McCain campaign auctions BlackBerries -- complete with phone numbers!

A local TV station bought some McCain BlackBerries at auction -- turns out they're loaded with confidential information. Fun!

The Fox News affiliate in Arlington, Va., thought it would be entertaining to check out the auction of McCain campaign high-tech gear. They sent investigative reporter Tisha Thompson down to buy a Blackberry. They were going for $20. She bought several. And they got quite a surprise, as the station reports.

When we charged them up in the newsroom, we found one of the $20 Blackberry phones contained more than 50 phone numbers for people connected with the McCain-Palin campaign, as well as hundreds of emails from early September until a few days after election night.

We traced the Blackberry back to a staffer who worked for “Citizens for McCain,” a group of democrats who threw their support behind the Republican nominee. The emails contain an insider’s look at how grassroots operations work, full of scheduling questions and rallying cries for support.

But most of the numbers were private cell phones for campaign leaders, politicians, lobbyists and journalists.

And those people weren't too happy to get a call from the station's reporters.

“Somebody made a mistake,” one owner told us. “People’s numbers and addresses were supposed to be erased.”

“They should have wiped that stuff out,” another said. But he added, “Given the way the campaign was run, this is not a surprise.”

Campain reaction? Oops. "It was an unfortunate staff error and procedures are being put in place to ensure all information is secure.”

To this The Washington Post notes:

Wiping a BlackBerry is actually fairly simple for most models. From the Options menu, choose Security Options, then General Settings. From that screen, press the Menu button to pull up a list of actions. Choose Wipe Handheld, and soon you should be all set.

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