An overnight intruder smashed several windows and gained entry into Rep. Michael Grimm’s New Dorp headquarters over the weekend, possibly tampering with computers inside the office, authorities said. Grimm’s staff discovered the damage Sunday morning — two large chunks of cement and some smaller rocks had been hurled through three, 4×8-foot vertical windows, according to a campaign spokeswoman. They also believed that someone had deleted computer hard drives. The congressman and his campaign staff believe the vandalism was staged to cover up the computer tampering. On further inspection it was determined the intruder had caused a different type of damage — someone installed the Linux operating system on the office’s computers, Grimm told the Advance Sunday night, and in the process wiped the hard drives clean. “All of my polling data, all of the data from my IDs of voters, and a bunch of other campaign information. But fortunately we had everything backed up from literally hours before, so we don’t lose anything because we have backups,” Grimm said. He has no doubt his office was targeted, and called the incident cowardly.
“Whoever did this, the people responsible are very ignorant, and they don’t understand that this is not just an attack against me or my campaign. This is an attack against a federal campaign office, which is an attack on our democracy as a whole. It’s an attack against what we stand for, for free elections,” he said. “You can disagree with my policies. That’s what debates are for. That’s why you have the opportunity to vote for a different person to represent you. This ignorance, of violence, I would expect in the Middle East. You know, that wouldn’t shock me at all. But here on Staten Island, a family-based community, we’re better than that.”
Nathan Smith, spokesman for the lawmaker’s Democratic challenger, Mark Murphy, issued the following statement Sunday: “There is never any place for violence or vandalism in an electoral campaign or political debate. We hope that the police quickly apprehend whomever was responsible for this criminal act and prosecute all parties involved to the fullest extent of the law.”