The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday said that David C. Kernell, 20, the University of Tennessee student tied by Internet sleuths to the hacking of Alaska governor Sarah Palin's Yahoo Mail account, has been indicted.Andrew Sullivan links to an article by Scott Horton discussing the Department of Justice taking on the hacker more fervently than they ever have.
A federal grand jury in Knoxville, Tenn., indicted Kernell on Tuesday for intentionally accessing Palin's e-mail account without authorization. The indictment alleges that Kernell reset the account's password by answering several password recovery security questions, that he read Palin's e-mail, made screenshots, and that he posted that information and the account's password on a public Web site.
Generally the Department has not acted in cases in which the result of the intrusion is merely to embarrass the target, for a fairly obvious reason. At best we’re only talking about a misdemeanor. The Palin email hacking case quite plainly falls into this category. So what is going on?On Friday, an independent "legislative investigation has concluded that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power in pushing for the firing of an Alaska state trooper who was once married to her sister, or by failing to prevent her husband Todd from doing so." Shouldn't they be commending this young man for flushing out the truth that Gov. Sarah Palin refused to turn over despite a FOIA request?
The Justice Department seems to be setting one of its amazing new rules. When a Republican political figure is damaged in her expectation of being elected to office, it is telling us, that’s a felony. And why is that the case here? Because the hacker helped establish something important: Sarah Palin has been systematically violating the Open Records Act.
In fact, the hacker in question helped flush out Palin’s violations. The hacker also helped establish a motive for the illegal conduct: Palin regularly involved her husband in official business, and it’s easy to understand why she did not want to leave behind evidence of her husband’s involvement.
Other links of interest to this:
Palin Comes Under Fire for using Yahoo email for State Business
Bill O'Reilly gets schooled on the First Amendment by Fox News Cooresponent. (via Boing Boing)