Mitt Romney's personal e-mail account may have been hacked; authorities investigate


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at Solyndra on May 31, 2012 in Fremont, California.


Justin Sullivan

Mitt Romney's personal e-mail account was hacked, according to an anonymous tip that Gawker reported Tuesday, and authorities have launched a subsequent investigation into the possible infiltration of the GOP presidential candidate's Hotmail. 

Romney's campaign spokeswoman Gail Gitcho told the Associated Press that "proper authorities are investigating this crime," but refused to say who was investigating or whether Romney still uses the account.

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The supposed hacker told Gawker that they had managed to access Romney's Hotmail account, which was made public in a Wall Street Journal story which published Romney's e-mails to his staffers about his passage of the health care reform bill in Massachusetts. He had been using the private e-mail for state business as early as 2006, according to Gawker. 

“I hacked in after finding the answer to the security question ‘What is your favorite pet,’” the anonymous tipster said in an e-mail to Gawker. However, while the password is fairly obvious (the Romney family dog, Seamus, has made headlines several times) the hacker didn’t send Gawker any screenshots or evidence of what the accounts contained as proof.

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The private e-mail account was receiving mail as recently as March 2012, Bloomberg Businessweek reported, but the address was returning e-mails as undeliverable, citing an "unknown address," as of Tuesday evening. 

Romney is not the first politician to have his e-mail account hacked, as ABC News pointed out. In 2008, Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s Yahoo account was hacked just months before the election.

The perpetrator, 20-year-old college student David Kernell (whose father Mike Kernell is the Democratic state representative from Tennessee), was indicted and charged with obstruction of justice and unauthorized access to a computer as a result. 

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