Palin covers digital tracks in US election

Pythonesque subterfuge over Troopergate

Tech savvy creationist

Hockey mum and US Presidential candidate Sarah Palin is not looking as transparent in her political dealings as she would like us to think.

The woman with whom Republican nominee John McCain hopes to lead the US in some direction or other is refusing to hand over more than a thousand emails in connection with an investigation into 'Troopergate'.

The latest 'gated' controversy concerns her allegedly prominent role in the firing of her former brother-in-law, and his boss. Both sackings appeared to be motivated less for professional reasons and more for the temerity of falling out with the Palin clan.

Let there be transparency!

Pro-reformer Palin is claiming executive privilege despite the fact that many of the emails were clearly nothing to do with sensitive state business. Using unofficial email accounts such as gov.sarah@yahoo.com and devices such as BlackBerries, she is seeking to avoid letting the courts see them as public records.

This is a tactic that was taught by the angels of the lord, the Big G himself. We refer, of course, to White House aides protecting George Dubya from prying investigators over the allegedly political firing of government lawyers.

The same administration 'lost' millions of emails after an 'upgrade' to the White House system shortly after George Bush 'won' his first election. (We should point out the excessive use of qualifying speech marks in this article is entirely beyond our control).

Lipstick on an elephant

A lawsuit launched by Republican state legislators is designed to delay the Troopergate findings until after the election. The present brouhaha highlights the difficulties of holding people in public office to account when they know that leaving incriminating evidence on official channels could bring them down.

Admittedly, this didn't stop Richard Nixon from recording his own dodgy dealings on the office tape recorder. But he was the exception that made the rule and had a few devious plans to back up his machinations such as getting his secretary to tape over the bad bits, and pretending not to understand the question.

Palin, who supports the teaching of creationism, and believes living in Alaska gives her a good grounding in foreign policy, will no doubt have ample opportunity to exercise her imagination even more in the coming months.