Sarah Palin’s staff debated whether to use private e-mail accounts to conduct state business, according to new e-mails released from the time Palin served as governor of Alaska.

Palin and her team opted to use personal accounts for some state business — a practice that was criticized when she was picked as Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) vice presidential running mate.

Just before Palin was designated as McCain’s running mate, one of her staffers, Tara Jollie, told the governor that she should rethink her e-mail strategy.

“I am bothered by what I perceive as an unnecessary paranoid reaction by some people on staff to the recent attacks on you,” Jollie wrote. “ . . . Abandoning email practice for example.

“I, for one, refuse to let anyone take away my freedom of speech, my right to communicate to anyone, or my right to privacy. We need to stand tall, shoulders back, look critics dead in the eye, and say, ‘I haven’t done a thing I need to apologize for.’ ”

Jollie has been defending Palin in recent weeks after another former staffer, Frank Bailey, wrote a tell-all book about her.