Former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush in 2008 (Evan Vucci/AP)
The U.S. Secret Service has opened an investigation into the hacking and publishing of personal emails between members of the Bush family, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary confirmed to Yahoo News on Friday morning.
Leary would not provide further details as the investigation is open.
The Smoking Gun website on Thursday published what appear to be photos and correspondence details from former Presidents George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Dorothy Bush Koch, sister of George W. Bush and Jeb Bush; and other materials obtained by the hacker. These include emails and photos related to the senior Bush's recent extended hospitalization for bronchitis and other ailments.
Email addresses, phone numbers and mailing addresses were said to be included in the hack, which reportedly involved six email accounts for members of the Bush family and messages written between 2009 and 2012.
From the Smoking Gun:
Correspondence obtained by the hacker indicates that at least six separate e-mail accounts have been compromised, including the AOL account of Dorothy Bush Koch, daughter of George H.W. Bush and sister of George W. Bush. Other breached accounts belong to Willard Heminway, 79, an old friend of the 41st president who lives in Greenwich, Connecticut; CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz, a longtime Bush family friend; former first lady Barbara Bush’s brother; and George H.W. Bush’s sister-in-law.
The hacker, who used the alias Guccifer, told the Smoking Gun that he obtained photographs sent by George W. Bush to his sister of paintings he was working on, including self-portraits—one of the former president in a shower and another in a bathtub, both of which were provided to the Smoking Gun.
The hack also reportedly exposed emails that indicated how serious George H. W. Bush's health situation had become. The former president's chief of staff, Jean Becker, reportedly wrote to Bush's children: "Your dad’s funeral team is having an emergency meeting at 10 a.m. just to go through all the details," and said this information “fell under the broadening category of things NOT TO TELL YOUR MOTHER.”