EDGARTOWN, Mass. (AP) — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi warned fellow Democrats on Saturday to change their cellphone numbers and not let family members read their text messages after personal and official information of Democratic House members and congressional staff was posted online.
Pelosi told Democratic lawmakers that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and other Democratic Party entities were the target of “an electronic Watergate break-in.”
As a result, a mix of personal and official information of Democratic members and hundreds of congressional staff, purportedly from a hack of the DCCC, was posted online, Pelosi said.
A hacker who calls himself Guccifer 2.0 took credit for posting the information Friday night. He had claimed responsibility for the recent hack of Democratic National Committee emails, which roiled the Democratic National Convention last month.
Pelosi said she was flying from Florida to California when she heard about the posting of information such as cellphone numbers
“Upon landing, I have received scores of mostly obscene and sick calls, voicemails and text messages,” Pelosi said in her letter to colleagues. “Please be careful not to allow your children or family members to answer your phone or read incoming text messages. This morning, I am changing my phone number and I advise you to do so as well. ”
Pelosi said the chief information security officer of the House, John Ramsey, in coordination with U.S. Capitol Police, has sent communications to those people whose email addresses have been made public about how to address the problem. The chief administrative officer of the House has also sent an email stating that the House computer system has not been compromised, but urged members and staff to be vigilant about opening emails and websites.
Ramsey, in a memo distributed by Pelosi, advised lawmakers to change passwords to all email accounts that they use and strongly consider changing non-House email addresses if possible. Should lawmakers or staff receive any threats or observe suspicious activity, they should contact U.S. Capitol Police and local police, he said in the memo.
Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., the chief deputy whip for House Democrats, was holding a conference call with lawmakers Saturday evening along with cybersecurity experts who have been investigating and responding to the breach.
“This is a sad course of events, not only for us, but more importantly for our country,” Pelosi said in urging lawmakers to join the conference call with Lujan.
While Guccifer 2.0 has described himself as a Romanian hacker and denies working for Russia, online investigators assert that he is linked to Russia.
Disclosures of email showing DNC staffers privately supporting Hillary Clinton during the presidential primary while publicly maintaining they were neutral in her race with Bernie Sanders led to the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.