Sarah Palin has said she is under heavy cyber attack from London-based supporters of the Wikileaks website.
Palin, a vocal opponent of Wikileaks' release of communications made by US diplomats, said in an email to ABC News that her credit card information and website were attacked by a group of hackers in London. The group, she said, was affiliated with 'Operation Payback', and had also targeted her husband's credit card.
The Palin site remains offline as of Thursday morning.
The attacks come only a week after Palin, widely tipped as a Republican candidate for US president in 2012, said the Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, should be hunted down in the way armed forces target the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.In an outburst on Facebook, Palin had branded Assange "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands".After the attack on her site, Palin wrote: "This is what happens when you exercise the First Amendment and speak against his [Assange's] sick, un-American espionage efforts."
This week, the same group of hackers, acting under the name 'Anonymous', also hit the domains of Visa and Mastercard, bringing the sites to a halt and hitting payments.
Details from the Wikileaks cables have been plastered all over social networking sites and newspapers for the past two weeks. The Amazon website is selling an ebook with all of the cables - even though days earlier it said it had stopped providing cloud services to Wikileaks.
A technical aide to the SarahPac website told ABC that the "DOS [denial of service] attackers, a group loosely known as Anon_Ops, used a tool called LOIC (Lower Orbit Ion Cannon) to flood arahpac.com. The attackers wanted us to know that they were affiliated with wikileaks.org through an obscure message in our server log file."
Wikileaks has sought to distance itself somewhat from the attacks. A spokesperson told the Guardian newspaper: "Anonymous ... is not affiliated with WikiLeaks. There has been no contact between any WikiLeaks staffer and anyone at Anonymous. We neither condemn nor applaud these attacks."
But the spokesperson added: "We believe [the attacks] are a reflection of public opinion on the actions of the targets."
Another Sarah Palin aide, Rebecca Mansour, said the SarahPac website was not harmed because the web team moved "quickly" to protect the site.