SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A Los Angeles talk radio station says it easily accessed the same part of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Web site that his Democratic rival's campaign used to obtain a private conversation and leak it to a newspaper.
"We've been hacking them for years, if this is hacking," Jason Nathanson, a former producer for the Jon Ziegler show on KFI 640-AM in Los Angeles, said on the show Tuesday night.
State Treasurer Phil Angelides' campaign manager has acknowledged that two staffers gave a recording of the governor bantering in his office with his staff to the Los Angeles Times. The governor later apologized for remarks he made about a Hispanic female legislator.
The governor's campaign has accused the Angelides campaign of unethical behavior, and the governor's office has referred the matter to the California Highway Patrol for investigation.
Angelides has yet to comment on the leak. His campaign pointed out Tuesday's KFI program to The Associated Press.
Angelides' spokeswoman, Amanda Crumley, said the program supports the campaign's claim that Schwarzenegger's office itself is to blame for putting up private recordings on their own Web site.
"It further undermines their wild accusations in this whole matter," she said. "The Schwarzenegger campaign made an error, and now they're trying to cover that up."
Nathanson said that when the Angelides campaign explained how its staffers downloaded the leaked recording from the governor's Web site, he realized he had been doing the same thing.
"It's the same exact Web site that we used to use," he said.
Nathanson said he stumbled on the audio files while trying to find a link the governor's press office had sent him. However, he acknowledged that he never found a recording of a private conversation in the governor's office like the one the Angelides campaign leaked.
"I typed in a few numbers wrong and I got a whole list of all the governor's speeches, interviews, all the public things that he's been doing for years," Nathanson said on Tuesday's show. "And there's a whole directory that they had on their site, and it was public. It wasn't private. There was no password needed. There was nothing protected."
The leaked recording was made during a speech-writing session in the governor's office last March. In it, Schwarzenegger and his chief of staff, Susan Kennedy, speculate lightheartedly about the ethnic background of state Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia.
After they chat about whether she is Cuban or Puerto Rican, Schwarzenegger says: "They are all very hot. They have the, you know, part of the black blood in them and part of the Latino blood in them that together makes it."
Garcia appeared with Schwarzenegger when he apologized and has said she was not offended.
The governor's legal secretary, Andrea Hoch, said in a statement that the leaked file and others that were downloaded by the Angelides campaign were stored "in a password protected area" of the governor's computer network.
Anyone who strayed into the area where the recording was stored should have received a pop-up warning saying it was restricted to authorized users, said the governor's spokesman, Adam Mendelsohn.
He said the radio station's actions were different than the campaign's.
"The radio show did not go in and access private conversations and secretly leak them to a newspaper," he said. "This is a fundamentally different set of circumstances with the intent to harm the governor."