Leahy upsets … someone on the Internet

Leahy_3 Mid-Tuesday afternoon I found myself hunting down an obscure fact about Sen. Patrick Leahy’s long political history. Like most modern researchers, my first stop was Wikipedia, the popular open source on-line encyclopedia.

That’s funny … I don’t remember the Senator looking anything like a tiny rodent. A rat, to be precise.

Turns out Leahy is the latest victim of Wikipedia vandalism, the art of attacking someone or something by altering the text or images of an entry.

Leahy’s unique visual on his page was a surprise to staff in Washington, D.C. Tuesday afternoon.

"Is this related to the Gonzalez stuff?" asked David Carle, the Senator’s spokesman, referring to Leahy’s upcoming showdown before the Senate Judiciary Committee with the embattled U.S. attorney general.

"I’m not sure," I replied. "But that’s a good guess."

"Either way, we take it as a back-handed compliment," Carle responded.

The switch from Leahy’s official senate photo to that of a rat (which appears to be lifted from the U.S. National Park Service Web site) occurred sometime Tuesday, according to Wikipedia’s edit history for that page.

UPDATE 4:03 p.m.: Wikipedia has fixed the photo error.

-Dan Barlow

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