A person taking credit for hacking into Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's personal Yahoo account claims to have read the Republican vice-presidential candidate's e-mails to find something that "would derail her campaign" after using publicly available biographical data to reset her password, according to a posting on the Internet.
"There was nothing there, nothing incriminating — all I saw was personal stuff, some clerical stuff from when she was governor," the person wrote in a message on 4chan.org that was later erased, according to Wired.com, which copied the account on its Web site.
The hacker, who uses the screen name "Rubico" and used the e-mail account "email@example.com," read about Mrs. Palin's use of a Yahoo e-mail account in news reports and spent about 45 minutes on Google and Wikipedia tracking down answers to security questions, such as where she met her spouse, her birthdate and ZIP code, the hacker said. The person then changed Mrs. Palin's password to "popcorn."
Several conservative blogs, adding up circumstantial evidence, turned their focus Thursday on David Kernell, the son of a Democratic state lawmaker and a college student at the University of Tennessee.
But Tennessee state Rep. Mike Kernell, Memphis Democrat, last night disputed published newspaper reports, including one in the Tennessean that said his son was the focus of the Palin hack investigation.
"I talked to David today and he has not been contacted, not a target by any federal group, any investigation," Mr. Kernell told The Washington Times on Thursday night. He was answering phones at his office late into the evening to clear up inaccurate media reports, he said.
When asked whether his son is involved in the case in any way, Mr. Kernell said: "I can't talk about my son. I can just tell you no one has contacted him or I about this."
The breach came to light Wednesday after several screen shots revealing e-mails and personal photos from Mrs. Palin's account were found circulating on the Web. The FBI and the U.S. Secret Service are investigating.
The McCain campaign verified the hack on Wednesday, calling it a "shocking invasion of the governor's privacy and a violation of the law."
Rubico said that it was "just some prank to me," but later realized the hack was "serious business" that could result in trouble with federal authorities if discovered. The hacker did not respond to an e-mail from The Times sent to the address reportedly used by Rubico.