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Texas Agency Denies Request For Data Leak Emails

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Pieces of mail wait to be sorted at a Postal Center. (credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Pieces of mail wait to be sorted at a Postal Center. (credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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AUSTIN (AP) – A state agency has declined to release some documents on the investigation into the accidental online posting of the personal information of 3.5 million Texans, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that the state comptroller’s office told it that some documents sought as part of its open records request are exempt because of an ongoing investigation by law enforcement.

Comptroller Susan Combs’ office said April 11 that it discovered it mistakenly posted the data, including names and Social Security numbers, on a publicly accessible server for months.

Attorney General Greg Abbott is being asked by the comptroller’s office to rule on the newspaper’s open records request for “all emails and other written communication within the comptroller’s office from March 31, 2011, through today pertaining to the exposure of the 3.5 million records.”

Hundreds of documents have been released, but nothing dated March 31 through April 5, the newspaper reported.

Ruth Soucy, the comptroller’s deputy general counsel for open records, said in a letter Friday that the agency determined that “some of the requested information is protected from disclosure.”

Soucy’s letter cites sections of the Texas Government Code as applicable exemptions from the state’s open record law, which includes information related to litigation, including criminal action, and to certain law enforcement records. The comptroller’s office says there is no evidence the information has been misused.

Comptroller’s spokesman R.J. DeSilva said Monday that the documents from March 31 to April 5 were “part of the investigation file, and they’ve been turned over to the attorney general’s office.”

Combs has publicly apologized, blaming human error for the data release, and has announced free credit monitoring for anyone who’s been affected.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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