White House investigating e-mail prank that hoodwinked officials: Reports

Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert had shared his private e-mail address with the prankster.
Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert had shared his private e-mail address with the prankster.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON - The White House is investigating an e-mail prank that had several members of Donald Trump's inner circle communicating with a man pretending to be one of them.

The British-based e-mail prankster shared the e-mail exchanges with CNN, the broadcaster reported on Tuesday (Aug 1).

It included a correspondence with a White House official in charge of cyber security where the prankster pretended to be Jared Kushner, the US president's son-in-law.

CNN identified that official as Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert, who shared his private e-mail address with the prankster, an ABC report said.

The Outlook e-mail from the fake Kushner said:

"Tom, we are arranging a bit of a soirée towards the end of August.

"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."

And this was Bossert's reply:

"Thanks, Jared. With a promise like that, I can't refuse. Also, if you ever need it, my personal email is" (redacted).

The prankster told CNN he was surprised that Bossert responded.

Two other exchanges involved former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, where the prankster posed as former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in one correspondence, and Ambassador to Russia-designate Jon Huntsman Jr in another.

"Who's (sic) head should roll first?" the fake Huntsman e-mailed on Friday before Priebus' ouster was announced. "Maybe I can help things along somewhat."

"Both of them," responded Scaramucci.

He was apparently referring to Priebus and White House Senior Adviser Steve Bannon, the CNN report said.

Scaramucci was himself removed from his position by Trump on Monday (July 31).

The White House has said they are taking the prank seriously.

"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 email prankster, who tweets under the name @SINON_REBORN, also tried to hoodwink Eric Trump by pretending to be his older brother, Donald Trump Jr.

But Eric Trump seemed to have caught on, as his reply was, "I have sent this to law enforcement who will handle from here."