Donald Trump's senior team allowed an outside entity to access internal information through fake email contacts, despite Trump's campaign built on exploiting fears about Hillary Clinton's emails.
Several members of the Trump White House compromised the security of their emails by sending internal information to a British email prankster, less than a year after a presidential campaign filled with false attacks on Hillary Clinton and her emails.
CNN reports that key figures in the Trump administration were convinced by the scam.
Tom Bossert, who serves as an official adviser to the Department of Homeland Security on cybersecurity, fell for the prankster’s invitation to a party from “Jared Kushner,” and even offered his personal email address to the fake Kushner.
That’s especially noteworthy considering the incessant attacks from Trump and the Republican Party about Hillary Clinton’s use of private email.
The prankster also was able to solicit an angry retort from then-communications director Anthony Scaramucci by pretending to be the now-former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus complaining about Scaramucci plotting to have him removed from his position. In response to the fake Priebus email, Scaramucci wrote, “You know what you did. We all do. Even today. But rest assured we were prepared. A Man would apologize.”
Scaramucci also fell for an email pretending to be Jon Huntsman, Trump’s pick for ambassador to Russia. Huntsman himself fell for a fake email pretending to come from Eric Trump. And Eric Trump believed the fake email connection as well, though he eventually realized it was a fake.
Cybersecurity experts told CNN that the scam the Trump team fell for followed the pattern of other dangerous intrusions where gaining trust via email is a prelude to more serious hacking.
The breach comes after Trump and his allies rode the hobby horse of criticism against Clinton for operating a private email server throughout the 2016 election — and even into Trump’s presidency. Unlike the Trump team, Clinton’s emails were never compromised by outside forces.
Trump attacked Clinton for “extreme carelessness” with her emails, but it was his assortment of feuding henchmen and hangers-on who were so driven by their unprofessional hatred of each other that they gave up internal information to an outsider.
The episode raises more questions about how the administration has been handing out access to classified status for Trump’s lieutenants and family members, and how they not only profit from that access, but have now shown themselves to be extremely vulnerable to divulging that information.
The mainstream media was obsessed with Clinton’s emails, but the facts have shown, time and time again, the real security risk is Trump.