Palin emails offer inside glimpse, no revelations

More than 24 000 pages of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s emails show her getting to grips with mundane state issues, feuding with the media and dealing with her sudden rise to national prominence, but do not appear to contain any damaging material.

Alaska released the correspondence on Friday two and a half years after news organisations requested it under state open-records laws.

The initial request to see Palin’s correspondence—much of it on private Yahoo email accounts—was made in 2008 shortly after Republican presidential nominee John McCain chose Palin as his vice presidential running mate.

Palin was then the subject of a legislative probe into accusations that she had abused her power as governor to seek revenge against a state trooper who had been married to her sister.

The emails, some heavily redacted to remove private or privileged information, come from the first two years of Palin’s governorship, from December 2006 to September 2008.

About 2 400 pages were withheld because state attorneys deemed them to contain privileged information. News organizations’ requests to see emails up to Palin’s resignation as governor in July 2009 are still pending.

The New York Times, the Washington Post and cable news channel MSNBC worked all day on Friday and overnight to scan the emails and post them online, inviting public response.

Highlights of the emails so far include:

  • Aides planning to send emails to the Anchorage Daily News complaining about Palin’s treatment by a blogger on the newspaper’s site. “Guys, I may be pretty wimpy about this family stuff but I feel like I’m at the breaking point with the hurtful gossip about my family,” Palin wrote.
    “I hate this part of the job and many days I feel like it’s not worth it ...”

  • Palin asking aides in May 2007 if there is time in her schedule for a June 2007 event by Pastor John Hagee, a Texas evangelist whose controversial comments about the Holocaust prompted McCain, to repudiate his endorsement in May 2008. “I should try to get back to juno for this one,” she wrote.

  • A request that aides set up a meeting with McCain’s team, several months before he chose Palin as his running mate. “Is it possible to get hooked up (maybe by Nick Ayers?) with someone from the McCain campaign?” Palin wrote. “I want to talk to McCain’s people about his ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) and resources positions.”

The six cartons of documents include emails from Palin’s official account as well as two private Yahoo accounts—chiefly gov.sarah@yahoo.com—which she used to conduct state business, a practice that critics said circumvented Alaska’s open-records law.

The emails “show a very engaged Governor Sarah Palin being the CEO of her state,” said Tim Crawford, treasurer at SarahPAC, Palin’s political action committee. “The emails detail a governor hard at work. Everyone should read them.”

Palin has not said whether she would run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.—Reuters

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