Sarah Palin, the Vice-Presidential candidate for the United States, had her Yahoo e-mail account hacked near midnight on Tuesday. Partial contents of her e-mail account were subsequently hosted online at Wikileaks.org, including two family photos, e-mail messages and contact lists. The group known as Anonymous, who were responsible for attacks on Scientology in the past, have claimed credit for the intrusion.
One e-mail message from Palin’s inbox that had been hosted online was from Amy McCorkell, whom Palin appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse in 2007. According to Wired.com, McCorkell has verified that the e-mail message was indeed from her and that the FBI are now investigating the matter. Rick Davis, the McCain-Palin campaign manger, has since gone on recorded saying, “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."
According to Wikileaks, it was Palin’s “email@example.com“ e-mail account that had been hacked, but the account has since been deleted, likely by Palin herself. This breach of privacy has raised a few questions regarding Palin, one serious question being why had Palin been using a personal e-mail account for government matters. Although the contents of such e-mails are not available, alleged subject titles for received and sent e-mails involving government matters were hosted online. A few of the titles include, “FW: Motor Fuel Tax Suspension”, “FW: CONFIDENTIAL Ethics Matter”, “Draft letter to Governor Schwarzenegger / Container Tax”, “RE: Using Royalty Oil to Lower the Cost of Fuel for Alaskans”, “Court of Appeals / Executive Director Parole Board / Boards and Commissions” and “FW: DPS Personnel and Budget Issues”. “DPS” is the acronym for the Alaska Department of Public Safety, who supervise the Alaskan state troopers.
One issue with using a Yahoo e-mail account to handle confidential government matters involves concerns over national security, as contents of the account can become at risk. It also raises concerns over whether Palin was using a personal e-mail account to avoid transparency when dealing with certain government matters. The fact Palin’s account name was entitled “sarah.gov” probably shows the account was not crafted for such purposes, as more subtle account names could probably be created. However, it would still appear that Palin was conducting some government matters with a personal e-mail account. The contents of the e-mails that seemed to be in regards to government matters were not released.
How the hackers were able to hack Palin’s e-mail account still remains unknown, but rumor has it her password was “lipstick.”