CNN reported Tuesday that Russian hackers broke into an unclassified White House computer system last fall, and while they didn't break into any classified systems, they still "had access to sensitive information such as real-time non-public details of the president's schedule," which security expert people told CNN is "still highly sensitive and prized by foreign intelligence agencies[.]" What we really want to know, though, is whether the Russkies had access to scheduling advice given to President Obama by his astrologer.


The White House said in October that it had detected unauthorized activity in the unclassified network, which includes computers used in West Wing executive offices; the system has since been shut down and upgraded periodically. Multiple agencies, including the FBI, intelligence agencies, and the Secret Service, are investigating the hacks. We feel much better knowing that the Secret Service is on this -- and they'll have some answers just as soon as they're finished playing Tetris.

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Ben Rhodes, Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser, refused to confirm whether it really was Russia that got into the computer network, but told CNN, "We do not believe that our classified systems were compromised" and that the use of separate systems for classified and unclassified information prevented the hackers from finding out any security secrets, like who ordered the IRS to audit the fast and furious soldiers at Benghazi.

"We're constantly updating our security measures on our unclassified system, but we're frankly told to act as if we need not put information that's sensitive on that system," he said. "In other words, if you're going to do something classified, you have to do it on one email system, one phone system. Frankly, you have to act as if information could be compromised if it's not on the classified system."

CNN also reported that it looks like the White House security breach started with an earlier hack of State Department computer systems:

The State Department computer system has been bedeviled by signs that despite efforts to lock them out, the Russian hackers have been able to reenter the system. One official says the Russian hackers have "owned" the State Department system for months and it is not clear the hackers have been fully eradicated from the system.

Oh, now we feel much safer. It's believed that a compromised email account from State was used to "spear phish" security authorizations from the White House -- basically, a hacker pretending to be Joebob@state.us.gov invited someone on the White House system to come over at lunch and play fooseball in the Alexander Haig Break Room, and by the way could they also have a password, too, so they can send you this selfie they took with the hot Crimean Attorney General? White House employees have been briefed on the need to avoid such scams, even with emails that appear to be from a familiar source. So they've definitely stopped answering emails from deposed Nigerian princes, and this may also be why that "Netanyahu" guy never got an appointment with the President, either.

White House security people insist that the holes in the White House system have all been patched, and took pains to emphasize that the hacked system was unclassified. So maybe we don't have to worry about the nuclear launch codes. But god only knows what the Russians may have found out about details of lunch menus and other sensitive information.

Maybe we should ask Vladimir Putin if he knows why the White House Florist was suddenly fired.

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[CNN / Bloomberg]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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