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Disclaimer:  I am a diarist who uses Dailykos not to pontificate, but to learn through interaction in the public arena.  So consider my mind open.

Now that said, I have some thoughts about the Palin email hack.

When I first heard about it, I thought "What a horrible invasion of privacy."  But as it settles in and assimilates with the other junk in my brain, I am re-thinking.  

If the government is breaking the law by doing government business on private accounts to avoid scrutiny/oversight/liability do I not have a right to see those accounts?

Are the hackers the equivalent of whistleblowers?

In an environment where the government routinely does warrantless surveillance on its private citizens, is this not tit-for-tat sweet payback?  I mean if they can look at mine. . .

How do we as an online community feel about this?

UPDATE:  Great discussion--My brain is all tingly.  This is my favorite kind of DKOS experience.  Thank you all.  Cheers.

Originally posted to chap on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 01:48 PM PDT.

Poll

Do we support the hack?

64%249 votes
26%103 votes
9%37 votes

| 389 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I don't publicly Support it (22+ / 0-)

    But at night I will put on my Guy Fawkes Mask, hat, and cape, and bust this guy out of jail. I have a certain admiration for this guy/girl/Sentient A.I.'s Anarchist streak.

    Sent from a Blackberry, a miracle made possible and invented by John McCain

    by Larry Madill on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 01:50:57 PM PDT

  •  grey area (12+ / 0-)

    Yeah, it's illegal, invasion of privacy, etc...

    But on the other hand, I'm all for using technology to finally make our government afraid of the people for a change, instead of the other way around.

    •  Nicely put (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ginja

      They are our servants after all, not our lords.

    •  not grey. absolutely illegal. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chap, Catte Nappe, dconrad, rogereaton, LynneK

      If you want transparent government, that's fine. But you don't unilaterally trespass, invade privacy, and steal someone's private things even if they were doing something illegal.

      Two wrongs don't make a right.

      And this path ends up with no one's privacy being respected.

      Palin: Every single word that comes out of her mouth -- or every single word that the McCain folks put in her mouth -- is a lie. (Josh Marshall 9/8/08)

      by Lurtz on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 01:57:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  isnt a democracy (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chap, Lurtz, golconda2

        about having the ability to stand up to your government when they overstep their bounds? Declaring our independence wasn't legal at the time from the POV of the current government then, either.

        Not that I'm saying anon is equivalent to our founding fathers, but the basic principle is the same: When government becomes too powerful and oppressive, it is the right and duty of the people to do what they can to strike back.

        •  If you're certain she's guilty of a crime (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chap, Catte Nappe

          why bother with a trial?

          If you only suspect she's guilty, is that enough for you to decide whether or not to rummage through her personal communications?

          Would you feel the same way if you were the target, citizen?  "If you did nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about."

          We're not even sure it's her email account. It could be a fraud like the fake National Guard letters that Dan Rather got vilified for.

          Palin: Every single word that comes out of her mouth -- or every single word that the McCain folks put in her mouth -- is a lie. (Josh Marshall 9/8/08)

          by Lurtz on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:06:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Was Felt wrong to betray Nixon's confidence (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chap, Lurtz, kudgel

            and violate his duty to protect privileged information?

            Was Jeffrey Wigand wrong to illegally violate the non-disclosure contract he willfully signed and profited from?

            Was Joe Darby wrong to violate the chain of command and his fellow soldier's privacy by alerting the press about Abu Ghraib?

            Sibel Edmunds?

            What about Cristoph Meili? a lowly night security guard at a Swiss bank that discovered his employer shredding records of savings and deposits of Holocaust Victims to they could keep the assets?  He violated DOZENS of banking laws and had to seek political asylum in the US.

            Should he have not done anything because "the law is the law" and he wouldn't want HIS privacy violated?

            Thinking men can not be ruled. --Ayn Rand

            by Wisper on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:13:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  preface: I am not a lawyer (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              chap, Wisper

              Thomas Jefferson (citation needed) once said breaking the law is acceptable in an immediate emergency when following the letter of the law would be disasterous; as long as when the crisis is past the lawbreaker 'comes clean' and lets the courts or the people be the judge of the actions in hindsight.

              IMO this is the unsteady legal umbrella for whistleblowers, but should give no shelter for self-appointed vigilantes who trespass and invade privacy and steal.

              Palin: Every single word that comes out of her mouth -- or every single word that the McCain folks put in her mouth -- is a lie. (Josh Marshall 9/8/08)

              by Lurtz on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:23:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Whistleblowers face persecution (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                chap, Lurtz

                so I don't think it should be necessary that they "come clean".

                Deepthroat remained anonymous for decades.  I see nothing in the exposure of that massive conspiracy of which Thomas Jefferson would disapprove.

                These hackers either found evidence of some troopergate covering-up or things that clearly disprove the version of events Palin is offering, in which case I don't care who they are or why they did it, I just want that information so we can take what actions are necessary and legally justified.

                However, if this was just wanton vigilantism in an effort to dig up more dirt so Palin could be further smeared and villified, then I think the hackers should be found and prosecuted.  Furthermore, if that is the case I think it will only serve to bolster her reputation with the public as the victim of this kind of petty illegal intrusion.

                Thinking men can not be ruled. --Ayn Rand

                by Wisper on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:29:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Fair enough (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lurtz, golconda2

        but given their willingness to invade ours, are we better off with total transparency and no one's privacy respected

        or just their privacy respected?  I'm just sayin'.  When I first heard the story I thought just like you.  Now I am not so sure.  Not shouting you down--just discussing.

      •  Couldn't you use this argument (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chap, Lurtz, MichiganGirl, golconda2

        to punish and/or jail every single whistleblower in history?

        Thinking men can not be ruled. --Ayn Rand

        by Wisper on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:02:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  exactly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chap

        that's the government's job.

        In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria. Ben Franklin

        by nokkonwud on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:14:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  In a war for our rights (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chap

        they have already disrespected us. Suspicion of a crime IS "just enough" for them. Why not us?

        This is the whole concept of mutually assured destruction. They already nuked our rights. Kudos to whoever did this.

    •  is it illegal? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chap

      It gives me comfort just to think that ... we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers. - Wick Allison

      by jj24 on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:02:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jethropalerobber, chap, jj24, Lurtz, dconrad

        The hackers (the Geek inside of me is calling out to call them by their proper term - 'Crackers' - but I recognize the distinction isn't clear to most people) are accessing her account without permission, and (separately) are violating the terms of service of the email system.

        There's also likely a few other discrete offenses that were committed in the process of getting the information.

        AT&T offers exciting work for recent graduates in computer science. Pick up the phone, call your mom, and ask for an application.

        by Scipio on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:07:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Truth is the ultimate defense against Slander (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chap, madgranny, golconda2

    If she was lying and the emails prove otherwise this will damn her and justifiably so.

    If the emails show nothing new and wind up just being an intrusive breach into her privacy she will be publicly supported as a victim and this will only aide in her vindication.

    I'm willing to roll those dice....

    Thinking men can not be ruled. --Ayn Rand

    by Wisper on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 01:53:37 PM PDT

    •  Would you feel the same (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lurtz

      if the hackers had gone into Biden's personal account?

      •  If there was a scandal looming (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chap, golconda2

        (See my comment downthread comparing this to Jefferson)

        If Biden was hiding something and this proved it: yes.  If it was a hack just to try to dig up more dirt or create a scandal? No.

        Thinking men can not be ruled. --Ayn Rand

        by Wisper on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:00:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ok but (0+ / 0-)

          would that not end in the abolition of any concept of privacy in our society?

          •  What concept? What privacy? (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chap, Lurtz, Van Buren, madgranny
            In today's technical age, you assume privacy at your own risk.

            And specifically to this case:  The reason you are not supposed to use public email to handle sensitive information related to government, business, health care or legal matters is because it is not secure.  (plus because of laws about archiving public records and such)

            If you put something this potentially incriminating in a public yahoo! account... you are implicitly assuming the risk of exposure when it gets hacked.

            If this is mudraking just to dig up more things to embarrass the Governor, this is this petty and wrong and I think the public will see that and react accordingly.

            But if this unearths evidence of any kind of conspiracy or illegal activity, then I think the public is right to value that information being made available over any kind of alleged invasion of privacy.

            At that point its more whistleblower then hacker.

            Thinking men can not be ruled. --Ayn Rand

            by Wisper on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:08:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  this story (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    madmsf, jethropalerobber, jj24, golconda2

    is being reported on MSNBC now. Will the diary police stop telling people not to discuss it?

    Our Republic and its Press will rise or fall together -Joseph Pulitzer

    by ryeland on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 01:56:39 PM PDT

    •  Not discuss it? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chap

      What?  Who is pushing that meme?  Approve or not, this is news.  No number of heads in the sand can make it otherwise.

      Celebrate it?  No  Endorse it?  Maybe, maybe not as this diarist makes a point to ponder.

      But Discuss it?  Since when do we clasiify things on DKos as "undiscussable"?

      Thinking men can not be ruled. --Ayn Rand

      by Wisper on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 01:58:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  lately (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chap, MichiganGirl, golconda2

        There's been panicked reaction on dkos anytime something is diaried that might be perceived by someone as politically incorrect.

        There were comments in other diaries about the email hack suggesting that this subject not be discussed.

        We are not the official Obama campaign. We need to be little more fearless in how we tread.

        Our Republic and its Press will rise or fall together -Joseph Pulitzer

        by ryeland on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:02:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  oh, that's what some of them LOVE to do... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chap, MichiganGirl

        is to tell us what to talk about.  it's pretty fucking annoying, but they don't seem to notice :)

        It gives me comfort just to think that ... we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers. - Wick Allison

        by jj24 on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:02:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Comparale to Jefferson's Freezer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chap
    Maybe the raid on the congressman's home and office or whatever was questionale or unfounded or in violation of the spirit of separation of powers.  Maybe the cash they found in the freezer could never be legitimately entered as evidence in a court of law.

    Still....

    They guy still is a seriously shady scumbag with some ethical 'splainin to do and the whole world knows it.

    Thinking men can not be ruled. --Ayn Rand

    by Wisper on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 01:56:40 PM PDT

    •  here's the difference to your comparison - (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chap, golconda2

      that was republican-party, politically driven.

      this is a person who's concerned - perhaps democrat, perhaps not - but not politically party driven.

      BIG difference.

      It gives me comfort just to think that ... we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers. - Wick Allison

      by jj24 on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:03:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How can you say this with (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wisper

        any authority?

      •  Morally, not Legally (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chap, dconrad

        You're pointing out a moral difference, not a legal one - if we were Republicans, we'd say that Troopergate is a politically-driven witch-hunt being driven by Democrats who want an election-year advantage, that these Hackers are Democrats who are desperate to dig up slime, and that Jefferson was a crook no matter what party he was in.

        We don't know (nor does it matter) the political affiliations of said Hackers - regardless of who they vote for (or if they're even US citizens), it's pretty illegal.

        More generally, this has little in common with Jefferson's freezer. His case revolves around the Speech and Debate clause - since the information that got them to look into his freezer came from his Office, they couldn't use.

        AT&T offers exciting work for recent graduates in computer science. Pick up the phone, call your mom, and ask for an application.

        by Scipio on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:16:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Still... unearthing evidence to prove a CRIME (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chap

        is a service to society-at-large.

        Jefferson is a fraudulent bribe-taking piece of elected filth.  If it took a GOP witch hunt to unearth that then its because too many people on our side covered for the thief for too long.

        Good for them; in this case the GOP did the right thing.

        If they found nothing and just tried to smear him by implication then they are the ones that would have to answer to the voters for their ethical short-comings.

        Thinking men can not be ruled. --Ayn Rand

        by Wisper on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:17:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So say the police, and the FBI (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chap, Lurtz, Darmok, LeftyEngineer

          When they want to search homes and cars, and when they break into houses of protesters at the GOP convention.

          •  And if they find bomb making equipment (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chap

            then they were right to do so.

            If they do not and merely use it as an intimidation tactic to harass people and/or falsely imprison them, then they should be prosecuted.

            Also, there is a bit of a difference in that these are sworn-in badge carriers of public law enforcement.  There are established rules of how they must conduct themselves, and often times these suppressive tactics are in clear open violation of those rules.

            But when a citizen goes public with information they gained, even illegally, they have to either justify why that information is so critical to the social good or face the consequences of their intrusive and/or unlawful actions.

            Whistleblowers are the same.  If they run to the press to leak confidential information that really isn't related to conspiracy, wrong doing or public safety then they should and will face the full legal consequences of their decision to violate whatever secrecy laws, non-disclosure agreements, contract terms, etc they chose to ignore in an attempt to seek publicity for themselves or wrongfully impugn others.

            Thinking men can not be ruled. --Ayn Rand

            by Wisper on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 04:04:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  The government has declared... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chap, Wisper, madgranny, golconda2

    ...a cyberwar on its citizens -  the hackers are a justifiable defense in my opinion.

    "You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on".... G. W. Bush ---- {-8.25 / -5.64}

    by carver on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 01:56:44 PM PDT

  •  I do NOT support it. (7+ / 0-)

    This si the kind of thing that keeps people from running for office.  So that the only people who DO run for office are narcissists who don't think they will be exposed in an unflattering light.  

    "Unrestricted immigration is a dangerous thing -- look at what happened to the Iroquois." Garrison Keillor

    by SpiderStumbled22 on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 01:58:30 PM PDT

    •  Not That Simple (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chap

      Palin is breaking the law. She is routing official communication through her private email account to evade a paper trail which is illegal. What the hackers did was illegal.

      If they hacked into her official government account it would definately be outrageous. Clear cut. It's still wrong, but gray area here.

      Yahoo doesn't store deleted messages long. Although this was wrong, I am not "outraged" here. I think the hackers should be punished, but we should not forget the fact that she was using this account to keep legitimate records from the citizenry away from any oversight or scrutiny.

      Completely waste your time at NewPairODimes Now with baby pictures.

      by trifecta on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:33:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was on 4chan . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chap

    when this came out. I saw the thread and thought " . . . No, nope, uh uh, not going near that one."

    Whilst there are many things that go through 4chan that are wrong, disgusting, horrible, hilarious, or terrible, every so often a gem like this slips through.

    As for supporting the crack, of course I do. I don't believe the methodology is necessarily a good way of going about it but I believe in a 100% televised and transparent lifestyle of political figures. I want each and every one of them to have a Truman Show. We can argue rights with it, but I believe it should be considered an honor to SERVER in public office and someone seeking such a position should welcome a complete transparency to their life.

  •  Or maybe it's a hacker to SCRUB her email? (6+ / 0-)

    She can't possibly help losing emails
    now can she? Mean ole hacker lost her emails. <sarcasm>

    That's my suspicious rant of the day.

    :)

  •  The hack may "taint" the evidence (7+ / 0-)

    The hack may be just what the McPalin team want, to gum up the works and bolster the claim that the investigation is partisan.

  •  No, it is not right, no matter who does it (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chap, Lurtz, dconrad
    I'm sorry, but invasion of privacy is wrong, no matter how pure the motivation for it may be. It's not okay for us to do it just because the government (or anyone else, for that matter) does it. Unless you are a member of law enforcement with a legitimate search warrant, the contents of someone's personal email is off limits, no matter who that person may be.

    "Truth never damages a cause that is just."~~~Mohandas K. Gandhi -9.38/-6.26

    by LynneK on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:03:36 PM PDT

    •  Ok but if Government is a contract. . . (0+ / 0-)

      Hate to be all Rambo, but didn't they start this business?  

      Let's put it this way--you get a government gig.  You sign a security clearance.  You learn some messed up stuff.  

      Do you break the law and tell?

  •  Paybacks a bitch (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chap

    Palin is being praised for standing up "leaders even in her own Party". This is related to an ethics investigation of a Republican who supposedly was performing personal business on government time.

    To prove it Palin hacked into the guy's computer to provide the information to damage the guy and force his resignation.

    What's good for the moose....

  •  Smarter whistleblowers, then, please! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jethropalerobber, chap, Lurtz, madgranny

    If that's what this hacker was attempting, he blew it.  Bragged and posted the password without archiving anything, leaving others to grab a few bland screenshots before the account was flushed and closed.

    It makes more sense as a false-flag "Rovian ratfuck" type of operation, but it's possible the hacker is just a total moron.  

    Decision '08: McCain Palin in comparison with Obama-Biden.

    by turbonium on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:08:26 PM PDT

    •  are any hackers total morons? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chap, Darmok

      I doubt that...

      this is a sympathy-fall and gives them a 'reason' to close the account - and perhaps not be jailed for destroying the evidence.

      I smell Rove all over this

      bet it's the morning headlines - forget the war, Ike, the economy... big fat crocodile tears from Plain

      Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld, a miracle made possible by John McCain.

      by Airmid on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:12:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know any hackers, personally (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chap

        but I gather that there are hackers who actually develop attacks, and then there are 'script kiddies' who merely exploit the methods of others (and then boast about it).  

        So if it isn't an outright hoax or a false-flag op, then I can easily envision the cracker belonging to the latter category, and I would be entirely comfortable applying the 'moron' label--especially if the goal was to expose incriminating information about Palin.

        FAIL accomplished, in any case...

        Decision '08: McCain Palin in comparison with Obama-Biden.

        by turbonium on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 02:21:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your understanding is correct (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chap

          This was most likely done by some random script kiddie who just got lucky. A hacker would have the common sense to archive prior to going public (or more likely just selling to highest bidder).

  •  An ethics of criminality. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jethropalerobber, chap

    In the spirit of discussion, I can imagine a moral universe in which both the hacker and the hackee are deemed criminal.  The extreme case can be described in terms of a "torturer" and a "torturee" (in a highly fictional world where torture actually yields answers, as opposed to our own world where it yields ever greater confusion).  The torturer, in this universe, is so completely convinced that the "torturee" is hiding information about a deadly and imminent attack, that he is willing to commit the crime of torture in order to extract the secret.  But his willingness is also a willingness to come forth and accept blame for the crime, even if it means punishment -- even if it means execution.  He is like a soldier who knows that certain death awaits him, yet he goes into battle anyhow because he has a mission.  Maybe the mission is to save the country, maybe it's just to save his comrades -- it's probably a juvenile and stupid mission, but he believes in it.  Now, it may turn out that he is completely wrong, in which case the "torturee" may end up an innocent victim (maybe even dead), but at least the "torturer" is forced to put his existence on the line.  And whether the "torturee" has died or not, whether he has revealed a secret or not, the "torturer" must be convicted of first-degree murder, and punished accordingly.

    Where does the hacker stand in this universe?  He stands absolutely convicted as a criminal.  But still, he may have done the right thing.  

  •  I think its funny, but I dont think its right. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chap, Lurtz

    I know its wrong to read people's personal email.

    That the email was used for govt business really doesnt matter to me, other than to demonstrate that she is incompetant. I say that only because the taxpayers didnt pay for it.

    I know its wrong, but im certainly still nosey about the emails.

  •  I don't support illegal activity by hackers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jethropalerobber, chap, Catte Nappe

    or politicians.  OTOH, not many liars/crooks/etc have been exposed via "the honor system".  

  •  I went to wikileaks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chap, urbinato

    There is nothing there. Yes, she was trying to use the same account for personal, family, and gubernatorial emails, but there was nothing that was all that secret in any of those categories there that I could see.

    More importantly, about the time I got to the picture of Bristol holding Trig with her eyes crossed and her tongue sticking out at the camera, I started feeling sick to my stomach. Their family had every expectation in the world that thousands of strangers were not going to be looking at that picture. Simply put, it was private, and so was everything else on the site.

    We have laws to protect citizens from violations of privacy. Those laws are important. Violation of privacy is a nasty thing to do. The hack was nasty. There is nothing here for us. Drop it, and let's move on to winning an election.

    Greg Shenaut

  •  does law give you free access to her gov acct? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chap

    if not, then why should you have free access to her personal account that she uses in part for government business?

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