The FBI is stepping up its investigation into the possibility that a University of Tennessee student hacked into the personal e-mail of Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
A person who identified himself as a witness tells 10 News that agents with the FBI served a federal search warrant at the Fort Sanders residence of David Kernell early Sunday morning. Kernell lives in the Commons apartment complex at 1115 Highland Ave.
David Kernell is the son of Mike Kernell, a Democratic state representative from Memphis.
A Department of Justice spokesperson confirmed there has been "investigatory activity" in Knoxville regarding the Palin case, but she said there are no publicly available search warrants, and no charges have been filed.
A separate law enforcement source confirmed to 10 News that a search warrant was served on Kernell's apartment.
According to the witness, several agents arrived at The Commons of Knoxville around midnight.
They presented their badges upon entering Kernell's apartment, where several students were having a party, and took down their names.
The witness tells us they asked him and those who did not live in the unit to go outside. He believes the investigators took about 1.5 to 2 hours taking pictures of everything inside the apartment.
He says Kernell's three roommates were also subpoenaed, and must testify this week in Chattanooga.
Knoxville blogger and WBIR contributor Terry Frank has posted what she says are images from Kernell's Facebook page.
Numerous web sites say someone going by the name "Rubico" has admitted to hacking Palin's email. According to http://www.wired.com, "Rubico" made the claim in an internet posting. This person said it was easy to access Palin's yahoo account by using information like her zip code and birthdate. Various people on the internet have quickly associated Rubico with David Kernell.
Previous StoryThe son of state Rep. Mike Kernell has been contacted by authorities in connection with a probe into the hacking of personal e-mail of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Kernell confirmed on Thursday.
Kernell, a Memphis Democrat, said his 20-year-old son David had been contacted by authorities investigating the hacking of Palin's personal email account.
The FBI and the Secret Service started a formal investigation on Wednesday into the hacking.
David Kernell is a student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Mike Kernell said he spoke to his son on Thursday, as he does on a regular basis.
Kernell otherwise declined to comment, or discuss his son's whereabouts and whether he was in custody.
Reports that Palin's e-mail had been hacked bounced across blogs and into the news on Thursday.
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