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Hacker gains access to Bush family emails, photos

WASHINGTON — The Secret Service is investigating a hacker's apparent theft of a trove of personal emails and photos belonging to the Bush family after they were posted late Thursday by the Smoking Gun website.

A report by the Smoking Gun said the emails covered the period from 2009 to 2012, and that a total of six accounts appeared to have been compromised. Among those hacked were Dorothy Bush Koch, daughter of President George H.W. Bush and sister of President George W. Bush; as well as sportscaster Jim Nantz, a Bush family friend.

The emails were obtained by a hacker called "Guccifer," the Smoking Gun said.

On Friday, a Bush family spokesperson confirmed the hack, and Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan confirmed that the Secret Service is leading an investigation.

The Smoking Gun did not release the full cache of hacked emails, or provide information about how it learned about them. "I don't really want to go into any further details," said Bill Bastone, the site's editor, in a telephone interview Friday. He also declined to say how many total emails the site had reviewed. "They were posted in an online account, which is where we found them."

The Smoking Gun report included several quotes from the stolen emails, which showed intimate moments from the lives of two ex-presidents who have guarded their privacy in retirement. Some of those moments were grim. Last year, while George H.W. Bush was in very poor health, the emails showed relatives planning for his funeral.

But there were also lighthearted scenes from the life of President George W. Bush, who has kept an unusually low profile since leaving office in 2009. Apparently, he has been painting.

Two months ago, the Smoking Gun said, the 43rd president sent his sister photos of two paintings he was working on. One showed Bush himself in the shower, viewed from the back and from the waist up. Another showed Bush in the bath, gazing out at his legs and toes.

But the former president does not only paint self-portraits. Another photo showed him at work painting St. Ann's Episcopal Church in Kennebunkport, Maine, near the family compound.

Reached by the Associated Press by email, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called the hacking "outrageous."

Hacker gains access to Bush family emails, photos 02/08/13 [Last modified: Friday, February 8, 2013 11:30pm]
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