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Student goes to federal prison for hacking Sarah Palin's e-mail


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#1 Caspa

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 11:22 PM

Source at BBC News

A man who broke into Sarah Palin's e-mail has been imprisoned - despite being told he might be spared jail.

David Kernell, 23, was found guilty last year of illegally accessing Mrs Palin's e-mail during the 2008 presidential campaign.

At the time, a judge suggested he should serve his year-long sentence in a halfway house.

But after intervention from US government officials he is now in federal prison, the BBC has learned.

Officials confirmed that Mr Kernell reported on 10 January to begin serving his time at a federal corrections institute in Ashland, Kentucky.

That is not the situation that his friends and family were hoping for, however.

During a hearing in November, Judge Thomas Phillips indicated that Mr Kernell's sentence of one year and one day should be served at a halfway house to reflect the case's "unique circumstances".

"Even if the defendant serves his sentence at a halfway house, this combined with a criminal conviction is significant punishment," he said at the time, adding that it would mark "a sufficient restriction of the defendant's liberty".

The US Bureau of Prisons, however, has decided to make Mr Kernell serve out his term in the low-security prison camp nearly 300 miles from his home in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The move comes more than two years after the virtual break-in took place, at the height of the former Alaska governor's failed campaign to win the US vice presidency.

Using the online pseudonym "rubico", Mr Kernell - a student whose father is a senior Democrat politician in Tennessee - answered a series of security questions that gave him access to her private inbox, and then shared the details online.

A copy was retained by Wikileaks, the whistle-blowing website currently at the centre of a controversy over leaked US diplomatic cables, and details of her messages were published in several media outlets.

The state gives power to the Bureau of Prisons to determine the nature of incarceration.


As a result, Ms Palin's family received abusive emails and phone calls. A subsequent FBI investigation led to Mr Kernell's arrest five days later.

Although he was eventually charged with four crimes - including identity theft and fraud - a court in Knoxville, Tennessee, only found him guilty of two lesser counts after a two-week trial last May.

The US Bureau of Prisons (BOP) would not comment on why Judge Phillips' recommendations had not been followed, but said decisions concerning inmates took into account a number of factors.

The BOP is not bound by judicial recommendations, one legal expert said federal sentencing was often "arbitrary".

"The judge can give either incarceration or probation, but if it's incarceration the state gives power to the Bureau of Prisons to determine the nature of incarceration," said Professor Robert Weisberg, director of the criminal justice center at Stanford University in California.

"There is not a general or uniform US rule," he added. "There is huge local variation."

Ms Palin - now seen as a potential presidential candidate in 2012 - has been in the headlines again after the fatal shootings in Arizona that left six dead and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords fighting for her life.

Critics have singled out aggressive political rhetoric as a possible aggravating factor in the shooting - particularly focusing on fliers distributed by Ms Palin's office during last year's mid-term elections, which included a picture of Giffords in the cross-hairs of a gun.

In a video posted online, the former governor said such suggestions constituted a "blood libel".

"Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own," she said, rejecting claims that the flier and her "don't retreat, reload" slogan were an incitement to violence.

Edited by Acrimonious, 13 January 2011 - 11:25 PM.

Hostile is a cunt.

Thought I'd have that here to save time.

#2 duke_Qa

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 09:56 AM

Well, one year is what we have to endure if we get drafted around here. If he is lucky he'll get some it-support job inside and won't be bored to death.

Low security prison as well, probably not as luxurious as our low security prisons, but hopefully he'll have access to some basic comforts :p

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#3 Pasidon

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 06:52 PM

We've all hacked Pailin's e-mails...

Leave it to the US government to give you a short sentence only to be interrupted by the US Government and given a worsened sentence. Oh well... they should have killed the guy for putting Pailin at risk.

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#4 ambershee

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 12:30 PM

Guessing security questions isn't exactly hacking.

In any case, the stupid woman should have been more careful about what her security questions were. If you're a prominant politician, you can't make it easy for people.

#5 Pasidon

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 04:45 AM

Maybe she wanted us to know... ... :) CONSPIRACY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#6 Beowulf

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 10:28 PM

CONSPIRACY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

... or not.

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#7 Elvenlord

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 10:59 PM

I think that was the point, Beo.

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#8 Mathijs

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 11:23 PM

What's the point of power if you can't exercise it over the powerless?

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#9 Caspa

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 01:53 AM

Maybe she wanted us to know... ... :p CONSPIRACY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The biggest problem with that is believing she has enough intelligence to intentionally cause a conspiracy, or even spell conspiracy.
Hostile is a cunt.

Thought I'd have that here to save time.

#10 Phil

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 01:57 AM

She knows all about conspiracy. She can see conspiracy from here house in Alaska.

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#11 Caspa

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 04:48 AM

No, it's Russia she can see from her house in Alaska.
Hostile is a cunt.

Thought I'd have that here to save time.

#12 Elvenlord

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 04:54 AM

It's all the same to her. Don't complicate things.

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#13 Caspa

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 05:08 AM

If she manages to become president, I can see a LOT of people missing George Bush and appreciating his level of intelligence.
Hostile is a cunt.

Thought I'd have that here to save time.

#14 Beowulf

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 06:23 AM

You really think so? She'd just be a female Bush so the comparisons would fly. While humorous, not what I want to see.

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#15 Caspa

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 06:28 AM

I'd love to see it happen. I'm not entirely sure any of us would survive, but who gives a fuck? It'll be a funny way to end it all.
Hostile is a cunt.

Thought I'd have that here to save time.

#16 duke_Qa

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 04:22 PM

If i wanted a funny way to die I'd overdose on laughing gas.

Conspiracies are secular religious movements in my opinion. They claim something that can't really be proven and most likely would not be able to happen unless all governments and anti-corruption agencies are 100% incompetent. And those that believe in them are almost impossible to criticize because they don't follow the typical scientific method of critical analysis. Thus secular religion.

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