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CIA Director John Brennan says the recent hack of his personal AOL email account makes it clear how everyone can be at risk on the Internet.
“What it does is to underscore just how vulnerable people are to those who want to cause harm,” Brennan said. “And so I think it does epitomize, in many respects, what we have to deal with in this increasingly modern and interconnected world.”
Brennan spoke about the matter for the first time at a George Washington University conference co-sponsored by the CIA. He said he was outraged by the publication of sensitive data, including his contact list and his wife's Social Security number.
“You know, although we are government officials, we also have family and friends, bills to pay, things to do in our daily lives, and the way you communicate these days is through the Internet,” Brennan said. “And so therefore because of some things that were put out, the implication of some of the reporting was that I was doing something inappropriate or wrong or in violation of my security responsibilities, which was certainly not the case.”
The hacker has said he is a high school student protesting U.S. policy. He has said he fooled Verizon into providing him access to Brennan's account. Brennan said he was annoyed that some media accounts suggested impropriety on his part, but he did not cite any in particular outlets. The CIA director said he did nothing wrong.