(FORT WORTH, Texas) — Investigators are working to determine whether the email of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney was hacked, a campaign spokeswoman confirmed to ABC News.
The reports of a potential hacking were first reported by the blog Gawker, which posted a story Tuesday that said a tipster had come to them with the information after a Wall Street Journal story that same day revealed Romney’s Hotmail email address. The Wall Street Journal had published portions of emails Romney sent from the email address firstname.lastname@example.org for a story about how the former Massachusetts governor defended the individual mandate in the Massachusetts health care plan.
It was this story, the tipster claims, that led him to crack the presidential hopeful’s code word and tap into his private emails.
“I hacked in after finding the answer to the security question ‘What is your favorite pet,’” the anonymous tipster wrote in an email to Gawker.
The tipster revealed the password (which Gawker redacted in its post and did not report whether it was Romney’s old dog, Seamus, whom he infamously strapped to the roof of his family’s car for a five-hour road trip), claimed that he changed it and also said he changed the password for Romney’s Dropbox account, a virtual storage unit that the campaign uses to share documents.
There has so far been no evidence that the tipster is telling the truth; no emails or documents have been made public since the alleged hacking.
Communications Director Gail Gitcho confirmed that an investigation is ongoing over the alleged hacking, but would not specify which federal agencies, if any, were aiding in the investigation.
“The proper authorities are investigating this crime, and we will have no further comment on it,” said Gitcho in an email statement.
If the allegations turn out to be true, Romney wouldn’t be the first politician to have email compromised. VP nominee Sarah Palin’s Yahoo! account was hacked in 2008, just months before the election, and a 20-year-old college student, the son of a Democrat state representative from Tennessee, was later indicted and charged with obstruction of justice and unauthorized access to a computer.
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