The FBI is investigating a hacker’s reports that non-government personal accounts associated with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and CIA Director John Brennan were hacked, law enforcement officials said.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the anonymous hacker released a purported contact list of 2,611 email and instant message addresses, including information for national security and top intelligence officials. He claims the documents were stolen from Brennan’s AOL account along with personal information from Johnson’s Comcast billing account.
The hacker also claimed to have obtained a copy of Brennan’s application for a security clearance, known as SF86, from his AOL account, LA Times reports. So far, that document has not been released online.
At least some of the information in the hacker’s possession may be correct, according to WSJ. And intelligence officials have reached some of the contacts on the list telling them that their information has been compromised.
Both Home Security and CIA officials said that the matter had been passed on to “appropriate authorities,” but they would not say anything else. The FBI would not comment either.
Brennan’s account was disabled Friday, according to the Post.
If the email list and other personal information does belong to Brennan, this would be embarrassing for him. This year, he established a new Directorate for Digital Innovation at the CIA that was partially designed to learn how to better hide agency employees’ digital footprints.
The New York Post was the first to report the breach. The hacker allegedly contacted the Post last week using the nickname “cracka.”
In an article published Sunday, the hacker was said to have been motivated by his opposition to U.S. foreign policy and his Palestinian support. He was described as a “stoner high school student.”
The hacker contacted The Post to brag about his “success.” He claimed he used a tactic called “social engineering,” which involved fooling Verizon workers into giving Brennan’s information away and convincing AOL to reset his password.
Using the Twitter account @phphax, the hacker posted hundreds of email addresses he claims were taken from Brennan’s contacts and spreadsheets with names of current and former national security officials with their social security numbers crossed out, LA Times reports. The spreadsheets could date back to 2009, a time when Brennan was an adviser to Barack Obama on intelligence matters during his presidential campaign.