- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hackers broke into a Yahoo e-mail account belonging to Republican vice-presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin, turning up personal e-mails and photos from state officials and family members.

The McCain campaign verified the breach and strongly condemned “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 e-mails will destroy them. We will have no further comment,” the campaign said.

The leaked e-mails had circulated on the Internet on Wednesday. As of late Wednesday, screenshots were posted on Gawker.com.

It wasn’t immediately known how hackers were able to break into the Yahoo account.

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The substance of the e-mails appeared relatively inconsequential, but they add to an existing furor as Mrs. Palin and others in her state administration routinely have used private Yahoo e-mail accounts to conduct official state business. The practice was revealed months ago after internal e-mails among aides were obtained by critics, leading to accusations that her administration was trying to circumvent state open public records laws.

Amy B. McCorkell, one person whose e-mail to the Republican vice-presidential candidate was exposed, told Wired.com that she did send one of the messages, in which she urged Mrs. Palin not to “let the negative press wear you down!”

In another e-mail exchange that was leaked, Mrs. Palin and Alaska Lt. Gov Sean Parnell discussed a talk-show host who had been critical of him. She called the host “so inconsistent and intentionally misleading.”

Gawker.com posted photos and dozens of e-mail contacts from the screenshots, which it also published. The gossip site said a group known as Anonymous had claimed responsibility for the hack.

“It’s newsworthy and we will not be taking it down,” Gawker.com said in its posting. The site said it called a phone number listed for Bristol Palin, the governor’s daughter, and got her voicemail.

The McCain campaign and some commentators have lashed out at the media for what they say is unfair coverage of Mrs. Palin since she was tapped as Mr. McCain’s running mate earlier this month.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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