ST. LOUIS — The Missouri State Highway Patrol has completed its investigation of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after Gov. Mike Parson accused the newspaper of “hacking” an educator database.
The issue arose after a Post-Dispatch reporter discovered a flaw on a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website that left more than 100,000 educators’ Social Security numbers vulnerable to disclosure.
Parson condemned the finding in October, even though the newspaper held off from reporting about it until after the state could fix the issue. He then called on the Missouri State Highway Patrol to investigate the matter.
On Monday, the Post-Dispatch reported that the agency completed its investigation and turned the results over to Cole County Prosecuting Attorney Locke Thompson.
The newspaper’s president and publisher, Ian Caso, previously released a statement defending the Post-Dispatch and its reporter.
“It’s regrettable the governor has chosen to deflect blame onto the journalists who uncovered the website’s problem and brought it to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s attention,” the statement read.
The Post-Dispatch reported that DESE spokeswoman Mallory McGowin planned on thanking the newspaper for uncovering the database flaw.
The newspaper said it obtained an email that McGowin sent to Parson’s office on Oct. 12. The email contained proposed statements for a news release, which said DESE was “grateful” to the reporter. The quote was not used, and Parson instead accused the reporter of hacking the system.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.