A FOX affiliate in the Washington, D.C., area was able to purchase private information at bargain prices, but it was the information's souce that is raising eyebrows.
An investigative reporter for WTTG bought two BlackBerry devices containing confidential information -- including the cell number of a former Virginia governor -- from the McCain-Palin campaign at a "gone out of business" sale at the campaign's headquarters in Arlington, Va.
By the time the reporter got to the sale, most of the good items were gone, the station reports. File cabinets, white boards, sofas — anything the campaign could sell to get back some of its dough, according to the station's report at MyFOXDC.com.
There were laptops priced at $400 to $600 with logins like "WARROOM08." But the reporter didn't have a password and campaign staff members said the hard drives would be cleared before they were sold.
And then there were the BlackBerry phones, $20 a piece. The station bought two, charged them in the newsroom and found that one of them contained 50 phone numbers for people connected to the campaign, as well as hundreds of e-mails from early September until a few days after the election.
The station reported that the e-mails offered "an insider's look at how grassroots operations work, full of scheduling questions and rallying cries for support." Most of the numbers were private cell phones for campaign leaders, politicians, lobbyists and journalists.
The station called one of the individuals, who said it was "a mistake." The information was supposed to be erased.
The second device contained 300 'contacts,' including former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore.
Gilmore, when reached on the cell phone, wasn't happy to learn that his information had been sold.
"It makes me uncomfortable. ... It's a matter of principle. I gave the information to McCain headquarters, and to have it sold is bothersome," he told the TV station.
The station called a McCain-Palin campaign worker, who said, "It was an unfortunate staff error and procedures are being put in place to ensure all information is secure."
Even so, the station has put out a call to viewers asking if any of them bought one of the BlackBerry devices.