Left-wing internet hackers have been credited for illegally breaking into GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s email.
Members of what has been described as the “cyber vigilante” group Anonymous broke into Palin’s personal Yahoo email account and uploaded stolen information to the Internet. Gawker.com, a highly trafficked gossip site, took five screenshots of the stolen cache and promoted it on their site.
The screenshots included two full emails and Palin’s inbox list. In one email Palin was critical of a talk radio host who was giving her Lt. Governor, who is currently running against Don Young for Congress, a hard time over tax issues. In the other, a woman who Palin named to the state’s drug and alcohol advisory board sent prayers to Palin and told her not to let the “negative press wear you down."
Personal family information was obtained as well. A photo of baby Trig Palin was found in the email cache, uploaded from daughter Bristol Palin's cell phone and sent to her mother's email account. Bloggers at Gawker lifted Bristol’s cellphone number from the emails and called it to confirm it was hers. They recorded audio of Bristol’s voicemail and promoted it on their site. Gawker bloggers also reprinted Palin's husband Todd's and son Track's personal email addresses.
Left-wing operatives have been seeking Palin’s personal emails in relation to the “Troopergate” controversy, in which Palin’s foes believed she abused her power as Alaskan Governor to fire one of her political appointees. Palin recently released official email communication, but has refused to make her private emails publicly available to the chagrin of those seeking to bring her down in the inquiry.
Nothing in the emails appears to be politically damaging to Palin.
McCain-Palin 2008 Campaign Manager Rick Davis issued a statement calling the email hackery “a shocking invasion of the Governor's privacy and a violation of law.” He expressed hope that “anyone in possession of these emails will destroy them.”
Federal law strictly prohibits anyone from accessing email without proper authorization, but is unclear how those would be treated who make those emails publicly available.
Gawker knows full well the information was illegally obtained and stands by their blog posts. “Here are the screenshots of the emails saved before the account went dark, along with the contact list. It’s newsworthy and we will not be taking it down!” the site said.