"Seven months of a very intensive investigation (with) some of the best cyber investigators in the world, in the FBI, are handling this," Martinez said.
The e-mails have led to several controversies, including:
- The resignation of longtime Republican strategist Pat Rogers, who left his job as vice president of a prominent Albuquerque law firm.
- Landing the Public Education Department in hot water after it provided teacher information to one of Martinez's political advisers.
- Allegations of collusion between Martinez advisers and representatives of the group that won the lease at The Downs racino in Albuquerque.
- Allegations that the Martinez administration used private e-mail addresses to conduct public business.
The e-mails were released by Independent Source PAC, a political group funded mainly by organized labor. Michael Corwin, the group's executive director, has said he legally obtained the e-mails after one of his sources purchased the "Susana2010" domain name at an auction after Martinez failed to renew it.
But Martinez and her camp said there was no auction. Instead, they said a hacker renewed the domain name using a campaign credit card that was on file with the Web site, GoDaddy.com, then directed the e-mails to another server.
New Mexico Attorney General Gary King released some of e-mails to the media in December after receiving a public-records request. The Attorney General's Office initially received those e-mails from Independent Source PAC, according to a letter written by Chief Deputy Albert Lama.
The day after the e-mails were released, the special agent in charge of the Albuquerque office fired off the letter, which indicates the agency may think the domain name was hacked and the e-mails stolen.
The FBI asked the attorney general to turn over "all intercepted wire communications" the office received, according to the FBI letter. Special Agent Carol Lee also cited a federal law that "prohibits the disclosure of communications that are known to have been illegally intercepted," the letter states.
"In the 25 years that I was a prosecutor, I've never seen such a strong letter come from the FBI to a law enforcement entity," Martinez said.
An FBI spokesperson refused to comment on the letter or the investigation.
Corwin said he wants News 13 to focus on the content of the e-mails rather than where he got them. He would only say he received the e-mails from "a source."
"I'm media just like you," Corwin said. "You wouldn't reveal a source. I don't reveal a source."
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