Call it the great Blackberry hack caper or just another case of political dirty tricks.

Whatever you call it, the campaign season must be in full swing because the tricksters are hard at work and so are those who file lawsuits.

A former employee of the political consulting firm that works the Presidential campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton claims Hillary’s chief campaign strategists approved hacking into his Blackberry and monitoring his email.

The other side, of course, claims it did nothing wrong.

Writes Sara Kugler of The Washington Post:

Mitchell E. Markel, a former vice president at Penn, Schoen & Berland, claims in the lawsuit that the firm began monitoring all messages sent from his personal BlackBerry device nearly a month after he had resigned and become president of his new business. The suit claims that Mark Penn, who is Clinton’s chief strategist and pollster, knew about and approved of the monitoring, which the suit says violates federal wiretapping laws.

Penn, Schoen & Berland, which has helped elect clients such as former president Bill Clinton and New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, is accused of hacking into Markel’s BlackBerry and rigging his e-mail accounts to send copies of his e-mail to another account that the firm had set up. The suit says the BlackBerry that Markel used was always his own, never the property of his former employer.

Howard Rubin, an attorney for Penn, Schoen & Berland, disputed the claim that the e-mails were private and that the firm engaged in unauthorized monitoring.

“The company hasn’t done anything improper, and the e-mails came in on our own e-mail account,” he said. He declined to elaborate.

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