Palin's hacked email account -- what's next?

Jake Turcotte

The news buzz last night was all about Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's hacked email account.

Palin's personal Yahoo account was apparently plundered  late Tuesday evening and the contents of the account -- personal emails, email addresses of her parents, children and friends, private family photos, and phone numbers -- were published all over the Internet Wednesday.

Shocking invasion

News of the break-in received a harsh response from the McCain campaign.

“This is a shocking invasion of the governor’s privacy and a violation of law,” McCain's campaign manager said. “The matter has been turned over to the appropriate authorities, and we hope that anyone in possession of these e-mails will destroy them.”

Those appropriate authorities are the FBI and the Secret Service as they've teamed up to investigate the breach.

Yeah, but...

The hacking community however isn't really in to the "authority thing."

Upon word of Davis's statement, one blogger at said - we think with a touch of sarcasm - "I guess we'll have to blow up the internet now?"

Ryan Tate over at Gawker doesn't condone the break-in but said the hacker "succeeded in reviving the unanswered question of why the Alaska governor had two quasi-official email addresses."

"This use of the accounts is a naked affront to public records laws in Alaska," Tate writes.  "But it's not exceptional: It's one battle in a 30-years war between conservatives and civil libertarians over government openness, during which the current presidential administration itself blurred the lines between public and private email. Is there any way to finally stop these hijinks?"

Why use Yahoo?

The topic of whether Palin should be using a personal account for state business has been subject of a lot of talk recently.  Two days before the email account was hacked, the Anchorage Daily News discussed it.

"Even before the McCain campaign plucked Palin from Alaska, a controversy was brewing over e-mails in the governor's office. Was the administration trying to get around the public records law through broad exemptions or private e-mail accounts?" the newspaper asked.


The British IT website The Register published an article early this morning with the wonderfully attractive headline:  Memo to US Secret Service:  Net proxy may pinpoint Palin email hackers.

Translation?  If the feds were to contact an individual named Gabriel Ramuglia they might be able to track down the, as President Bush and Aquaman would say, "evil-doers."

The 25-year-old webmaster and entrepreneur is the operator of, the browsing proxy service used by the group that hacked into the vice presidential candidate's personal email account and exposed its contents to the world. While he has yet to examine his logs, he says there's a good chance they will lead to those responsible, thanks to some carelessness on their part.
"Usually, this sort of thing would be hard to track down because it's Yahoo email, and a lot of people use my service for that," he told El Reg in a phone interview. "Since they were dumb enough to post a full screenshot

Act now and save

The article, written by a San Francisco based reporter named Dan Goodin, suggests the law enforcement communities get working now as the logs on the server which house this information expires in seven days.

Ramuglia told The Register he would "probably" comply with requests from law enforcement but has not yet been contacted.

Karl Rove

Former Bush strategist, Karl Rove, gets brought up nearly every time a controversy with a Republican candidate emerges.  No different this morning.  Farhad Manjoo, over at Slate, this morning says the use of the Yahoo based email is "Rovian" in nature.

"The Yahoo breach does raise a few questions about Palin's e-mail habits," Manjoo wrote.   "Why was she using Yahoo? Critics say she was taking a page from Karl Rove, who cooked up the idea of using an off-site e-mail address to confound investigations of his activities in the Bush administration."

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