An investigation has begun into a potential breach of the White House’s security after a scan of what appeared to be Michelle Obama’s passport appeared online.
The passport scan of Michelle Obama – if indeed it does include her real details – joined a list of sensitive White House information that has appeared online, including emails to and from the US president’s residency.
The scan appeared on the site DCLeaks.com, that describes itself as a project to “analyse and publish a large amount of emails from top-ranking officials and their influence agents all over the world”.
Security detail is looking into it
This potential breach comes after a worrying few months for government officials, with US presidential nominee Hillary Clinton being questioned over the leaks of her own emails, as well as those of the Democrat and Republican national committees.
According to The Guardian, the US attorney general Loretta Lynch has said no more than the issue is “something that we are looking into”. However, the US Secret Service – whose role is to protect the president and the first lady – is on high alert.
This latest incident appears to be related to the recently confirmed Yahoo breach that has now become the most damaging of all time. It included a large batch of Michelle Obama’s emails, spanning between 2015 and 2016.
These emails would contain information she would have sent to staff responsible for organising her trips abroad, including scans of her passport and personal information.
The White House spokesperson, Josh Earnest, has issued a response to the claims reiterating that it is now being looking into, but has added that the responsible actor could not yet be identified.
“At this point, I cannot announce any sort of conclusion that’s been reached about the individual or individuals that may have been responsible for the cyber breach that resulted in this information being leaked,” he said.
Speaking on 20 September with The Washington Post, the US director of national intelligence James Clapper suggested the DC Leaks group had ties with Russia.
“There is a tradition in Russia of trying to interfere in elections, their own and others,” he said.
“So it shouldn’t come as a big shock to people. I think it’s more dramatic now because now they have cyber tools.”