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Top White House Aides Tricked By Email Prankster Posing As Other Top Aides

In response to a fake Reince Priebus, Anthony Scaramucci told him to read Othello.

01/08/2017 2:57 PM AEST | Updated 01/08/2017 2:57 PM AEST
MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images
Homeland security adviser Tom Bossert was among those fooled by an anonymous email prankster pretending to be another White House official.

Senior officials at the White House, including ousted communications director Anthony Scaramucci, were duped by an email prankster after being sent a series of messages that appeared to come from other top aides in the Trump administration, CNN first reported Monday night.

The anonymous prankster, who lives in Britain and tweets using the handle @SINON_REBORN, reportedly posed as White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in one of the email chains to Scaramucci shortly after Priebus announced his resignation last week.

“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?” a mock Priebus emailed. “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 replied: “You know what you did. We all do. Even today. But rest assured we were prepared. A Man would apologize.” He later went on to tell the prankster (thinking it was still Priebus) to “Read Shakespeare. Particularly Othello.”

Scaramucci was also sucked into an exchange with a fake Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor who was chosen last month to be the U.S. ambassador to Russia. The real Huntsman was also tricked by a fake Eric Trump, and the real Eric Trump was emailed by a fake Donald Trump Jr., although the younger son of the president later said he forwarded the messages to authorities.

The prankster was able to successfully pose as President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in an email sent to homeland security adviser Tom Bossert. The message from a fake Kushner included an invitation to “a bit of a soirée” alongside promises of “food of at least comparible [sic] quality to that which we ate in Iraq.”

“Should be a great evening,” the note ends.

“Thanks, Jared. With a promise like that, I can’t refuse,” Bossert wrote back, according to the email obtained by CNN. He also included his personal email address, which CNN redacted.

CNN obtained the emails from the prankster and confirmed their authenticity with the White House. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded that the White House was investigating the cyber-spoofing.

You can read the full exchanges at CNN.

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