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Vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s private Yahoo e-mail account was hacked, and some of its contents posted on the internet Wednesday.
The internet griefers known as Anonymous took credit for the intrusion, and screenshots of e-mail messages and photos belonging to the Alaska governor have been published by WikiLeaks. Threat Level has confirmed the authenticity of at least one of the e-mails.
The cache of stolen data contains five screenshots from Palin’s account, including the text of an e-mail exchange with Alaska Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell about his campaign for Congress.
Another screenshot shows Palin’s inbox and a third shows the text of an e-mail from Amy McCorkell, whom Palin appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse in 2007.
Hacking into someones e-mail is a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison and it appears that the FBI in coordination with the Secret Service has begun an investigation into this incident. I’m a little fuzzy on the law here but I’m reasonably certain that sites like WikiLeaks and Gawker that published the stolen information could face prosecution along with the hackers.
Update: The McCain Campaign has released the following statement:
“This is a shocking invasion of the Governor’s privacy and a violation of law, the matter has been turned over to the appropriate authorities and we hope that anyone in possession of these e-mails will destroy them. We will have no further comment.”
Update: The FBI has confirmed that an investigation is underway. From CNN’s Political Tracker Blog:
FBI Spokesman Eric Gonzalez in Anchorage, Alaska confirms to CNN an investigation is underway.
“We are aware of the allegations and we are coordinating with Secret Service as far as the allegation that someone has hacked into Governor Palin’s personal e-mail account,” he said. “We are going to be working a joint investigation with Secret Service on this.”
Brian Hale, an FBI spokesman in Washington, also confirms the FBI has been contacted about the incident. Two federal law enforcement sources say the FBI and Secret Service would have concurrent jurisdiction normally on a matter such as this, but it remains to be seen if the Secret Service will take the lead on the investigation because Palin is a protectee.
Update: The always indispensable Michelle Malkin has the story behind the story:
This afternoon, I mentioned an infamous group of hackers whose Internet bulletin board was the gathering place for those who bragged about and publicized the Sarah Palin private e-mail hacking.
A tech-savvy reader who monitors the hackers’ site e-mailed me a detailed explanation of how it went down, who was responsible, and how someone with a conscience warned a friend of the Palin family of the crime (language warning):
As an aside… This would be a good time to change your passwords. A strong password should be at least 8 characters and include letters, numbers, and at least one special character. It should also be easy to remember but not easily guessed.
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