In Brief

Teenager claims he hacked CIA director's email account

Hacker says he posed as worker from US telecoms giant Verizon to access personal details

A teenage boy claims he has hacked the personal email account of CIA director John Brennan.

The teenager claims he accessed sensitive government documents, which the espionage chief had forwarded as attachments from his work email. He says these included a 47-page application that Brennan had filled out to achieve top-secret government security clearance.

Such applications, used by the government to perform background checks, contain a treasure chest of delicate details not only about workers seeking security clearance, but also about their friends, spouses and other family members, reports Wired.

The hacker, who says he was working with two other people, accessed other sensitive documents, including a spreadsheet containing names and social security numbers – some of them for US intelligence officials. He also uncovered a letter from the Senate asking the CIA to halt its use of torture.

The hacker says he first got access to Brennan's AOL account by posing as an employee of US telecoms giant Verizon to trick a staff member into disclosing the spy chief's personal information.

He claims Verizon "easily" released the information, including Brennan's account number, his four-digit PIN, the back-up mobile number on his account, his AOL email address and the last four digits on his bank card.

Having obtained these details he was able to repeatedly reset the password on Brennan's email account, as the spy chief reportedly tried to wrestle back control. The trio of hackers were said to be in Brennan's account for three days before it was disabled last Friday.

They phoned Brennan, who, they claim, asked them what they wanted. After jokingly replying: "Two trillion dollars", they said they were asked again how much money they wanted. They apparently told Brennan: "We just want Palestine to be free and for you to stop killing innocent people."

The FBI and Secret Service are said to be looking into the reports, while Verizon said it was "actively investigating".

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