published Friday, November 12th, 2010

Palin e-mail hacker sentenced to year in custody

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A former University of Tennessee college student who hacked into Sarah Palin's e-mail during the 2008 presidential campaign was sentenced Friday to a year and a day with the judge recommending the term be served in a halfway house, not prison.

Federal Judge Thomas W. Phillips also said David Kernell, who was a 20-year-old economics major when he deduced the answers to security questions and read e-mail in Palin's private account, should get mental health treatment. Court filings said Kernell had suffered from depression since he was 11.

Kernell, who smiled when the sentence was announced, earlier apologized to Palin and her family. He said his mistake will affect him for the rest of his life.

The judge rejected a recommendation from prosecutors, who had argued for 18 months in prison. Prosecutors said outside court that they were satisfied with the sentence.

It will be up to the Bureau of Prisons to decide if Kernell is allowed to serve his term in a halfway house.

Kernell was convicted of unauthorized access to a protected computer and destroying records to impede a federal investigation. Jurors acquitted him of wire fraud and deadlocked on an identity theft charge.

The maximum possible penalty for destroying or concealing records to impede an investigation is 20 years, according to the government's sentencing memorandum. Applying federal sentencing guidelines to Kernell, the penalty range was between 15 months and 21 months.

A statement on Palin's' Facebook page after the trial compared the case to the 1972 Watergate break-in at Democratic headquarters that eventually led to President Richard Nixon's resignation.

"As Watergate taught us, we rightfully reject illegally breaking into candidates' private communications for political intrigue in an attempt to derail an election," the Facebook posting said.

25
Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
frozencpa said...

As an Alaskan, I offended by the sentence given Kernell's attempts to conceal his crime. If a Republican had hacked Biden's email, he or she would have received a sentence comparable to those of the Watergate felons. In contrast, a Democrat hacking Palin's email is given a one year sentence with a recommendation for a halfway house. We should understand that depression is a mitigating factor. Is the light sentence due, in part, to the Democratic fears of Palin and their relentless harassment of her?

November 12, 2010 at 12:32 p.m.
GrimReaperxxx said...

As expected an AP Reporter that created the story forgot to include a very relevant and damning fact.

David Kernell is the son of a Democrat member of the House of Representatives.

Here is how others reported the crime at the time

Democratic state Rep. Mike Kernell’s son, David Kernell, has been found guilty on two charges regarding the hacking of Sarah Palin’s email in an attempt to damage her Vice Presidential run in 2008, and will most likely be tried again for the crime of identify theft.

November 12, 2010 at 1:19 p.m.
JoeAmerica said...

Dittos from #1 As an American I am also offended, Sarah Palin is a GREAT WOMAN and the scrutiny she went through was enormous it only made her more dangerous to liberal scumbags but she had the last laugh she's laughing all the way to the bank and that proves one thing God looks out for his people and he is still in control.

November 12, 2010 at 1:26 p.m.
bobgt said...

Are you equally offended that James O'Keefe, the so-called "activist" who brought down ACORN using videos re-edited to show fraudulent context, was given a mere 3 years probation, fines, and community service for attempting to wiretap a US senator's office?

Keep in mind that if he was an agent of a foreign country doing the exact same thing, he'd be in jail for decades...

November 12, 2010 at 1:28 p.m.
Kraker said...

Palin was dumb enough to use guessable info, like family names and birthdates, as passwords. If you leave your home unlocked and then are shocked to find out you've been robbed, your insurance company is going to say it's partly your fault. Kernell is just as guilty as the theif in the unlocked house. However, for someone that preaches 'personal accountability', Palin should really have asked someone to advise her on all this new-fangled modern password stuff.

November 12, 2010 at 1:35 p.m.
NewsReader said...

bobgt:

"Are you equally offended that James O'Keefe, the so-called "activist" who brought down ACORN using videos re-edited to show fraudulent context".

I watched the entire, unedited video, which was released shortly after the original, edited for length version was released. Nothing was taken out of context, and despite you liberal crybabies making the "out of context" claim, the full videos change nothing.

" was given a mere 3 years probation, fines, and community service for attempting to wiretap a US senator's office?"

Now I feel justified in calling you an out and out liar. There was no evidence of wiretapping, or intent to wiretap, and O'keefe was not convicted of anything related to wiretapping.

You think hacking into Sarah Palin's email was A-OK though, don't you, liberal hypocrite.

November 12, 2010 at 1:38 p.m.
Kraker said...

JoeAmerica "Dittos from #1 As an American I am also offended, Sarah Palin is a GREAT WOMAN and the scrutiny she went through was enormous it only made her more dangerous to liberal scumbags but she had the last laugh she's laughing all the way to the bank and that proves one thing God looks out for his people and he is still in control."

Your god is aparently in control of evertthing... except punctuation. Wow. Breath dude, it's ok.

November 12, 2010 at 1:51 p.m.
NewsReader said...

Kraker:

"Your god is aparently in control of *evertthing... except punctuation"

Please, spend some of your welfare check on a dictionary.

November 12, 2010 at 1:59 p.m.
moonpie said...

I'm sure to this "kid," all of this was just a lark at the time. (I say kid, because he's in college, not due to legal status.)

It is really stunning to me how so many college-age kids do not value privacy and intellectual property.

I think with so many putting their lives up for daily public inspection on Facebook and MySpace, with file sharing etc, many just don't hold privacy and intellectual property as dear as other generations.

Let this be a message to all those who don't see the harm in these kinds of acts.

As for the length of the sentence. I don't know what is standard in cases like this. I do know this, if people want something.... they generally want more of it. In other words, no matter how long of a sentence this kid received there are going to be people who wish it were longer.

November 12, 2010 at 2:01 p.m.
bobgt said...

"Now I feel justified in calling you an out and out liar. "There was no evidence of wiretapping, or intent to wiretap, and O'keefe was not convicted of anything related to wiretapping.

You think hacking into Sarah Palin's email was A-OK though, don't you, liberal hypocrite."

Straight from the conservative playbook: attack your opponent with what he accuses you of doing. I never said hacking into Palin's email was "A-OK". Your mind simply filled in the blanks with what you wanted to see. Feel free to read my entire post to make sure. I was merely pointing out that O'Keefe also got a relatively light sentence for what he did, yet there was no outrage from conservatives such as yourself. The only hypocrite here is you, and you kinda walked into that one yourself.

And for the record, O'keefe had every intention to wiretap, from the false pretenses (claiming to need access to the telephone system) he used in his attempt to gain entrance into the senator's office, to using his cellphone to actively record the entire event (which does count as wiretapping in several states).

November 12, 2010 at 2:01 p.m.
NewsReader said...

bobgt:

"was given a mere 3 years probation, fines, and community service for attempting to wiretap a US senator's office?"

You stated this as fact, and now you're recasting it as your opinion about his "intent". It's simply dishonest.

Which part of the Acorn video was it that made the original video "out of context"? I suspect you're just repeating the position you've been told to take, instead of actually analyzing what happened, but I'm open minded...show us that you aren't lying. What made O'Keefs video "out of context"?

Hello? Is anyone there?

November 12, 2010 at 2:10 p.m.
bobgt said...

"You stated this as fact, and now you're recasting it as your opinion about his "intent". It's simply dishonest."

Do tell us what is so dishonest about it? According to court records, O'Keefe admitted to and was apprehended by security attempting to gain access to the building telephone room, and was actively recording all interactions with employees inside the federal building with his cell phone without the second/third-party consent required to not run afoul of wiretapping laws. O'Keefe took the misdemeanor plea bargain to avoid these charges but it doesn't change the fact that his actions do count as wiretapping under several state and federal laws. If some street thug managed to get a plea deal for manslaughter in a gang hit in exchange for testimony on the criminal activities against his other gang members, I'd still call him a murderer.

Why don't you actually view the entire unedited ACORN video before you even attempt to make argument points. Pay close attention to the parts where O'Keefe was not actually dressed as a pimp during the conversation, what O'Keefe actually said to the ACORN worker (attempting to get women OUT OF prostitution through low-income housing, etc vs. using said low-income housing to facilitate prostitution in the edits), the reaction of the ACORN worker to O'Keefe (calling the cops to report possible prostitution ring.)

November 12, 2010 at 2:36 p.m.
eeeeeek said...

Free Kevin!

oops... wrong decade

November 12, 2010 at 2:37 p.m.
eeeeeek said...

Come now... we all know when a republic breaks the law under a republic admin.. they'd likely get a medal of honor.

November 12, 2010 at 3 p.m.
bobgt said...

Poor obviousman, you got the last two mixed up.

It's the conservatives who get mad when confronted by the truth, and I suppose liberals, like any other normal human being, will probably become quite irate when being lied to.

But to be fair, both liberals and conservatives lie all the time. The difference is that some liberals will be quite repentant when caught whereas from what we've seen with the conservatives, most will become defensive and outright hostile when their deception falls apart.

Case-in-point:

Climategate: Liberal scientists demanding the resignation of those who falsified climate data.

Iraq War: Yeah, no wmds, we tortured a whole lotta them, so what!?!? It was for the greater good! Nevar forget!!!

November 12, 2010 at 3:40 p.m.
imamericantoo said...

I hope Sarah Palin is proud of herself, this young man did do the wrong thing - but to receive such a sentence? Way too harsh.

I bet he'd be a "smarter" candidate than Palin, he at least knows his way around a computer.

November 12, 2010 at 3:51 p.m.
Damian said...

Newsreader beat me to the punch. Isn't it hilarious how libs like Kraker step in it every time? Kraker throws stones about punctuation, but doesn't know the difference between a noun and a verb.

November 12, 2010 at 3:58 p.m.
realityrox said...

I remember the former CIA Director George Tenet and two others getting the Medal of Freedom for their part in the Iraq invasion.

November 12, 2010 at 4:30 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

I'm a liberal and I think he should go to jail for what he did. That doesn't change my mind about Palin, who I think is a media whore, proud of being ignorant, and completely unqualified to be in any position of leadership.

November 12, 2010 at 8:02 p.m.
ceeweed said...

What an inane bunch of silliness, Palin sure raises some tempers on both sides of the street. Unwise and criminal what this young man did but I doubt he derailed the McCain-Palin campaign.

November 12, 2010 at 9:04 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...

bobgt-November 12, 2010 at 3:40 p.m.

"Climategate: Liberal scientists demanding the resignation of those who falsified climate data."

Yes, please go on. I consider myself "in-the-loop" on these things, and I have no idea what you're writing about.

What's with the "liberal" scientist stuff, and isn't SCIENCE supposed to be non-partisan?

I don't think you know what you're writing about.

FYI, "Climategate" was the scandal surrounding the release of damning e-mails exchanged among very prominent "climate scientists" about how, among other things, certain things weren't working out the way they'd have liked and how one can circumvent FOI requests by deleting records. Oh yeah, it's also a pretty good primer on how to game the "peer-reviewed" science publishing establishment.

The "liberal" establishment has been whitewashing the whole thing for over a year now.

I wonder if you've arrived at your misconception of the situation on your own, or if this is the latest version of

"Nothing to see here folks, move along. Our liberal friends have it all under control and are battling back the forces of darkness which would subvert scientific truth."

Has the back-pedaling begun?


The susceptibility to propaganda of the human mind is simply amazing.

- - - As for our small time hacker criminal... Lock him up! Not forever or anything like that, but the sentence should be harsh. Private communications should be private. There are a million hackers, and they are all pretty smart. Deterrents do actually work. What is the punishment for accessing someone's private snail mail? Isn't this EXACTLY the same?

November 13, 2010 at 12:08 a.m.
TomRoberts said...

"JoeAmerica "Dittos from #1 As an American I am also offended, Sarah Palin is a GREAT WOMAN and the scrutiny she went through was enormous it only made her more dangerous to liberal scumbags but she had the last laugh she's laughing all the way to the bank and that proves one thing God looks out for his people and he is still in control."

Kraker on November 12, 2010 at 1:51 p.m. said:

"Your god is aparently in control of evertthing... except punctuation. Wow. Breath dude, it's ok."

I guess before calling others out, you'd be wise to check your own mistakes. Spelling doesn't seem to be your strong point, mate. It's 'breathe' as a verb, 'breath' as a noun. Also, 'aparently' needs one more 'p', not to mention you put in one extra 't' in 'everything' (maybe haunted by the Tea Party?) and yet you completely omitted the 'y'.

No one is perfect, and no one should expect perfection in comments, which are casual conversation, not research papers for publication. But it's simply hilarious when folks like you (Liberals) put down others only to make even worse mistakes themselves. I love it. Way to go, slick.

November 13, 2010 at 10:18 a.m.
TomRoberts said...

"Come now... we all know when a republic breaks the law under a republic admin.. they'd likely get a medal of honor."

Yeah, I guess Dick Cheney's friend and advisor Scooter Libby didn't go to trial or get indicted for the crime of mentioning Valerie Plame was a CIA agent to Assistant Sec of Defense Richard Armitage, who then blabbed it to journalist Bob Novak. Yeah, I guess nothing happened to Scooter besides having his life ruined.

November 13, 2010 at 10:22 a.m.
ohshush said...

There is no doubt about it, this was a criminal act, actually a couple 2-3 criminal acts together, he should have done time behind bars .This opens the door to thousands of unscrupulous little parasites (on both Political sides) to lower the bar even more. When it comes to Democrats, it seems no Law is too good to break if it cconcerns their side.But if they can even piece together THE APPEARANCE of impropriety on the Republican side, they suddenly get serious "About the Rule Of Law" It is a travesty.I am not a partisan, but decisions like this prove, what real partisans have been saying that todays Dem's/Lefties are a band of thugs. SPIN IT ANY WAY YOU WANT, it's THE TRUTH

November 13, 2010 at 5:47 p.m.
Lightnup said...

lkeithlu wrote: "That doesn't change my mind about Palin, who I think is a media whore, proud of being ignorant, and completely unqualified to be in any position of leadership."

That's the most accurate description of our current President that I've ever seen.

November 13, 2010 at 6:27 p.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement

Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.