Talk:Sarah Palin email hack

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Sufficient notability?[edit]

"David Kernell" appears in 156 000 hits on google and appears in 2000 reliable sources only counting those tracked by Google News. Hobartimus (talk) 13:58, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Still, take into account that he could fall under WP:BLP1E (living persons famous for one event) if he "remains a low-profile individual" after the event, and this page then could be merged into Anonymous_(group)#Illegal_access_of_Sarah_Palin.27s_Yahoo.21_Mail_account. --Enric Naval (talk) 00:48, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
That was really funny :))), merge "David Kernell" into anonymous :), being known by your real name worldwide hardly makes you "anonymous" :). That aside this is covered at multiple articles 4chan Anonymous (group) if the event had an article about the hack itself maybe there. Hobartimus (talk) 11:42, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
Also we do not want to stretch the definition of "one event "to the point where we try to merge separate events that are weeks and months apart into "one event" that would lead us into territory where "person is only known for his involvement with politics, delete" type arguments. Hobartimus (talk) 12:56, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
Actually we could just re-write this article so it became an article about the hacking. :) The idea is that this is not a biograhical article about his life, it's more an article about the hacking and the judicial process for it. --Enric Naval (talk) 16:51, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
The hacking already had an article but it was deleted at Afd. A new article on it has to be very strong to gain clear consensus for "keep". Such an article is being prepared but not finished yet. Hobartimus (talk) 16:56, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
That's correct; see Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Sarah Palin E-Mail-Hack. I think media coverage is very close to the point where recreation of that article would be justified. And if that occurs, I would support changing this article to a redirect. — Satori Son 17:16, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Good move, Scott. Retitling to the name of the event is the appropriate course of action. the skomorokh 18:01, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, I meant to post a note here in advance but got distracted. The article will need a bit of a tidy now, if anyone wants to help.--Scott MacDonald (talk) 18:03, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

"Results 1 - 10 of about 756,000 for hillary clinton campaign hostage", Hillary Clinton presidential campaign office hostage crisis redirects to Hillary_Clinton_presidential_campaign,_2008#New_Hampshire_campaign_office_hostage-taking, and that section isn't even in the article anymore. Hostages? Don't mention it. Reset someone's password and it's off with your head.. Switzpaw (talk) 23:46, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for that find, that topic is definitely notable based on the information you provided and it was restored as a standalone article. I'm sure it would pass Afd with flying colors. Hobartimus (talk) 02:36, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
Well here we go.. I was wondering what happened to that guy. :) Switzpaw (talk) 02:43, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm going through and cleaning up the link rot over there. Hope you keep this one in shape when everyone's forgotten about it, otherwise, seeya next year. Switzpaw (talk) 03:17, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

Merge tidying[edit]

The info belonging in this article is scattered across the histories of Mike Kernell, Sarah Palin and Anonymous_(group)#Illegal_access_of_Sarah_Palin.27s_Yahoo.21_Mail_account. If at some point someone wants to develop this comprehensively, they should start there. the skomorokh 18:00, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

See also User:Hobartimus/sandbox2. the skomorokh 18:01, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
I've done the Mike Kernell and Anon merges; two to go. the skomorokh 18:32, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Malkin blog[edit]

It appears that Michelle Malkin's blog is used repeatedly as a source for this article. Blogs are usually considered unreliable sources, especially for topics related to living persons. Unless we're just using it as a source for Malkin's views, we should find a better source. Does anyone argue that she is an expert on email hacking? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 03:52, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Who would be this living person you talk about? Hobartimus (talk) 15:32, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
That would be David Kernell. --Enric Naval (talk) 17:30, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Will, if I'm not mistaken this was discussed at length elsewhere and there was consensus for inclusion. Try the talkpages of the contributory articles listed above. There may have been something at User talk:Giggy also. Regards, the skomorokh 15:54, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Links to the archived discussions: Talk:Anonymous_(group)/Archive_2#Sarah_Palin.27s_E_mail_account_in_Yahoo and User_talk:Giggy/Archive/September_2008#using_malking_to_source_facts. --Enric Naval (talk) 17:30, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
Ah, thanks Enric. the skomorokh 17:34, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for finding the previous discussion, however I'm not persuaded. This is an anonymous email posted in a partisan blog. I think it's a dubious source for a contentious topic concerning living people engaged in a political campaign. There's no indication that the blogger did any fact checking, and even if she did she still a blogger writing outside of her expertise. I don't think this is an adequate source for items that don't have other confirmation. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 17:44, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Why not just quote the sentence that's about a living person? Who is this living person you keep talking about? This was asked above also but it seems you missed it. Hobartimus (talk) 17:55, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
So far as I'm aware, everybody involved in this is still alive. Regardless of BLP, an anonymous email posted in a political blog during a campaign is a dubious source. Why can't we find better sources that cover the same material? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 18:00, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
It's very confusing if we don't know what living person you talk about and even what sentence is supposed to be problematic. What claim was made about any living person that you object to? Hobartimus (talk) 18:23, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
My objection is to the source and everything derived from it. Again, it's an anonymous email posted to a partisan, non-technical blog during a contentious campaign. By what stretch could we consider that to be a reliable source? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 18:29, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
Unless someone can argue for this being a reliable source, I'm going to delete it and any material that has it as the only source. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 01:53, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
It's not an anonmous email, it was a public post on a public board on 4chan. The post was signed as "rubico" shortly after the email account got locked, and I saw at least one blog saying that it had to be a troll post because it was very easy to find in google a link between the rubico handle and David Kernell. It turned out later when checking the proxy logs that there was an actual link to David Kernell, but nobody had any proof then except for that posting, and nobody had suspected him until that post was done, and nobody had any clue about the identity of the hacker except that he was a reader of 4chan. So, it's more than probably an authentic post made by David himself and I think that readers of 4chan would have complained very loudly if that post had never been done to the board. As for why he would make the mistake of signing with his handle, well, he already had made the mistake of using only one proxy when hacking the email of an important politician. I dunno, maybe he was unexperienced. --Enric Naval (talk) 11:45, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
Until Kernell is convicted we can't confirm that he posted that comment. What can be confirmed is the fact of the posting of the comment by the hacker, this was done on a high traffic, completely public board, really undisputed. This fact is well known widely reported and uncontroversial. Really no different as if someone posts to to the highest traffic portion of wikipedia seen by tens of thousands or more people reported by the news and then someone would try to dispute the fact that the posting happened. Hobartimus (talk) 12:07, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
Exactly. The hacker posted the comment, but he could have been impersonating David to avoid getting caught by the FBI (maybe a student from his same residency who would know what handle he used, and would have the same IP on the internet as the computers on the residency probably all share the same public IP). We only know that it's most probably an authentic post made by the hacker himself. --Enric Naval (talk) 17:49, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
"Most probably an authentic post made by the hacker himself"? It might be appropriate to have a mention of this email, but we shouldn't use it as a source for facts. If this is still disputed I'll make a posting over at WP:RSN. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 20:07, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
ok --Enric Naval (talk) 20:35, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
I've started a thread at WP:RSN#Anonymous letter posted on political blog. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:22, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
Per that thread, I've removed the Malkin source and marked the items with no other sources with the {fact} tag. Let's find sources and remove promptly anything that is unverifiable. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 04:18, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
This article needs a healthy sprinkling of the "allegedly" word on the appropiate places --Enric Naval (talk) 15:58, 18 October 2008 (UTC)


Was there a deletion review on the recreation of the article, which was deleted under Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Sarah Palin E-Mail-Hack? That version was deleted but userified at User:Hobartimus/sandbox2. seicer | talk | contribs 15:03, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

This is a different article, created from content in the David Kernell, Sarah Palin and Anonymous (group) articles. The sandbox content has yet to be integrated. This is not a repost of the deleted article. the skomorokh 15:05, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. I made a mention in my closing argument that I would hold no prejudice over its recreation if more developments came along. seicer | talk | contribs 15:09, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
Great - is the deleted version still off limits pending a DRV or can we use some of the sandboxed content? the skomorokh 15:11, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
Feel free to use any of the content that is available. seicer | talk | contribs 15:55, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
Grazi, the skomorokh 15:56, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

The Palin side of the controversy[edit]

As it was formed from the David Kernell article, this article focuses very much on the hacker side of the controversy. It is my understanding that there was quite a lot of attention on Palin's side of things - criticism of the inadequate security measures on the account and the allegation that she used the account for government business. Is this the case? If so, can someone add a section on it to the article? the skomorokh 15:13, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

  • There was an allegation that she used the account for government business, but I thought the hacker didn't find such e-mails on the account, so I don't know how much there is to say about that. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 15:27, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
The entire affair is fairly well documented at the encyclopedia dramatica page, found at www.ED(expand this).com/The_Incident. ED is, of course, by far the most reliable source that has ever been used on Wikipedia. {fact} Nevertheless, they do tend to chronicle anon actions such as this pretty well, and they have links to everything that was obtained. It would be pretty easy to find out the answer to this question. For what it's worth, the ED page claims Palin was conversing with an aide via email about using the email for gov't business, but that would be easily verifiable via the wikileaks page, linked to at the bottom of the article. Throwaway85 (talk) 05:28, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
  • Mainstream media provides corroboration of this via NYTimes: "Interviews show that Ms. Palin runs an administration that puts a premium on loyalty and secrecy. The governor and her top officials sometimes use personal e-mail accounts for state business; dozens of e-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that her staff members studied whether that could allow them to circumvent subpoenas seeking public records." [1] The corroboration warrants inclusion of the fact that public business was conducted by Palin on personal accounts. The fact that the hacker did not realize this was relevant does not make it irrelevant to the full understanding of the event. Does anyone have objections? Jaydubya93 (talk) 16:14, 3 January 2014 (UTC)


This has been moved?[edit]

This has been moved without discussion to Sarah Palin email hack from Sarah Palin email controversy, Why? And why no prior discussion?--Scott MacDonald (talk) 17:11, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Because it is a recreation of a previously Afd-d article of the same name. And the small fact that there is no such thing as "Sarah Palin email controversy" it's a typical "by Wikipedia made up" title without any real world usage, see google search results and compare vs "Sarah Palin email hack". Hobartimus (talk) 17:16, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
Apart from "mojoblog" and 7 sources of similar ilk, nobody uses "Sarah Palin email controversy" on all of the internet. Hobartimus (talk) 17:19, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Piping the categories[edit]

When indicating the categories assigned to this page, we should use the pipe to place this article in its appropriate alphabetic position in each category. For Category:Sarah Palin, it should be under E for "email hack", because every article in that category is related to Sarah Palin. But for non-Sarah Palin-specific categories, it should be under P for "Palin" (as opposed to S for "Sarah"). --Metropolitan90 (talk) 05:07, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Hack or not a hack?[edit]


Davies filed a separate motion that asked the court to prohibit the prosecution, and witnesses from referring to Kernell as a hacker, or referring to his crime as “hacking”. Kernell’s attorney believes that those terms do not accurately describe the actions that Kernell performed. Davies stated that "hacking" is generally referred to the use of "specialized computer skills to break codes and often to do damage to remote computers" and does not refer to an individual who merely guessed the answers to security questions to gain access to someone’s account.

Given this, is it fair to call this incident a "hack"? Doesn't that show POV? I move that we rename this article to something like "Sarah Palin email incident". --beefyt (talk) 18:36, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

We do not make rulings here, we follow and report what reliable sources say. When consensus among reliable sources says it was a hack we don't overrule them, we say it was a hack, simple as that. Hobartimus (talk) 18:49, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

I disagree. This is not a hack. To quote the wiktionary:

  1. (computing) To accomplish a difficult programming task.
  1. (computing) To make a quick code change to patch a computer program.
  1. To work on an intimately technical level.

The kid simply guessed the answer to a security question. The use of the word "hack" in news stories and by the prosecution is quite simply sensationalism, and frankly I believe wikipedia should live to a higher standard. At the very least it should try and maintain some semblance of consistency, so unless someone wants to add "guessing birthdays" to the list of definitions for "hack" in the wiktionary, I strongly suggest the word "hack" be removed from this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Guitpicker07 (talkcontribs) 09:39, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

I agree wholeheartedly. It is, in fact, what brought me to this article. There simply was no hacking involved. That the mainstream media is ignorant of the proper usage of the term does not mean Wikipedia should repeat their mistakes. I don't think it takes anything away from the article to call it the "Sarah Palin email breach". I find 'incident' is too generic. Breach is both descriptive and correct. I'll wait a couple days and then I'll go ahead and make the changes. Similarly, i intend to replace "hacker" with "attacker", where it occurs in the article. Throwaway85 (talk) 20:11, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Well I think the point was is "hacker" was used in all the news reports regarding the incident. There was something like a few thousand hits on this in google news at the time and most of them used hacking. The question is can we overrule a huge number of reliable sources and make up our own usage or follow the one established by reliable sources. See this article from the Time for example. What's further wikitionary is user edited clearly there is an established definition of hacking that's appropriate here. For example none of "social engineering" type hacks - when the human element is attacked to reveal passwords and then the password is used to log on- involve "accomplishing a difficoult computer task" etc. Hobartimus (talk) 21:51, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
A few more articles [1] [2] [3]. In many articles there is great debate on how to name some event or person, and often wikipedia-only or wikipedia-invented names are used, but here we don't have to resort to such things as a consensus of reliable sources can be found as to what to call this incident. Hobartimus (talk) 21:57, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
And I say, so what? The sources are all wrong. The news is an echo chamber, and sometimes when they are wrong, they are all wrong. Her password was weak and could be guessed from reading her wikipedia article. Ha! That is not in dispute right? This is like leaving your front door unlocked and then saying someone broke in when someone just walks in. Yes it's still unauthorized entry and still illegal, but I don't care if every news station in the country says someone broke in: you should know, and I know it's false. The article falsely characterizes his actions as computer hacking, when it plain to see it isn't. Pointing at all the other folks who are wrong just goes to show how mediocrity rules in these sorts of moderated environments. Gripdamage (talk) 18:17, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
Read up on WP:OR and get back to us. We don't draw conclusions or judge statements here at WP, all we do is report what sources say. If the overwhelming majority of reliable sources refers to an incident as a "hack," then as far as we're concerned, it is. If you can find some WP:RS that definitively address the issue of whether or not it is a hack and conclude that it is not, then you have a case for changing the term. Until then, WP:NPOV and WP:OR dictate that we go by the sources, and call it a hack, no matter what our personal opinions may be. Bstbll (talk) 04:31, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

Revisions for quality and relevance[edit]

The edits represented in this version of this article were made to enhance the quality of this article by removing redundancies, organizing information, and removing irrelevant material. Specifically, the details of how the hacker was traced are already detailed in the "investigation" section. The details about exactly what happened on the 4chan message boards are not especially notable, so I edited this section specifically:

On September 17, 2008, the private Yahoo! Mail account of Sarah Palin, Republican vice presidential candidate in the 2008 United States presidential election, was hacked by a 4chan user.[1] The hacker known as "Rubico" at the time targeted Palin because he wanted to "derail her campaign."[2]After reading through all of Palin's email the Rubico wrote "There was nothing there, nothing incriminating — all I saw was personal stuff, some clerical stuff from when she was governor," [2] Rubico wrote that he used the Sarah Palin Wikipedia article to find out Palin's exact birthday in "15 seconds", one of the standard security questions used by Yahoo. [3] The hacker posted the account's password on /b/ a channel of 4chan, and screenshots from within the account to Wikileaks.[4] A /b/ user then logged in and changed the password, posting a screenshot of his sending an email to a friend of Palin's informing her of the new password on the /b/ thread. However, he forgot to blank out the password in the screenshot.[5] A multitude of /b/ users attempted to log in with the new password, the account was automatically locked out by Yahoo!. The incident was criticized by some /b/ users, one of which complained that "seriously, /b/. We could have changed history and failed, epically."[6] The hacker admitted he was worried about being caught, writing "Yes I was behind a proxy, only one, if this shit ever got to the FBI I was fucked, I panicked, I still wanted the stuff out there . . . so I posted the [information] . . . and then promptly deleted everything, and unplugged my internet and just sat there in a comatose state." [3] The hacker left behind traces of his activity, his IP address was logged at CTunnel, the single proxy he used, he also left his email address when he posted at 4chan. Further the attacker revealed the original web address used by the proxy[7] by leaving this information in the screenshot which according to experts can also help the investigation[7]. 4chan is not archived, posts are only retained for a short time but with the great interest surrounding the posts of Rubico, many, including and others archived the original posts. The email address left behind was then connected to David Kernell through various social networking profiles where it was used[8], though no official investigation took place at this early time. John McCain's campaign condemned the incident saying it was a "shocking invasion of the governor's privacy and a violation of law". [7] Barack Obama spokesman Bill Burton called the hacking "outrageous." [3]

The revised version below preserves the relevant details and references of the incident itself:

On September 17, 2008, Palin's private email account was breached by hacker seeking to "derail her campaign".[1][2] He posted the account's password and several screenshots on public websites.[9]

The hacker wrote that he defeated Yahoo!'s security system by searching for Palin's personal information on Wikipedia and other Internet sources.[3]

Other details, such as the campaign response, have been moved to other sections. I could not locate any reference which says that Yahoo! locked the account, so I removed this detail. If anything is wrong with these edits, please let me know and I will make necessary changes. In general, I don't think reverting non-vandalism is very productive. --beefyt (talk) 19:54, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Thank's for taking it to talk, the main problem is that you removed about 3000 bytes worth of content (about 30% of the article) if a couple of "non-vandalism" edits like this happen after each other we are left with 10% of the article. Yahoo locked the account after the password was posted in a by then high visibility thread and hundreds possibly more tried to log in at the same time. The fact that you can't find a reference for this minor fact probably only means that the stuff is not "current event" any more most details are now in the archives section in google news or wherever. Given the title of the article I don't see how giving less detail on the main topic of the article is an enhancement. Do you see any part in the current version that absolutely needs to be deleted minor deletions are OK but let's try to preserve content/add new info so article content is somewhat maintained. Hobartimus (talk) 21:11, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I think the events that took place on 4chan should not be included because (in my opinion) these details are not relevant. Also, I don't think the article is improved by any of the quotes currently included. These passages should be rewritten or removed. What do you think? I'm going to start slowly restoring my changes in a hopefully less controversial and more incremental fashion, starting with organizational changes, and we can work from there. --beefyt (talk) 00:07, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
All this detail is necessary to explain what happened. The short text makes it look as if everything was done by one person (rubico was not the one who o. It also loses that it's an attack done by a collective (Anonymous) and not by an individual, and how most of the emails could not be read because someone changed the password.
Why not post a summary like that at the top of the article, and move all the details to a "how the attack was done" section at the bottom of the article, for people who want to read all the details? --Enric Naval (talk) 07:11, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Point taken. How about this?
On September 17, 2008, Palin's private email account was breached by hacker seeking to "derail her campaign".[1][2]
He posted the account's password and several screenshots of Palin's inbox the public websites 4chan and Wikileaks.[10] Soon after, another 4chan user[who?] changed the password, and posted a screenshot of an email he sent from Palin's account to Palin campaign aide Ivy Frye informing her of the new password. [11] However, he forgot to blank out the password in the screenshot.[citation needed] The account was then automatically suspended by Yahoo! when multiple users attempted to log in with the new password.[citation needed]
The hacker wrote that he defeated Yahoo!'s security system by searching for Palin's personal information on Wikipedia and other Internet sources.[3]
I restored the information about the password resets and tried to clarify things a bit. Some more references are needed, though. I also think a sentence or two could be added about the role of Anonymous in the incident. Is this version good enough to replace the existing "Incident" section? --beefyt (talk) 00:56, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
I really don't get it. The original version had 24 references, you delete some of them and then complain that "some more references are needed". Why not go find these additional references before deleting anything? At the time of the events there were thousands of references available on the case I'm sure some of them can be tracked down. Also the article is actually pretty good for it's size the average wiki article has what like 2-3 references at most? Hobartimus (talk) 10:12, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
You're right, I didn't look closely enough at the existing references. I went back and restored the Sarno reference and added some more information from this and other references. One thing I had to change was "However, he forgot to blank out the password in the screenshot and the account was subsequently suspended by Yahoo! when multiple users attempted to log in with the new password." to "However, he also posted the new password and the account soon became inaccessible, either because it was suspended by Yahoo! when multiple users attempted to log in simultaneously or another user changed the password." as suggested by Sarno. I couldn't find any other mention of this event in the other references. --beefyt (talk) 23:14, 9 January 2009 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b c Ted Bridis (2008-09-17). "Hackers claim break-in to Palin's e-mail account". Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-09-17. Cite error: The named reference "PalinAP" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference "PalinAP" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ a b c d Rowland, Kara (2008-09-19). "Hacker wanted to 'derail' Palin". The Washingon Times. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
  3. ^ a b c d e New York Post DEM POL'S SON WAS 'HACKER' Cite error: The named reference "nypost" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference "nypost" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  4. ^ Tom Phillips (2008-09-17). "Sarah Palin's email gets hacked". Metro. Retrieved 2008-09-17. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  5. ^ M. J. Stephey (2008-09-17). "Sarah Palin's E-mail Hacked". TIME. Retrieved 2008-09-17. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  6. ^ David Sarno (2008-09-17). "4Chan's half-hack of Palin's email goes awry". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-09-17. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  7. ^ a b c BBC Student suspect in Palin hacking
  8. ^ Los Angeles Times Kid in Palin hack fuss gets a digital hit-and-run
  9. ^ Tom Phillips (2008-09-17). "Sarah Palin's email gets hacked". Metro. Retrieved 2008-09-17. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  10. ^ Tom Phillips (2008-09-17). "Sarah Palin's email gets hacked". Metro. Retrieved 2008-09-17. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  11. ^ M. J. Stephey (2008-09-17). "Sarah Palin's E-mail Hacked". TIME. Retrieved 2008-09-17. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)

Screenshots of inbox[edit]

Should we include the screenshots of Palin's inbox in the article? Is that legal? Certainly seems relevant. --beefyt (talk) 03:01, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

I have no idea but there are some people around who are pretty good with legal stuff, try some noticeboards. Hobartimus (talk) 08:09, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Article probation[edit]

This is a notification that articles related to Sarah Palin (broadly construed) have been placed by the community on article probation. See Talk:Sarah Palin/Article probation‎ for details. Thanks - Kelly hi! 17:54, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Now lifted.   Will Beback  talk  23:30, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

Date of the breach[edit]

I am semi new here, so I am not 100% on the reliable source issue...but... The breach took place on the 16th, not 17th. Ukvilly (talk) 02:51, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

/b/ users???[edit]

What's that? Can we find term, the average reader might understand. Splette :) How's my driving? 07:24, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

The previous sentence says "The hacker posted the account's password on /b/, an image board on 4chan," is that not enough? --beefyt (talk) 21:21, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. Doesn't Wikipedia have an article on /b/, or just 4chan? Either way, we should probably just throw up a link for anyone who's confused. Throwaway85 (talk) 20:12, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
AFAICT all 4chan references are now linked. Jaydubya93 (talk) 17:08, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Update: ‘Most Disruptive’ Campaign Event[edit]

Palin Calls E-Mail Hack ‘Most Disruptive’ Campaign Event [4]
  • Never mind the disastrous interview with Katie Couric or the blank stares in response to Charlie Gibson’s question about the Bush Doctrine. Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin calls the hacking of her Yahoo e-mail account “the most disruptive and discouraging” incident in last year’s presidential campaign.
  • Writing in her new book, Going Rogue: An American Life, Palin says the intrusion into her personal e-mail account in September 2008 “created paralysis” in her administration, because it cut off easy communication with her “Alaska staff.” Presumably, this refers to her staff in the governor’s office, which would seem to be an acknowledgment that the personal account was used to conduct critical state work, as alleged in an activist’s lawsuit last year.

And so on. The article should be updated with this info.   Will Beback  talk  22:12, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

Possible prison sentence[edit]

The article cites several sources stating that the max sentence for the crime is 5 years, but a Huffington Post news article says "Convictions on all four felony charges – identity theft, wire fraud, intentionally accessing Palin's e-mail account without authorization and obstructing an FBI investigation – could send Kernell to prison for up to 50 years.". I didn't see anywere in the article saying 50 years, can anyone confirm if this article is true or a typo or something? If the HuffPost's news articles are considered reliable sources, it's probably notable if true. CIGraphix (talk) 15:39, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

That is a new development for sure. Early in the case it was only one felony charge, no such a thing as obstructing an FBI investigation (where did that come from, what could it mean?). So that's certainly new. Look it cannot be a typo as there are numerous charges listed those cant all be typos right? One felony charge of account access carries 5 years but there is a lot more listed there. Best to look at some more sources and insert it into the article. Hobartimus (talk) 21:22, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Originally, Kernell was charged with a misdemeanor and a felony, facing a total of 5 years. His lawyer and various legal experts pointed out that the felony he was accused of hadn't happened, since the other crime he was accused of was only a misdemeanor. In response, the prosecution shoveled on a few more felonies, bumping the max sentence up to 50 years. Burzmali (talk) 18:00, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Misleading statement[edit]

The article cites several sources stating that "FBI agents served a federal search warrant at the Knoxville Tennessee residence of David Kernell. Kernell, according to witnesses, fled the scene when the FBI agents arrived.[22]" An article By Bill Poovey | The Associated Press posted, quotes Kernell's former college roommate, Omiecinski, the first government witness, under oath saying that "he and others were having a party in Kernell's absence at their apartment days later when FBI agents seized Kernell's laptop. He said Kernell afterward always told him to tell the truth about what happened." The statement that Kernell fled the scene is not supported and in fact contradicted and should be removed from the article. Constitutionguard (talk) 09:27, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

I removed that statement. That statement was sourced, but the source was a "breaking news" story from 2008 that cited an unidentified person who claimed to be a witness. That's not good enough for Wikipedia, particularly when the content is a defamatory statement about a living person. --Orlady (talk) 02:56, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

correct changes[edit]

The existing statement in the second paragraph is unsupported and incorrectly lists the charges filed against Kernell. Specifically, it omits the word "anticipatory" in the obstruction of justice change. This will prove to be important as one of Kernell's appeal deals with the legality of this charge. The following was taken from an article by Susan Brenner, Professor of Law and Technology, dated May 19, 2010, from a featured blog of CircleId, entitled Malware and Search Warrants - The article discusses various issues of the case, and highlights a few points of the upcoming appeals. " October 7, 2008, [Kernell] was charged by indictment with a single count of felony unauthorized access of a computer. On February 3, 2009, [he] was charged in a four-count Superseding Indictment with identity theft, wire fraud, computer fraud, and anticipatory obstruction of justice." The entry should be corrected to reflect accurately the charges and dates involved Constitutionguard (talk) 09:39, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

Again, " The four separate felony counts were: intentionally accessing an account without authorization, identity theft, wire fraud, and obstruction of an FBI investigation. is not the same as "identity theft, wire fraud, computer fraud, and anticipatory obstruction of justice." Anticipatory obstruction of justice, is a legal defination that usually applies to corporations, specifically, the law was written because of the Enron Corportation's immediate distruction of documents that it was required to keep. Individiduals are not required to keep documents, and one of the the appeals of this conviction centers on this prong. Kernell deleted 5 screen captures of her inbox from his computer, and ran a defrag program all before there was any type of FBI investigation. Indeed, when he was contacted by the FBI, he put the computer on his desk for them to pick up according to court testimony. It is important the wikipedia article at least get the charges correct. Please correct this misrepresentation.Constitutionguard (talk) 01:49, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

David Kernell[edit]


(Help cancelled; question already answered on user talk page, User_talk:Constitutionguard  Chzz  ►  15:26, 19 June 2010 (UTC))

The following message was sent me because I added content to an article called david kernell, which had no content save a redirect to the sarah palin email hack article. The content I added was deleted. I add it here as requested, although I feel the proper place to discuss this is on the talk page of the article I changed, so I have added it there also.-

Please, seek community consensus before making changes to a controversial topic, as you consistently have been doing on the redirects related to David Kernell. I would advise you to discuss your concerns on Talk:Sarah Palin email hack (as you have already done with other issues you had with that article). Cheers, Waldir talk 09:51, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

My reply: I had sought community consensus before making the changes to David Kernell article, I placed these comments on that article's discussion page. see Talk: David kernell" Using a person's name to direct to an article that speaks to a particular incidence identifies that person directly with the directed article and the incident. This is against the policy of Wikipedia, which states that articles can not be generated about living people for one event. This link should be removed." I added this comment over a month ago. I added content to the article yesterday because it is indeed an article, not a redirect page, and thus should have content. As stated, I feel that its existance violates the the policy of Wikipedia, and is a politically motivated attack upon an individual. The fact is that Mr. Kernell is not the only one that obtained unauthorized access to Sarah Palin's account, rather at least five people did, according to trial testimony. I see no mention of them in the article, nor any redirects using variations of their name as is the case with Mr. Kernell Constitutionguard (talk)

The fact that your comment had no reply so far is the reason I suggested you to ask for further input here, as it is a page with more editors paying attention to (at the moment, 34 users have it on their watchlist) and you would surely have more chances to get feedback. Let's see what other people think about this.
Btw, regarding the lack of mention in the article about the five people: you're free to add info that you see fit — please do so, if this article's incomplete. Waldir talk 18:39, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

"Guessing" the password[edit]

On the page it says that Kernell "guessed" Palin's password, when it seems that he guessed the answers to the Yahoo! security questions, thereby enabling him to change her password. But her original password he never found out, so to say "guessed" seems wrong here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Isthmuses (talkcontribs) 20:26, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

True. The fact is that she did not set up the email account. It was done by Frank Bailey. He reported this under sworn testimony at the trial. He also closed the account and used his wife's credit card to pay for the upgrade that preserved the emails. Bailey selected the password and the secret questions and otherwise managed the account for Palin. He also told her and her husband that she should not use it due to security concerns. Kinda hard to claim it as her email account...since she did not set it up or have exclusive control over it. Constitutionguard (talk) 17:12, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

Scope of this article[edit]

(copied from Talk:David Kernell here for further discussion)

Hopefully it will not be deleted rather modified. The official court records supporting his notability beyond the main event, will not be available until next week. He is notable beyond the event because of the government's over response to the act. The federal government spent massive amounts of money on this case. He was never offered a plea bargain and now faces the maximum penalty for a crime that is rarely prosecuted. If he goes to jail, many will consider him a political prisoner. This will be of public interest, discussion and legal evaluation. The scope of the palin article is too narrow. Deleting all his name variations and redirects is productive and supports the ethics of Wiki, but a new article using court documents as support should be generated perhaps called, Constitutional Challenges of the David Kernell Prosecution, or some other name of equal meaning. (talk) 01:01, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
Remember that Wikipedia is not a crystal ball. Your statement contains lots of ifs and supposition that may not be appropriate for Wikipedia. Once the trial is done and there is some kind of legal or analytical scholarship that meets WP:RS then perhaps that's something an article here could explore, but for right now it's just a lot of original research and opinion, neither of which are appropriate here. Additionally, court records are primary soruces, which are inferior to secondary sources, generally speaking, per our sourcing policy -- precisely because there's too much opportunity for using them to reach novel syntheses of information that's not backed up by third-party sources. Do you have any reliable sources that discuss the potential for the trial to have some kind of constitutional impact? — e. ripley\talk 02:22, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
One further note: This discussion should really be happening at Sarah Palin email hack, not here, since this is likely to end up being a redirect, per the AFD. — e. ripley\talk 02:27, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
Check out Toward the end of the article –“I believe that the Kernell case might present an excellent situation for the Sixth Circuit to address the parameters of the 4thAmendment in the digital age, and the district court's actions in this case bears watching.” And later in the article “Maybe Mr. Kernell's case will give them the opportunity to do so, judging from the nature of his motion to suppress. Regardless, I believe this is an issue that is going to be addressed by higher courts in the immediate future, and the defense practitioner needs to take a second look at warrants that simply identify a 'computer' as the object of the search. POSTED BY RICHARD STRONG AT 9:58 AM. “That is one reference I could quickly come up with. Fact is that the trial is over. So is the email intrusion. The court documents are most factual record we have of what really happened in this complex situation. They are not open to interpretation, they are not novel. What comes from the court documents, the motions and decisions too are factual. The rulings of judges are factual. Unfortunately news reports fall short of correctly reporting the facts, this leads to misunderstanding and possible slander. Constitutionguard (talk) 04:54, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
(Again copied from Talk:David Kernell) - This blog posting is not a reliable source. Do you have a better source? If not, then these ideas cannot be included in any article.
Naturally court documents may be used to support the facts of the case that are appropriate to include, depending on what you're seeking to do with them. Much depends on what exactly you're wanting to insert. Remember that Wikipedia is a general interest encyclopedia, not a place to insert every piece of detail on the planet about a topic. It should recount the most relevant information, not every fact that's possible to include. Additionally, because primary documents often don't include all the context that's necessary to avoid inserting our own interpretation of events, Wikipedia considers secondary sources to be preferable in most instances; primary sources (such as a court document) can be used, but must not make any kind of analysis beyond the simple fact, per our neutral point of view policy, which states: Primary sources that have been reliably published may be used in Wikipedia, but only with care, because it is easy to misuse them. Any interpretation of primary source material requires a reliable secondary source for that interpretation. A primary source may only be used to make descriptive statements that can be verified by any educated person without specialist knowledge. For example, an article about a novel may cite passages to describe the plot, but any interpretation needs a secondary source. Do not make analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims about material found in a primary source.e. ripley\talk 11:34, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

Primary source[edit]

Not sure if this is already stated, but I found:

WhisperToMe (talk) 05:34, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

  • Poole's use as a government witness was listed on his own Wikipedia page. What would you like to do with this? Jaydubya93 (talk) 17:04, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Trial Verdict section[edit]

Is there any way to get the Sara Palin campaign banner deleted from the bottom of this article. Is Wikipedia being paid for this advertisement ? Constitutionguard (talk) 08:48, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

This has been done. Jaydubya93 (talk) 17:06, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

I would suggest that wording of the charges against David Kernell be changed to: On April 30, 2010, David Kernell was found guilty of the charges of Destruction, Alteration or Falsification of Records in Federal Investigations and unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer as a result of unauthorized access to a computer, but was acquitted on a charge of wire fraud.

This change more accurate describes the actual charges.

The fourth count of the indictment against David Kernell charges a violation of 18 § U.S.C. 159 (Destruction, Alteration or Falsification of Records in Federal Investigations), not anticipatory obstruction of justice. The third count of the indictment against David Kernell charges a violation of 18 § U.S.C. 1030 (unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer as a result of unauthorized access to a computer), not unauthorized access to a computer. ( source: ) The wording should probably be changed in the 3rd paragraph of the article as well.

Also, the sentence about Palin issuing a press release... I'd like to see a source on that. I know that Sarah Palin issued a statement on her facebook account, but that did not directly compare Watergate to this issue. I refer you to the 3rd paragraph of the article.

The current citation is now for CBS News, [1] Jaydubya93 (talk) 17:10, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

I'm a new user on Wikipedia and am a bit gunshy about pulling the trigger on an article edit. 03:39, 16 January 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mdaubrey (talkcontribs)