Tipster claims to have hacked into old email account of Mitt Romney

WASHINGTON – Did Mitt Romney’s personal email just get hacked?

An anonymous tipster claimed on Tuesday to Gawker to have broken into his Hotmail account by guessing the presumptive Republican nominee’s favorite pet (no word whether it is Seamus, the dog Romney strapped in a crate on the car roof during a family trip).

The tipster also claims to have changed Romney’s password – for both the Hotmail account, as well as for a separate Dropbox account that used the same password – and sent new the new password to Gawker. The gossip site said it had not used the new passwords to access Romney’s account – which could be a criminal offense—but it did contact the Romney campaign.

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“The proper authorities are investigating this crime and we will have no further comment on it,” Romney’s communications director, Gail Gitcho, said in a statement.

Romney, who has Secret Service protection, may also be able to utilize federal investigators.

Romney had a Hotmail account dating back to his time as governor, and the Associated Press released a handful of emails obtained through public records requests earlier this year.

But it is unclear whether there is any recent material in Romney’s Hotmail account, however. On Aug. 11, 2006, according to the AP messages, he sent a message out distributing a new email address through his campaign domain, mittromney.com. “Please keep it confidential as its use is for family and close friends,” Romney wrote. “I will no longer be using my Hotmail account.”

Four years ago, then-vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin had emails from a Yahoo account hacked, and many of them were widely circulated.

It is still unclear whether Romney’s personal emails will surface. What is clear is that if you’re thinking about running for national office someday, start thinking of some hard-to-crack passwords.

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