The Trump campaign may have obsessed relentlessly over Hillary Clinton’s email security, but the Trump administration keeps getting tricked by outsiders seeking to communicate with high-level officials.
On Monday, CNN reported that several White House officials including former communications director Anthony Scaramucci and Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert were tricked into corresponding with a UK-based, self-described "email prankster." This report comes just days after it was revealed that US Energy Secretary Rick Perry unwittingly spoke to Russian jokesters about energy policy.
I even emailed Scaramucci yesterday evening . That's THREE people I've made him believe I am. 'Communications Director'... yeah right! pic.twitter.com/TVOsUCosXX— EMAIL PRANKSTER (@SINON_REBORN) August 1, 2017
The anonymous prankster, known as @SINON_REBORN on Twitter, embarked on a prank campaign targeting White House officials at the end of July by imitating various people within the Trump administration. This wasn’t the prankster’s first major endeavor — they previously pretended to be Howard Stern and executives at Citibank and Goldman Sachs — but this one apparently came from a personal place.
I targeted @Scaramucci as i've suffered from mental health problems all my life, and he seems to think paranoid schizophrenia is a put down— EMAIL PRANKSTER (@SINON_REBORN) August 1, 2017
In the email chains reported on by CNN, @SINON_REBORN posed as Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr., former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, among others. According to CNN, the prank emails targeted Scaramucci, Bossert, and Eric Trump. The general theme in @SINON_REBORN’s emails seemed to be insulting some members of the administration and insinuating that others should be removed from their positions.
In one exchange from July 28, the prankster imitated Huntsman in an email to Scaramucci and joked about getting “rid of dumb and dumber, the Trump sons.” Scaramucci’s response seemingly referencing his desire to see both Priebus and White House senior adviser Steve Bannon fired — CNN reported that the exchange took place before Priebus’s termination was announced at the end of July.
CNN reported that the following exchange, in which @SINON_REBORN asked whose “head should roll first,” was an apparent reference to both Priebus and Bannon:
FAKE HUNTSMAN: Who's (sic) head should roll first? Maybe I can help things along somewhat.
SCARAMUCCI: Both of them.
Days later, after Trump announced Priebus’s resignation as chief of staff, @SINON_REBORN emailed Scaramucci pretending to be Priebus. The prankster wrote that Scaramucci hadn’t “acted in a way that’s even remotely classy,” but conceded that Preibus’s replacement — Gen. John Kelly — would do a better job as chief of staff.
Here’s part of their exchange, as reported by CNN:
FAKE PRIEBUS: I had promised myself I would leave my hands mud free ... but after reading your tweet today which stated how; “soon we will learn who in the media who has class, and who hasn't,” has pushed me to this. That tweet was breathtakingly hypocritical, even for you. At no stage have you acted in a way that's even remotely classy, yet you believe that's the standard by which everyone should behave towards you? General Kelly will do a fine job. I'll even admit he will do a better job than me. But the way in which that transition has come about has been diabolical. And hurtful. I don't expect a reply.
SCARAMUCCI: You know what you did. We all do. Even today. But rest assured we were prepared. A Man would apologize.
FAKE PRIEBUS: I can't believe you are questioning my ethics! The so called 'Mooch', who can't even manage his first week in the White House without leaving upset in his wake. I have nothing to apologize for.
SCARAMUCCI: Read Shakespeare. Particularly Othello. You are right there. My family is fine by the way and will thrive. I know what you did. No more replies from me.
The prankster has since tweeted that they will no longer be targeting the White House. @SINON_REBORN wrote Monday, “I’m just a dude with a iPhone, you need to tighten up IT policy. love x x.”
White House - FYI I won't be pranking you any longer, point made. I'm just a dude with a iPhone, you need to tighten up IT policy. love x x— EMAIL PRANKSTER (@SINON_REBORN) August 1, 2017