Washington, Oct 1 : Governor Sarah Palin maintained a private e-mail account that she used to communicate with a small circle of staff members outside the state government's secure official e-mail system, according to the Wasilla company that established the site.
The account was separate from the Yahoo e-mail address that was abruptly abandoned by the McCain campaign on September 17, the day hackers penetrated the account and posted pages from it on the Internet. Palin had routinely used her Yahoo address for state business, the Washington Post reported.
Quentin Algood, the owner of ITS Alaska, said a discreet e-mail system was created from an old campaign account, with access confined to "a group of people, her closest confidants and co-workers and advisers and the person she sleeps with."
Algood said Frank Bailey, a Palin aide, maintained the system. Bailey disputed the existence of the private circle of e-mail recipients run through PalinForGovernor.com, the Web site that Algood, a Palin supporter, established free of charge for Palin's 2006 campaign.
"No, no, completely inaccurate. We haven't used that domain in a long time," Bailey said.
A spokeswoman for the McCain-Palin campaign acknowledged the accounts in a statement Tuesday.
"As a champion of government accountability and transparency, Governor Palin was exercising an abundance of caution to ensure that all state and personal business matters were being kept separate," said Meghan Stapleton.
The existence of additional private e-mail accounts may affect two state probes into whether Palin, her husband and her staff attempted to influence the job status of a state trooper who divorced Palin's sister.
It also raises more questions about Palin's record of commingling the official and personal.
The Yahoo inbox posted on the Internet contained family photos, notes from well-wishers and official state correspondence on pending legislation, the paper said.