An “email prankster” successfully tricked top White House officials by posing as various administration members in a series of emails, CNN reported Monday night.
The United Kingdom-based emailer managed to present himself as White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, former chief of staff Reince Priebus and recently-nominated ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr.
From The Hill
CNN obtained the emails from the so-called “prankster” — in one set, the prankster posed as Kushner in a message sent to Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert.
“Tom, we are arranging a bit of a soirée towards the end of August,” the person pretending to be Kushner wrote to the official White House email account of Bossert. “It would be great if you could make it, I promise food of at least comparible [sic] quality to that which we ate in Iraq. Should be a great evening.”
Bossert, seemingly taken in, replied, “Thanks, Jared. With a promise like that, I can’t refuse,” and proceeded to include his personal email, CNN said.
“We take all cyber related issues very seriously and are looking into these incidents further,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CNN.
The prankster also managed to convince White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci — who lost his job earlier Monday — that he was Priebus, and exchanged several emails with him shortly after Priebus left the administration last week.
“I had promised myself I would leave my hands mud free,” the fake Priebus wrote, “but after reading your tweet today which stated how; ‘soon we will learn who in the media who has class, and who hasn’t’, has pushed me to this. That tweet was breathtakingly hypocritical, even for you. At no stage have you acted in a way that’s even remotely classy, yet you believe that’s the standard by which everyone should behave towards you? General Kelly will do a fine job. I’ll even admit he will do a better job than me. But the way in which that transition has come about has been diabolical. And hurtful. I don’t expect a reply.”
Scaramucci reportedly replied to the email from the fake Priebus, saying “You know what you did. We all do. Even today. But rest assured we were prepared. A Man would apologize.”
The prankster continued to email with Scaramucci while posing as Priebus, slamming Scaramucci for questioning his ethics and saying he “had nothing to apologize for.”
“Read Shakespeare. Particularly Othello. You are right there. My family is fine by the way and will thrive. I know what you did. No more replies from me,” Scaramucci replied to the prankster, according to CNN.
CNN said the person also sent emails to Scaramucci posing as Huntsman, in which Huntsman inquired about “whose head[s] should roll” in the apparent feud between Scaramucci, Priebus and White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon.
Huntsman and Eric Trump were also taken in by fake emails, though CNN noted that Eric Trump caught on quickly to the suspect emails from “Donald Trump Jr.” and told the sender, “I have sent this to law enforcement who will handle from here.”
The emailer told CNN their intentions weren’t malicious and were intended as fun.
“I try and keep it on the humorous side of things,” the email prankster said. “I’m not trying to get the keys to the vault or anything like that.”