Hackers have reportedly broken into US Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's Yahoo email account and posted some of the contents on the internet.
US VP candidate Sarah Palin
(Credit: Thomas Roche)
A number of media outlets overnight reported disclosure site WikiLeaks has published a number of the emails, with Wired reporting at least one of the messages had been verified as being authentic.
Palin is also the Governor of the US state of Alaska. The e-mail address that was reportedly hacked was firstname.lastname@example.org. An anonymous internet hacking group has taken credit for the intrusion.
"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 emails will destroy them," the McCain campaign said in a statement.
The Secret Service contacted The Associated Press today and asked for copies of the leaked emails on her Yahoo! account, which circulated widely on the internet. The AP did not comply.
The disclosure today raises new questions about the propriety of the Palin administration's use of non-government email accounts to conduct state business. The practice was revealed months ago, prior to Palin's selection as a vice presidential candidate, after political critics obtained internal emails documenting the practice by some aides.
One person whose email to Palin apparently was among those disclosed, Amy McCorkell, declined to discuss her correspondence.
"I do not know anything about it," McCorkell said. "I'm not giving you any comment." Wired said McCorkell later confirmed that she did send the email to Palin.
Another of the emails apparently revealed today was an exchange in July with Alaska Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell discussing a talk show host who had been critical of Parnell. Parnell declined to discuss the matter.
Palin herself used "gov.sarah" in her email address, and her husband used "fek9wnr" in his address. "Fe" is the representation for iron, and "k9" is an abbreviation for canine. Todd Palin was the winner of the grueling Iron Dog snowmobile race, and "fek9wnr" also is Todd Palin's vehicle license tag in Alaska.
It wasn't immediately clear how hackers broke into Palin's Yahoo! account, but it could have been possible to trick the service into revealing her password knowing personal details about Palin that include her birthdate and ZIP code.
A hacker also might have sent a forged email to her account tricking her into revealing her own password.
McCorkell was appointed by Palin to an advisory board on issues involving alcohol and drug abuse. One of the leaked emails suggested McCorkell wrote to Palin on Sunday to say she was praying for Palin. "Don't let the negative press get you down!" the message said.
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