The Hacking of the Bush Family Emails
Last night I came across alleged paintings by George W. Bush’s of himself in the bathtub, courtesy of a hacking into the Bush family emails posted on the Smoking Gun. It was disturbing but slightly amusing, since according to the hacker, he sent these paintings to his sister. I’m hoping the paintings were the hacker’s idea of a joke. What was not so amusing was the photo of George W. H. Bush in the hospital.
The hacker, who goes by the name Guccifer, exposed personal Bush family emails and photos. The Chron reports, “The U.S. Secret Service is investigating a hacker who gained access to private emails between members of the Bush family and friends, officials confirmed Friday.” The hacker was able to “compromise emails, telephone numbers and home addresses for dozens of Bush family members.”
Revealed in the hacking are emails regarding the most private and painful of matters, the possible death of a family member, and now the world is reading about it.
The Smoking Gun reported, “Reached on her cell phone, a shocked Dorothy Bush said she was unaware that her account had been hacked. ‘Why would someone do this?’ asked the 53-year-old Bush…” Good question.
Perhaps this hit me hard because I lost my beloved Grandfather just a few months ago, and our family shared painful emails about the eulogy. These are sacred moments during which we are absolutely gutted, our souls laid raw and bare. It is somewhat ironic that my grandfather despised the actions of George W. Bush to such an extent that he had a countdown calendar to his last days in office.
We can despise the actions of politicians and yet not condone an invasion into their privacy. This isn’t even on par with Breitbart’s exploitation of Anthony Weiner, who was still in office and clearly doing stupid things with his twitter account. There is no reason for this invasion of the Bush family’s privacy.
Hacking into a family’s private emails at any time, but specifically when they are no longer even in office, strikes me as cruel. It’s not as if there is something here that deserves to be uncovered, such as in the Steubenville rape case. It’s not as if this can even serve as a historical look into the family, since it was just a month ago that George W.H. Bush was in the hospital fighting for his life.
Hackers wield great power. When that power is used for the greater good, it can be a tool of justice and even democracy in the sense that it forces transparency. But when we pry into people’s personal lives for no reason other than curiosity, and then share it with the world — in a sense outing someone — what is the point?
In the war between privacy and transparency, there should be a high bar of cause for invading personal privacy. The Bush family deserves their privacy. They deserve to have their emails about a possible eulogy for their father kept private.
Even George W. Bush, whose two terms as president were an unmitigated nightmare for democracy, deserves privacy regarding his current personal life now that he is out of office. His war crimes are another matter. Why didn’t this hacker do something useful for the world?
Image: Included in the hacking is this picture of former President George W. Bush next to a cardboard cutout of himself.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.