Yesterday I posted a story about hackers breaking into Sarah Palin's Yahoo! e-mail account and commented:
Sorry about the hackers, Governor, but why are you using a Yahoo! e-mail account for official state business?It was only the ninth post I had made since joining Facebook, and only once before had a post of mine received comments. (It was about one German's view on recycling in San Francisco.)
An old co-worker of mine, someone whom I was friendly with 15 years ago, left an interesting comment.
So does this mean that you're also OK with warrantless wiretaps? Or is it only illegal spying on conservatives that meets with your approval?Wow, that's strange, I thought. If I was reading her correctly, my Facebook friend thought that I was happy about the attack on Palin's privacy -- "spying on conservatives... meets with your approval" -- and suggested I might also approve of warrantless wiretapping, when I made no mention at all of that subject.
I thought I was pretty clear. I expressed my regrets about what the hackers did and then asked what I thought was the relevant question about this story: why would a Governor use a Yahoo! email account for official business? My response to her:
Warrantless wiretapping is illegal - I'm not OK with it. I'm not sure if hacking into Gov Palin's email constitutes espionage, but no, I don't approve of that either. The relevant issue is that Palin used Yahoo e-mail as a way to subvert Alaska's Open Records Act.At least that seems to be the only plausible explanation. And it appears to be taken right out of Karl Rove's playbook.
Remember the story about "nearly two dozen presidential aides" using Republican Party-sponsored e-mail accounts to plot the firing of federal prosecutors on political grounds?
The Republican National Committee set up the accounts for about 20 Bush aides, such as Karl Rove and his deputies, who get involved in politics, spokesman Scott Stanzel said. Having the GOP create non-White House addresses and provide separate BlackBerries, laptops and other communications gear was designed to avoid running afoul of Hatch Act rules barring federal employees from engaging in political activities with government resources or on government time, he said.I get it. It's all about secrecy. Cheney invoked executive privilege to keep his energy meetings secret. Bush aides wanted emails that wouldn't be subject to laws against political work on government time. Palin wanted email that wouldn't be subjected to government transparency requirements. Its enough to make any critical observer want to know what these Republicans are trying to hide.
Glenn Greenwalk writes for Salon ("What does Sarah Palin have to hide in her Yahoo e-mails?"):
If Sarah Palin isn't committing crimes or consorting with The Terrorists, then why would she care if we can monitor her emails? And if private companies such as Yahoo can access her emails -- as they can -- then she doesn't really have any "privacy" anyway, so what's the big deal if others read through her communications, too? Isn't that the authoritarian idiocy that has been spewed since The Day That 9/11 Changed Everything -- beginning with the Constitution -- to justify vesting secret and unchecked surveillance powers in our Great and Good Leaders?
Wasn't the hacker well-intentioned, acting as a good patriotic citizen, concerned about credible and obviously newsworthy reports from McClatchy that Sarah Palin -- just like the GOP administration she wants to succeed -- has been illegally using her personal email accounts to conduct business in order to evade subpoenas? What's a little lawbreaking among friends when the criminals can justify it afterwards with some good purpose?