How Can a President's Email Get Hacked?

Rebecca Greenfield

Put more simply: How the heck do you hack an ex-president's email these days?

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Of course, this particular hack was of the more embarrassing and quite literally exposing family nature. In addition to showing the world how actually pretty decent a painter George W. Bush has become, Guccifer, the hacker, discovered that he may have been preparing a eulogy for his father, even as conflicting reports about his health emerged in public. According to the emails, in late December Bush 41's chief of staff Jean Becker wrote: "Your dad’s funeral team is having an emergency meeting at 10 a.m. just to go through all the details," adding that this information "fell under the broadening category of things NOT TO TELL YOUR MOTHER." There's also this little tidbit from Fox News's Brit Hume following the reelection of Barack Obama: "Election outcome disappointing, but there are many silver linings."

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For Obama, his BlackBerry obsession has been well detailed — he's still using one, despite rumors about an iPhone — but he has often joked that the Secret Service is too vigilant about it. One need only remember that ridiculous episode of Homeland this season to think about the worst: Personal devices become threats when they're in the hands of the most powerful person in the world. And Obama's iPad isn't all cuddling with the First Lady — the NSA's John Levine raised questions as recently as last September about the new realities of the president reviewing classified information on an Apple product:

“The president is getting his daily intelligence briefing on an iPad. Ten years ago we wouldn’t have done that, but that’s what the president wants, so that’s what he gets. Now, that iPad is neutered-it has no connectivity. It gets plugged into a docking station. We can do that for the president, but can we can’t scale that. So the question is, can we use commercial products that are secure?”

While the Secret Service may very well be extending the same kinds of protections to former presidents, it would do well to beef up all around. Either that, or AOL accounts' two-factor verification aren't good enough to protect a Bush sister's photo album — and so America ended up with this today:

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(Photos via Guccifer via The Smoking Gun)