Hackers break into Palin’s Yahoo Email account

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been under fire for using personal email accounts to circumvent “open government” and deny information records requests not associated with her offical email account with the state.  Computer hackers, of which are a resourceful lot, have broken into the Governor’s Yahoo email account.

Here’s an account of the security breach from Network World, a leading IT industry trade magazine.

“The activist group called “anonymous,” best known for its jousts with the Church of Scientology, has apparently hacked into the private Yahoo e-mail account of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican candidate for vice president. Contents of that account, including two sample e-mails, an index of messages and Palin family photos, have been posted by the whistleblower site Wikileaks, which contends that they constitute evidence that Palin has improperly used her private e-mail to shield government business from public scrutiny, an issue that had already been raised by others.

There’s no way to tell at a glance whether this material is authentic or a hoax, but the organizations involved are well known. Obviously, the method by which the information was obtained and posted will be hugely controversial. (And inclusion of the pictures seems gratuitous, if not mean.)

However, the e-mail index from Palin’s account does appear to indicate that she has been using it for both private and official business, with one entry addressed to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and another to Palin’s chief of staff, Michael Nizich, to cite only two obvious examples.

As for the sample e-mails, rather than bolstering the contention that Palin uses private e-mail to avoid possible public scrutiny of official business, at first blush they actually seem indicative of her dutifully separating Alaska business from Alaska and national politics. Both samples are overtly political in nature, which, based on my admittedly limited understanding of the law in this area, make them inappropriate when using government resources.”

From the Wikileak’s site:

Circa midnight Tuesday the 16th of September (EST) Wikileaks’ sources loosely affiliated with the activist group ‘anonymous’ gained access to U.S. Republican Party Vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s Yahoo email account gov.palin@yahoo.com. Governor Palin has come under criticism for using private email accounts to avoid government transparency mechanisms. The zip archive made available by Wikileaks contains screen shots of Palin’s inbox, example emails, address book and two family photos. The list of correspondence, together with the account name, appears to re-enforce the criticism.

Now Black Hat hacking is not legal but it raises an interesting ethical dilemma: is  conducting illegal activity to highlight illegal activity ethical, moral or just wrong?

Want to find out if the email is legit?  Pretty simple if you want to do some jail time. Just send some sort of threatening message.  I’m not saying you should do this at all, but a knock on your door from men in black suits and sunglasses will tell you its her address.


  3 comments for “Hackers break into Palin’s Yahoo Email account

  1. sabstovall
    September 17, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    It is unethical, immoral AND wrong to use illegal tactics to expose illegal tactics. That is why the police have to read people their rights, etc. etc., etc. And if these people are capable of truly hacking into that email account, then they are probably capable of editing, re-writing, etc. anything that they have found. Therefore, I would think that no one can trust anything that is posted or displayed or implied to be from her personal account as unedited. So, the purpose it seems is only to A) gain attention for themselves – a cheap swift moment of glory B) inflict some damage onto Palin (rightly or wrongly) in a cheap pollitical stunt that I would think could only be backed by her opponent !

  2. Rob
    September 18, 2008 at 7:40 am


    it is a damned shame! sp should just be forthcomming and comply with open government.

  3. RHackett
    September 18, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Given the anarchic behavior of hackers, it is entirely likely it wasn’t done by operatives of Obama but instead for sport or from opponents within Alaska. The hacking “justifies” nothing.

    However, the bell can’t be unrung insofar as the contents of the email inbox. The evidence is clear that the Palin administration was purposefully using private email accounts for public business, which is a blatant attempt to escape scrutiny of dealings in the future. All one has to do is delete the account and all emails are vaporized from the server of a busy service like Yahoo in a matter of days, if not minutes, and it would circumvent the legal requirement of archiving official government business on the State’s email servers. Further, the time required to subpoena such emails guarantees they would disappear.

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