The Washington Times - September 22, 2008, 05:54PM

Federal investigators raided the apartment of the son of a Democratic delegate in Tennessee over the weekend as part of an investigation into the hacking of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin‘s Yahoo e-mail account last week, according to media reports.

Rep. Mike Kernell, Memphis Democrat, last week rebutted reports that his son, David Kernell, a 20-year-old student at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, had been contacted by authorities.


“David’s never been contacted,” Mr. Kernell told the Washington Times on Thursday. Asked whether his son had any involvement in the case, he said, “I can’t talk about my son.”

Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney on Monday confirmed “investigatory activity in the Knoxville area related to the government’s inquiry into the allegations that Governor Sarah Palin’s personal e-mail account and that of her staff and family had been illegally hacked.” She would not elaborate further, but the Associated Press, citing two unnamed sources, reported that FBI agents had searched David Kernell’s apartment for evidence tying him to the breach.

A spokesman for Mike Kernell said he was not available and declined to comment. A witness to the search told WBIR-TV, the NBC affiliate in Knoxville, that investigators took pictures of the apartment for about two hours. The witness said subpoenas were issued to David Kernell’s three roommates.

Last week’s hack of the Republican vice presidential nominee’s Yahoo e-mail account revealed a few personal messages and some family photos. The hacker used an Internet address that authorities traced to David Kernell’s Knoxville apartment complex, according to the AP.

A person claiming to be the hacker later said he or she used publicly available data, including Mrs. Palin’s birthdate, zip code and where she met her husband, to reset the password to “popcorn.” The person said he or she wanted to find incriminating evidence that would “derail the campaign.”

Following news of the hack, the McCain campaign put out a statement calling it a “shocking invasion of the governor’s privacy and a violation of law.”

By Kara Rowland , technology reporter