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Financial info on celebs, officials leaked online

The Associated Press, Monday, March 11, 2013, 3:42pm (PDT)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities and celebrities were grappling Monday with how to respond to a website that posted what appears to be private financial information about top government officials and stars such as Jay-Z and Mel Gibson.

Los Angeles police and the FBI said they were aware of the pages but declined to confirm they were investigating the site, which posted purported Social Security numbers and credit reports of the leaders of both agencies. Pages posted on Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not include credit reports but included addresses and other sensitive information.

Social Security numbers posted on Gibson, Jay-Z and others matched records in public databases.

The site, which bore an internet suffix originally assigned to the Soviet Union, remained active Monday afternoon. It did not state how the information was obtained or why the 11 people targeted on the site were selected, describing the records only as "secret files."

Its existence was first reported Monday by celebrity website TMZ.

FBI Director Robert Mueller and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck were among those targeted, as were celebrities Beyonce Knowles, Ashton Kutcher, Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton.

Several of the purported credit reports appear to have been generated last week.

Representatives for each person targeted either declined to comment on the accuracy of the information that was posted, or they did not return messages seeking comment.

Several of the pages featured unflattering pictures of the celebrities or government officials whose information was posted.

The site's page on Beck includes a taunting reference to former officer Christopher Dorner, who was killed in a shootout after killing four people over several days last month. Beck's page included the message "(hash)YouCantCornerTheDorner" and an image of a woman protesting police corruption.

While government officials often have to disclose details on their finances — and celebrity divorces sometimes feature public financial data — the information posted online exceeds those disclosures.

Social Security numbers are rarely included in public records anymore because they can be used for identity theft.

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Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP .

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