By a Newsnet reporter
A hacker who it is claimed illegally accessed an email account used for Yes Scotland communications, issued threats to the organisation, it has been reported.
According to the Sunday Herald, an individual taunted senior board members at the pro-independence campaign and threatened to release information illegally gleaned from the email account.
In an article published today, the newspaper’s reporter Paul Hutcheon has revealed details of messages allegedly sent to members of the Yes Scotland campaign by one or more individuals who have illegally accessed a private email account used by a senior team member.
In the first message, sent to Yes chief Blair Jenkins on the day the email intrusion was revealed by the campaign head, the individual writes: “If you want to rein in the officials and in return be granted a full disclosure of my ‘intrusion’ then I shall be more than happy to comply. In addition you can be assured that there will be no publication of documents.”
The person added: “Let me know if there’s a compromise to be reached.”
In a later communication the individual makes the threat clearer: “My offer to disclose all remains, thereby ensuring you have full comfort and control of all the facts.”
“My find was purely by accident, however I will have absolutely no hesitation in releasing this in full.
“There is sufficient public interest for disclosure and that in itself would work to my advantage.”
The emailer goes on to say: “I shall have no option but to make enquiries as to the likelihood of obtaining support for my disclosures to those with an interest in becoming aware of the underhand tactics endorsed by Yes Scotland.”
The emails, sent over a 24 hour period then appear to alter in tone with the individual claiming the motivation for accessing the account was to alert Yes Scotland to ‘poor security’.
“As previously discussed, this is not a hack. This is yet another exposé of the poor security and user practices in place by individuals associated with Yes Scotland.”
“Please do ensure that the advisory board is aware of all the communications to date, where I have sought to reassure.”
Claiming the hacking of the email account was “not politically motivated”, the individual adds: “Do ensure all are aware that I’ve approached Blair many times within the past 24 hours, but no response … “
“Best wishes and of course no harm intended to the campaign.”
The revelations follow a police investigation into claims by Yes Scotland in August that the organisation’s emails had been hacked into. Yes Scotland head Blair Jenkins called in police after his team were inadvertently alerted by a national newspaper journalist who revealed information that had not been released to the public.
The information related to a fee paid by Yes Scotland to an academic who had written an article that was published by the Herald newspaper. The academic, Dr Elliot Bulmer, had requested the modest fee of one hundred pounds.
The Sunday Herald revealed that a threat was also made by the individual to contact Scotland’s charity watchdog about the Constitutional Commission, which at that point had Dr Bulmer as its research director.
Although there is no suggestion of any connection, a complaint was subsequently filed against the Constitutional Commission by the Better Together campaign. The complaint, lodged in September, was thrown out by the Office of Scottish Charity Regulator in October.
The Better Together campaign has accused Yes Scotland of wasting police time over the email claims and has suggested Yes Scotland leaked the emails themselves.
In a recent statement issued by the anti-independence group, it said:
“Under serious pressure over the damaging allegations contained in the leaked emails, the First Minister implied media involvement in hacking the email accounts of the independence campaign and threatened serious repercussions for the media. Blair Jenkins then claimed they had been subject of a sinister criminal attack.
“The reality is this was a deliberate and cynical attempt to deflect attention away from the fact the Yes campaign had been caught deceiving Scots. This has been an extraordinary waste of police time.”
Newsnet Scotland has asked Police Scotland to comment on the claims by Better Together that the emails were leaked and that the investigation “has been an extraordinary waste of police time.”
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