Archive for ‘David Kernell’

October 8, 2008


From U.S. Department of Justice:

WASHINGTON – David C. Kernell, 20, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Knoxville, Tenn., for intentionally accessing without authorization the e-mail account of Alaska governor Sarah Palin, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney James R. Dedrick for the Eastern District of Tennessee announced today. Kernell turned himself into federal authorities for arrest and will be arraigned today before U.S. Magistrate Judge C. Clifford Shirley.
The single count indictment, returned on Oct. 7, 2008, and unsealed today, alleges that on approximately Sept. 16, 2008, Kernell, a resident of Knoxville, obtained unauthorized access to Gov. Palin’s personal e-mail account by allegedly resetting the account password. According to the indictment, after answering a series of security questions that allowed him to reset the password and gain access to the e-mail account, Kernell allegedly read the contents of the account and made screenshots of the e-mail directory, e-mail content and other personal information. According to the indictment, Kernell posted screenshots of the e-mails and other personal information to a public Web site. Kernell also allegedly posted the new e-mail account password that he had created, thus providing access to the account by others.
If convicted of the charge, the defendant faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a three year term of supervised release. A trial date has not been set.
The case is being prosecuted by Section Chief Michael DuBose and Trial Attorney Mark Krotoski of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Weddle of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Anchorage and Knoxville field offices.
An indictment is merely an allegation. Defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

The indicment in PDF format.

UPDATE: Knoxville News Sentinel and WBIR-TV are also reporting. (Via Instapundit.)

UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin and Allah are blogging it.

UPDATE III: More blogging at Spin Cycle, JammieWearingFool and Gateway Pundit.


September 23, 2008

David Kernell lawyers up

UPDATED & BUMPED (AGAIN) 2:05 p.m.: No indictment. Yet.

UPDATED & BUMPED 1 p.m. ET: Man, it’s hard to believe how the national media are managing to ignore this huge story:

A Grand Jury in Chattanooga on Tuesday morning heard testimony into the alleged hacking of the personal e-mail of Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Three young college-age people declined to comment as they entered the Federal Courthouse around 9 a.m.
Security officers notified members of the media at 10:30 a.m. that the trio had exited the courthouse by another door.
The three, including two males and a female, are apparently friends of a University of Tennessee student who is under investigation for the hacking. David Kernell is a UT student who is the son of a Democratic state legislator from Memphis.

UPDATE: Somehow I missed this yesterday:

Devon Holbrook is a UT student from Memphis who grew up with Kernell. He was shocked to hear from mutual friends that David was in some serious trouble. “I went on Google, and the first thing I saw is David’s picture and articles talking about what had happened,” Holbrook said. “I immediately started freaking out.” . . .
Holbrook says Kernell loves chess, economics, and talking about politics.
“I would definitely say he’s more to the left in terms of politics, but he’s never really been active as far as political groups or anything like that,” Holbrook added. . . .
Kernell’s political views are all over several websites.
“He goes by the name Rubico,” Holbrook said.

Via CanadaGuy.

UPDATE 4:45 p.m.: The Joe Friday “just the facts ma’am” version at AmSpecBlog got linked at Drudge and Hot Air. Meanwhile, I get the Ace-o-Lanche headline. (Hey, where’s my $75,000?)

EARLIER: Knoxville News-Sentinel:

David Kernell and his father, state Rep. Mike Kernell, D-Memphis, met with their attorney, Wade V. Davies, at his downtown law office. . . .
Davies issued a statement: “The Kernell family wants to do the right thing, and they want what is best for their son. We are confident that the truth will emerge as we go through the process. David is a decent and intelligent young man, and I look forward to assisting him during this difficult period.” . . .
Rep. Kernell disputed suggestions on some Internet blog sites that he and his son were part of a Democratic conspiracy to embarrass Palin.
“Did I take part in a conspiracy? No. I was informed of this situation Thursday morning for the first time. I was in (a legislative) committee and got a call from a blogger friend who told me it had broken that morning,” Kernell said.

Where are these “Internet blog sites” who have made “suggestions” that this was a conspiracy involving Mike Kernell (D-Memphis)? No one that I’m aware of.

However, “rubico10” said he hacked Sarah Palin’s e-mail looking for something “incriminating . . . that would derail her campaign.” And on his Facebook page, David Kernell called himself an “Obamacrat.” So it is fair and accurate to say this:

“David Kernell, an Obama supporter and son of a Tennessee Democrat, is under investigation by the FBI in connection with the politically-motivated hacking of Palin’s e-mail account.”

No need for conspiracy theories. Oh, and he’s lawyered up. I love the sound of that phrase, “lawyered up.” That’s what they alway say 50 minutes into the “NYPD Blue” episode, just before Andy Sipowicz goes in and beats a confession out of the creep.

SIPOWICZ: Is he talking?
KELLY: No, he’s lawyered up.
SIPOWICZ: Give me five minutes.

That’s what the FBI needs here, a Sipowicz.

: News? What news?
9/21: Search warrant for ‘Rubico10’?
9/19: Hey, an online lynching!
9/19: FBI surveilling David Kernell?
9/19: Pray for the Kernell family
9/18: David Kernell under investigation
9/18: Palin hacker ID’d?
9/17: Left-wingers hack Sarah Palin’s personal e-mail account

September 22, 2008

News? What news?

UPDATED & BUMPED (1:45 p.m.): Associated Press just moved a full story:

The FBI searched the residence of the son of a Democratic state lawmaker in Tennessee over the weekend looking for evidence linking the young man to the hacking of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s personal e-mail account, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press on Monday. . . .
Experts said the hacker apparently left an easy trail for investigators.
“He might as well have taken a picture of his house and uploaded it,” said Ken Pfeil, an Internet security expert. “He should have just set up a big beacon that said, ‘Here’s my house,’ or confessed. If they can’t catch this guy based on all the information posted on the Web then all bets are off.”

Like the man said: Heh.

UPDATE: More news from Tennessee:

Grand Jury in Chattanooga could reportedly hear testimony this week into the alleged hacking of the personal e-mail of Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. . . .
A federal grand jury is set to convene in Chattanooga on Tuesday.

(Via Michelle Malkin.)

UPDATE II: QC Examiner:

Of course, these are the same people who shriek about the government monitoring terrorists. . . .
Hacking terrorists = bad
Hacking political rivals = GOOD!

UPDATE III: Computer World:

The man who traced the IP address of the hacker who accessed Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s e-mail account last week confirmed today that it belongs to an Illinois company that provides Internet service to the Knoxville, Tenn., apartment complex where the FBI served a search warrant early Sunday.
Gabriel Ramuglia, the webmaster of Ctunnel, an Athens, Ga.-based proxy service used by the hacker to mask his or her identity, acknowledged that the IP address he found in his server logs belongs to Pavlov Media, an Internet service provider based in Champaign, Ill.
According to its Web site, Pavlov Media provides Internet, television and phone services to The Commons at Knoxville, a complex that specializes in apartments for students of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

PREVIOUSLY (11:17 a.m.): Thursday, it was reported that David Kernell, the son of a Democratic state legislator in Tennessee, is at the center of an investigation into the hacking of Sarah Palin’s e-mail account. Yesterday, it was reported that the FBI served a search warrant at Kernell’s apartment in Knoxville.

Big news, right? So why is nobody in the major media following up? Associated Press, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN — all missing in action on this story.

UPDATE: Just got off the phone with Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney, who was able to confim that “investigatory activity took place in Knoxville over the weekend.”

In keeping with policy of not commenting on active investigations, Ms. Sweeney said she “can’t be more specific than that.” However, she did say that the Department has had several media inquiries. “It’s a pretty big news story,” she said. No further official Department comment is to be expected unless and until someone is charged in the case.

UPDATE II: Linked by Instapundit. Thanks. You’d think that somebody at the Associated Press could bother to report this story, instead of leaving it to bloggers and Tennessee-based media.

UPDATE III (1:20 p.m.): Speak of the devil! Associated Press bulletin:

WASHINGTON (AP) Law enforcement officials say the FBI has searched the home of the son of a top Democratic state lawmaker in Tennessee as part of its investigation into the hacking of Sarah Palin’s personal e-mail account. The officials say agents searched David Kernell’s Knoxville home over the weekend.

Once again, Instapundit gets results!

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)


September 21, 2008


Can the national media ignore this?

A person who identified himself as a witness tells 10 News that agents with the FBI served a federal search warrant at the Fort Sanders residence of David Kernell early Sunday morning. Kernell lives in the Commons apartment complex at 1115 Highland Ave.
David Kernell is the son of Mike Kernell, a Democratic state representative from Memphis.
A Department of Justice spokesperson confirmed there has been “investigatory activity” in Knoxville regarding the Palin case, but she said there are no publicly available search warrants, and no charges have been filed.
A separate law enforcement source confirmed to 10 News that a search warrant was served on Kernell’s apartment.
According to the witness, several agents arrived at The Commons of Knoxville around midnight.

Thanks to commenter Kitty for the tip. Will update if further information develops.

UPDATE: Apparently, Gateway Pundit had this first, with a link at Instapundit.

UPDATE II: Jammie Wearing Fool also has it linked. This story broke just about the time I was complaining, “[S]ince it was reported Thursday that the Memphis FBI office was involved in the Palin investigation, not a single major news organization has followed up to ask what it is in Memphis that merits the FBI’s interest.” If this search-warrant story proves legit, it’s going to be hard for the national media to ignore now.

UPDATE III: Jawa: “You ever notice that Glenn Reynolds and David Kernell are never photographed together — even though they’re both supposedly at UT?” And did you also notice that Rusty Shackleford and Glenn Reynolds have never been photographed together, even though they’re both bloggers? I’m just sayin’ . . .

UPDATE IV: Remember how, when the Palin hacking first made headlines, all the liberals declared it just a juvenile prank comparable to the hacking of Paris Hilton’s account? So what’s going to be their excuse if the FBI has served a search warrant on the son of a Democratic politician? Hey, I’m like Andrew Sullivan: Just asking questions . . .

UPDATE V: Interesting tidbit from the story:

Kernell’s three roommates were also subpoenaed, and must testify this week in Chattanooga.

Hmmm. I’m thinking this might be connected to my theory that the FBI has had Kernell under surveillance since Thursday. If Kernell’s father is right in saying that they haven’t been contacted by the feds, then it took some “investigatory activity” to identify Kernell’s roommates, and there must be some reason they suppose the testimony of those roommates would have relevance to this case. Boys, say hello to the federal grand jury!

UPDATE VI: Sarah at PW Pub writes: “I was just about to link the tragic news that David Kernell was beyond the reach of the law and its protections, lynched, murdered by the blogosphere!” I think she means “the bottom layer of the right-wing noise machine.”

UPDATE VII: Allahpundit:

What were they doing serving a search warrant circa 1 a.m. on Sunday morning? Just maximizing the embarrassment by crashing this kid’s party, a sort of buzzkill di tutti buzzkills? Kind of jerky — yet kind of awesome.

I’m telling you: The feds had this kid under surveillance. They wanted to ID as many of his “known associates” as possible, and maybe busting up a party at 1 a.m. was the best way to get them. Besides (a) it’s more likely they’ll slip up and say something incriminating after they’ve been knocking back jaegerbombs for a couple hours and (b) arrest the kid for underage drinking, and you’ve got a legit excuse to keep him in custody if that’s what you want to do.

But … man. Can you imagine being a college kid, partying down, somebody knocks on the door and it’s the FB-freaking-I?

UPDATE VIII: The Nashville Tennessean has a report, which seems to be based entirely on WBIR’s reporting.

UPDATE IX: More at Free Republic, Scoop This, AOSHQ, Pursuing Holiness, Red State and the Washington Times.

UPDATE X: Sharon Cobb: “Let me add that David is in a hotel with his father, Mike, and not in jail.”


September 19, 2008

FBI surveilling David Kernell?

A bit of mystery:

  • FBI Memphis office says it has been contacted by the FBI Anchorage office in regard to the Palin e-mail hacking investigation.
  • As of 3:37 P.M., according to Tennessee blogger Sharon Cobb — a friend of state Rep. Mike Kernell –neither he nor his son David had been contacted by law enforcement.

Hmmm. OK, so what is the FBI up to? What was the request from Anchorage? What is SOP for the FBI?

An educated guess: Establish the location of the person of interest, begin surveillance, make sure that he doesn’t go to the airport and board a plane for Rio de Janeiro. Also, watch to see if he drives to a dumpster and ditches any computer-sized packages.

The computer forensics folks at FBI HQ are the lead investigators in this case. The conclusive evidence is stored in online databases, not in Knoxville or Memphis. Until HQ has found the basis of a search warrant or an arrest, there’s not really any reason for FBI agents to question the Kernells.

If I were David Kernell, however, I don’t think I’d be discussing this situation on the telephone, if you get my drift. And I’d keep my eyes peeled for late-model sedans driven by vaguely official-looking people.

UPDATE 9/21: FBI serves search warrant?

September 19, 2008

Video: TV news on David Kernell

Via Gateway Pundit, who’s got a wrap-up of the latest. Will update with more soon . . .

September 19, 2008

Pray for the Kernell family

According to Tennessee blogger Sharon Cobb, there have been death threats against state Rep. Mike Kernell. This is crazy behavior, and whoever is responsible for it should be prosecuted.

People: It’s just politics, OK? The United States is the greatest country in the world, with the greatest people in the world, and whatever happens Nov. 4 will not change that. If the result is the election of a Democrat . . . so what?

A nation that can survive LBJ, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton is a nation that even Barack Obama can’t destroy. The man has already turned thousands of Hillary Clinton supporters into ex-Democrats. Just think how many ex-Democrats he’d create if he managed to get elected.

Whoever hacked Sarah Palin’s e-mail and then went online to brag about wanting to “derail her campaign” has clearly lost perspective about this election. So if the hacker turns out to be a 20-year-old chess nerd with emotional issues, and it turns out the guy’s dad is a Democratic politician, well, OK.

But death threats? What’s the point of that? Let’s leave that idiocy to the Unhinged. Besides, the media is going to go berserk on this one — check out this conviction-by-headline from the NY Post.

Look, if the FBI ends up bird-dogging on the Kernell kid, he and his family are going to go through a hell you couldn’t imagine in your worst nightmares. Ask people who’ve been through it. Being investigated and prosecuted by the feds is a soul-wrenching experience. It’s not like you’re dealing with the local sheriff and the county judge. It’s extremely impersonal. And there is no parole in the federal prison system.

Oh, and beware of the “obstruction” charge. Ever hear of a guy named Scooter Libby? He was sentenced to 30 months in prison. President Bush commuted that, but the dude still had to pay a $250,000 fine. He was disbarred.

Yesterday, somebody said David Kernell seemed to be deleting his online accounts. Bad decision. Attempting to destroy evidence in a case under investigation by the FBI? A crime in its own right. And the FBI has the best computer forensics people in the world, anyway, so you’re not helping yourself.

Don’t make death threats against the Kernells. Pray for them. I’ve got a hunch they’re going to be needing a lot of prayer in the near future. And God forbid you or anyone you know should ever find themselves at the center of an FBI investigation. Even if the Kernell kid’s perfectly innocent — mistaken identity or something — it’s going to be rough. But if the kid’s guilty . . .