Palin e-mail hacker tied to Memphis

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The internet is buzzing that the person who hacked into Sarah Palin's e-mail account is David Kernell, son of Tennessee State Representative Mike Kernell. While federal authorities investigate, Kernell isn't exactly confirming that the hacker is his son.

"I'm concerned, of course, as a father, that his name is out there on the internet and in the media. But I can't say anything at this point," said Rep. Kernell in a phone interview Thursday. "I've got to respect his privacy as a person who is in the legislature. I can confirm he is my son, and I have not been contacted about anything about my son."

An online report on says Kernell told radio host Mike Fleming that his son David, a student at the University of Tennessee, is being referenced in the investigation.

But Kernell says his son hasn't been contacted by law enforcement.

David Kernell is a sophomore at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. The school would only confirm that he's a student there. 
Kernell seems to be erasing himself from the internet, closing his Facebook and YouTube accounts.

The FBI and U.S. Secret Service launched an investigation Wednesday after content from an email account owned by Palin was posted on the internet.

An FBI spokesperson in Memphis said, "A matter was referred to the FBI office in Memphis we are currently investigating. We are working in conjunction with the FBI in Anchorage Alaska and FBI headquarters."

University of Memphis Law Professor Steve Mulroy says that though it sounds very bad, the culprit who hacked into Palin's e-mail account will likely only face a misdemeanor charge.

"I think it's not really as serious as you might think, at first glance," said Mulroy.

But Mulroy does acknowledge that all the publicity and the fact that Plain is a vice presidential candidate does give the case a high priority.

to e-mail Janice Broach.