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Agents search apartment in Palin e-mail investigation

  • Story Highlights
  • Agents searched the Knoxville, Tennessee, apartment of David Kernell, sources say
  • Kernell is the 20-year-old son of state Rep. Mike Kernell, D-Memphis
  • A person calling himself "Rubicon" claimed to hack into Palin's account, WBIR says
  • David Kernell has been associated with "Rubicon" name, WBIR reports
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From Terry Frieden
CNN Justice Producer
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- FBI agents investigating the hacking of a personal e-mail account belonging to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin searched the home of the son of a Tennessee state legislator, federal law enforcement sources said Monday.

E-mail from Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's personal account was posted on the Internet by a hacker.

The search occurred late Saturday and early Sunday at the Knoxville, Tennessee, apartment of 20-year-old David Kernell, who is the son of Rep. Mike Kernell, D-Memphis, and a student at the University of Tennessee.

Knoxville station WBIR reported that students were having a party at the apartment when federal agents began their search. Witnesses told WBIR that Kernell and his friends fled the apartment when the FBI agents arrived.

Officially, Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney acknowledged Monday only that "investigative activity occurred" over the weekend, but three sources familiar with the case confirmed the search of Kernell's residence.

Although charges may be filed, none was believed to be imminent, according to the sources.

No documents have been made public showing what equipment or evidence agents had seized. The sources requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed.

Palin's Yahoo! e-mail account was hacked, and some of the contents were displayed briefly last week on a Web site, according to WBIR. A person going by the name "Rubico" took credit for hacking Palin's account by using Palin's ZIP code and birth date, and many people on the Internet associated that name with David Kernell, WBIR reported.

Although the displayed messages did not contain significant political disclosures, the McCain-Palin campaign issued a statement calling the incident "a shocking invasion of the governor's privacy and a violation of law."

All About Sarah PalinUniversity of TennesseeYahoo! Inc.

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