Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly reportedly had one of his personal email accounts hacked while he was serving as the secretary of state.
Emails obtained by BuzzFeed, through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), revealed that Kelly instructed his staff to refrain from sending emails to prevent the messages from reaching public.
Ironically, he cited the use of FOIA by journalists and public to access these emails as reason enough to limit communication on email.
“As we discussed in NYC about the toxic atmosphere here in the D.C. cesspool, my folks are nervous about e-mails you send and ask that you no longer include them on any postings,” Kelly wrote in a June 8, 2017, email. He adds, “FOIA is real and everyday here in the cesspool, and even federal court action on personal accounts is real.”
However, he later admitted that one of his personal accounts had been hacked by an unknown intruder, which added to his resistance to correspondence over email.
“Then there is hacking which one of my own personal accounts has suffered recently,” he wrote. After the breach of his privacy, he said he does “almost everything” over the phone or in person.
The emails confirmed earlier reports by Politico about Kelly’s emails having been compromised. It was earlier reported that the account may have been hacked in late 2016. At the time, White House refused to confirm or deny the news.
Reportedly, the National Security Agency forbade senior officials of Trump’s transition team from communicating with each other through personal phones and email addresses shortly after the administration took control in Washington D.C., United States.
Two officials with direct knowledge of the matter informed BuzzFeed News that the email was addressed to another DHS official. However, a spokesperson of DHS stressed that the email was sent to a private citizen but failed to produce evidence to support the claims.
Kelly informed the mysterious recipient of his emails that the staff working under him, “50%” of whom voted for Clinton, was annoyed by their emails.
Although his privacy had been breached, Kelly can now excuse any unwise emails he ever sends with a “My email had been hacked.”
Thumbnail, Banner: Reuters, Joshua Roberts