- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Federal authorities are investigating the purported hacking of Internet accounts belonging to CIA Director John Brennan and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson after two Twitter users claimed responsibility.

The FBI and Secret Service said this week they were reviewing reports concerning breaches affecting the personal, non-governmental accounts used by either official after the New York Post published details of the hacks.

Twitter user “@phphax” told the New York Post for an article published on Monday that he had cracked into Mr. Brennan’s AOL email account and subsequently gained access to documents containing Social Security numbers and other sensitive information.

The hacker described himself in a phone interview as an American high school student motivated to target government officials as a result of U.S. foreign policy, the New York Post reported.

Along with an accomplice, also alleged to be in high school, the supposed hacker claimed responsibility for getting into Mr. Johnson’s Comcast account and accessing billing information and other details related to his cable service.

“John and Jeh are both very big people and high-ranking people, so, I mean, if we hacked them, they would be ashamed,” the hacker told CNN. “But it was really because the government are killing innocent people, they also fund (Israel) for killing innocent people.”

The phphax Twitter account taunted both officials throughout Monday as other outlets picked up on the paper’s scoop and was still active the following morning. An account purported to belong to his co-conspirator was suspended by the social media site earlier in the week.

Tweets still available on phphax’s timeline suggests the accounts of either government official may have been breached as early as Oct. 3.

“We are aware of the reports that have surfaced on social media and have referred the matter to the appropriate authorities,” said CIA spokesman Dean Boyd.

“We are aware of the media report, however as a matter of policy, we do not comment on the secretary’s personal security,” added DHS spokesman Sy Lee.

The FBI and Secret Service were both investigating, CNN reported, and a law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity told the news network that it did not appear that any classified information had been taken.

In 2013, hackers obtained credit reports pertaining to Mr. Brennan, Vice President Joseph R. Biden and first lady Michelle Obama, among others, and published them on the Web. While no arrests have ever been announced regarding the leaks, security researcher Brian Krebs has attributed the hacks to teenagers aligned with the hacktivist group UGNazi.

when i get raided im gonna ask john why he still used aol lmao,” phphax tweeted on Tuesday.  

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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