(AP) – Just before Missouri Gov. Mike Parson condemned a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter for exposing a state database flaw, records show the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education was preparing to thank him for finding the glitch.

The reporter discovered a flaw on a DESE website that left more than 100,000 Social Security numbers of educators vulnerable to disclosure.

The Post-Dispatch reported Thursday that it obtained an Oct. 12 email to Parson’s office from DESE spokeswoman Mallory McGowin containing proposed statements for a news release saying DESE was “grateful” to the journalist.

The quote was not used. Parson instead accused the journalist of hacking the system and announced a criminal investigation.


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