2 men arrested in the US for hacking e-mails of top officials, including CIA chief

CIA Director John Brennan participates in a session at the third annual Intelligence and National Security Summit in Washington, US on Sept 8, 2016.
CIA Director John Brennan participates in a session at the third annual Intelligence and National Security Summit in Washington, US on Sept 8, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Two men suspected of belonging to a network that hacked the e-mails of top American officials including, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief John Brennan, were arrested on Thursday (Sept 8) in North Carolina, the authorities announced.

Andrew Otto Boggs, 22, and Justin Gray Liverman, 24, are accused of taking part in a group of hackers nicknamed the "Crackas With Attitude", a Justice Department statement said.

Members of the network illegally accessed the personal data of the officials and their families between October 2015 and February 2016, downloading private information and then publishing it on public sites or harassing their victims by telephone, according to the department.

At least three members of the group reside in Britain, where they are under investigation, the department said.

Boggs, who uses the alias "INCURSIO," and Liverman, who goes by "D3F4ULT", are to appear next week before a federal court in Virginia to answer to the charges.

In October 2015, the WikiLeaks organisation published documents drawn from Mr Brennan's personal e-mails. He expressed "outrage" over the cyber-attack, saying he had not been irresponsible in his use of a personal e-mail account.

Police in Britain investigating the matter in February arrested a 16-year-old student suspected of involvement.

CNN and the technology website Motherboard reported at the time that the targets of Crackas With Attitude included top CIA officials like Mr Brennan, as well as senior figures in the FBI, the Homeland Security Department, the White House and other federal agencies.

In January, the US director of national intelligence James Clapper said that he, too, had been the victim of cyber pirates who had gained access to the personal account he used for Internet and telephone service, managing even to intercept phone calls from his home, Motherboard reported.