NARA Intern Sold Documents on eBay

Article excerpt

In April, a National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) intern pleaded guilty to one federal count of stealing government property. Federal prosecutors said he stole 164 valuable historical documents and put about 150 of them up for sale on online auction site eBay.

Denning McTague, who runs a website that sells rare books, stole a treasure trove of priceless documents, including the War Department's announcement of President Lincoln's death, a letter from Civil War-era cavalryman James Ewell Brown Stuart, and telegrams about troops' weaponry.

US. Attorney Patrick Meehan told Newsweek the stolen documents "are valued well into the tens of thousands" of dollars and said they were "of incalculable value to historians."

McTague's crime was discovered when a book company spotted the items on the Internet last fall and contacted NARA authorities. FBI agents and NARA archivists found 80 original Civil War-era documents from the archives in McTague's apartment, but another 80 had already been auctioned on eBay. McTague, a scholar with master's degrees in history and library science and an avid collector of historical artifacts, organized documents for the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Civil War while at NARA. …

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