Audacious Hack Exposes Bush Family Pix, E-Mail
Hacker breached AOL account of ex-president's kin
FEBRUARY 7--The apparent hack of several e-mail accounts has exposed personal photos and sensitive correspondence from members of the Bush family, including both former U.S. presidents, The Smoking Gun has learned.
The photos and e-mails were uploaded yesterday to an online account that appears to have been hacked for the purpose of hosting the material.
In e-mail exchanges with the person who claimed responsibility for the hack, the individual claimed to have swiped “a lot of stuff,” including “interesting mails” about George H.W. Bush’s recent hospitalization, “Bush 43,” and other Bush family members.
Included in the hacked material is a confidential October 2012 list of home addresses, cell phone numbers, and e-mails for dozens of Bush family members, including both former presidents, their siblings, and their children. The posted photos and e-mails contain a watermark with the hacker’s online alias, “Guccifer.”
Correspondence obtained by the hacker indicates that at least six separate e-mail accounts have been compromised, including the AOL account of Dorothy Bush Koch, daughter of George H.W. Bush and sister of George W. Bush. Other breached accounts belong to Willard Heminway, 79, an old friend of the 41st president who lives in Greenwich, Connecticut; CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz, a longtime Bush family friend; former first lady Barbara Bush’s brother; and George H.W. Bush’s sister-in-law.
Both Heminway and Nantz corresponded with Bush, 88, about playing golf and visiting the Bush compound in Kennebunkport, Maine.
The hacked e-mails, sent between 2009 and 2012, include correspondence between Nantz and George W. Bush’s scheduler about an October 2010 golf outing in Dallas. One e-mail includes the street address for Bush, 66, as well as the four-digit code Nantz needed to enter at a security gate. A second e-mail includes details of where Nantz and Bush planned to have dinner after their Saturday golf outing.
One of the hacked Heminway e-mails was sent to him by Brit Hume, the Fox News political analyst, days after the 2012 presidential election. “Election outcome disappointing, but there are many silver linings,” Hume wrote in the November 9 e-mail.
The breach of Dorothy Bush’s AOL account yielded the hacker e-mails that were sent to her late last year about the health of her father, who was then hospitalized in Houston. A November 28 "Report on Dad" e-mail was sent to several family members by Neil Bush, one of George H.W. Bush’s four sons, and included specific details of the 41st president’s illness and prognosis.
In a December 27 e-mail to his four siblings, Jeb Bush saluted his ailing father’s “kindness and good nature” and pointed to “how kind he was with President Clinton and he helped restore his sordid reputation. A very tough thing to do but with kindness, dad probably helped Bill Clinton than anything he himself has done.”
Bush, who wrote at a time his father was in intensive care (and amid media reports that the ex-president was on his death bed), added, “Might be tough to say it that way in a eulogy with President 42 there.”
The hacked e-mails reveal that Bush’s health was so perilous in late-December that the former president’s chief of staff wrote his children to inform them that “your dad’s funeral team is having an emergency meeting at 10 a.m. just to go through all the details.” The Bush aide, Jean Becker, noted that this information “fell under the broadening category of things NOT TO TELL YOUR MOTHER.”
In a December 26 e-mail to his siblings, George W. Bush wrote that he was “thinking about eulogy” and solicited stories that best illustrated their father’s sweet nature, favorite jokes, and acts of kindness. “Hopefully I’m jumping the gun,” noted Bush, who added, “But since the feeling is that you all would rather me speak than bubba, please help.” The mention of “bubba” is apparently a reference to Clinton, whom Bush has referred to as a “brother” due to his close relationship with George H. W. Bush.
Another hacked e-mail showed that presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett forwarded a personal message in late-December to the ailing Bush from President Barack Obama, who wrote that, “Michelle and I haven’t wanted to impinge on you while you are recuperating, but please know that we are thinking of you and the entire family.”
One of the photos intercepted by the hacker shows Bush in a hospital. In an e-mail, the hacker said the photo was snapped in December 2012, and that he took the image from Dorothy Bush’s e-mail account. Reached on her cell phone, a shocked Dorothy Bush said she was unaware that her account had been hacked. “Why would someone do this?” asked the 53-year-old Bush, who is pictured at right.
Other family photos show George H.W. Bush with Clinton at the Bush family compound in Maine; Jeb Bush; George W. Bush posing next to a cardboard cutout with his face attached to it; George W. Bush with Ralph Lauren and the designer’s son David (who is married to Neil Bush’s daughter Lauren); and Barbara Bush and Laura Bush posing with a military member.
The hacker also intercepted photos that George W. Bush e-mailed two months ago to his sister showing paintings that he was working on, including self-portraits of him showering and in a bathtub. Another image shows the former president painting at the family’s Maine retreat (his subject is St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, a historic seaside chapel down the road from the sprawling Kennebunkport compound).
The hacker contends that “The feds” began investigating him a “long time ago,” and that he has hacked “hundreds of accounts.” Asked if he was concerned about the FBI/Secret Service investigation that will no doubt follow shortly, he replied crytically, “i have an old game with the fucking bastards inside, this is just another chapter in the game.”