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Minnesota Man Arrested for Hacking

September 12, 2000

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ A man suspected of hacking into a computer at a nuclear weapons laboratory last year was arrested Monday.

Benjamin Breuninger, 21, was taken into custody by federal agents at his Minnesota home on a charge of unauthorized access of a protected computer and recklessly causing damage.

He was released Monday on $25,000 bail after appearing in federal court in Minneapolis. No plea was entered. Prosecutors are working to bring him to California.

He was indicted Friday by a federal grand jury in Oakland for breaking into a computer at the Lawrence Livermore laboratory run by the University of California.

``Fortunately, he didn’t access secret or classified government documents, but he did gain access to the lab’s administrative network and disrupted the use of it,″ said FBI spokesman Andrew Black.

The two November hacking incidents caused an estimated $50,000 in damage and took about a week to fix, Black said.

A public defender representing Breuninger said his client has no criminal history.

``But since this happened almost a year ago, it appears to me that this wasn’t a dire national emergency that needed an immediate response,″ Scott Tilsen said. ``If it was a significant crime, I don’t think he would have walked right out of court.″

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