E-mailer duped Yahoo to acquire Palin's password
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WASHINGTON-- Details emerged yesterday regarding a break-in of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's e-mail account, including a first-hand declaration suggesting it was vulnerable because a hacker was able to impersonate her online to get her password.
The hacker guessed that Alaska's governor had met her husband in high school, and knew Ms. Palin's date of birth and home Zip code. Using those details, the hacker tricked Yahoo Inc.'s service into assigning a new password, "popcorn," for Ms. Palin's e-mail account, according to a chronology of the crime published on the Web site where the hacking was first revealed.
The FBI and Secret Service launched a formal investigation Wednesday. Yahoo declined to comment yesterday about details of the investigation, citing Ms. Palin's privacy and the sensitivity of such investigations.
Meanwhile, Ms. Palin's husband has refused to testify in the investigation of his wife's alleged abuse of power, and a key lawmaker yesterday said uncooperative witnesses are effectively sidetracking the probe until after Election Day.
Mr. Palin, who participates in state business in person or by e-mail, was among 13 people subpoenaed by the Alaska Legislature. McCain-Palin presidential campaign spokesman Ed O'Callaghan announced yesterday that Todd Palin would not appear, because he no longer believes that the Legislature's investigation is legitimate.
Ms. Palin initially welcomed the investigation of accusations that she dismissed the state's public safety commissioner because he refused to fire her ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper. But she has increasingly opposed it since Republican John McCain tapped her as his running mate.
The McCain campaign dispatched a legal team to Alaska including Mr. O'Callaghan, a former top U.S. terrorism prosecutor from New York to bolster Ms. Palin's local lawyer.
Earlier this week, Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg said the governor, who was not subpoenaed, declined to participate in the investigation, and that Palin administration employees who have been subpoenaed would not appear.
State Sen. Bill Wielechowski, a Democrat, said the McCain campaign is doing all it can to prevent the Legislature's completing a report on whether the GOP vice-presidential nominee abused her power as governor.
Mr. Wielechowski, a member of the panel that summoned the witnesses, said they can avoid testifying for months without penalty.
First Published September 19, 2008 12:09 am