CIA Director John Brennan said Tuesday he was "outraged" when a hacker broke into his personal email account, but added the attack highlights how everyone's personal data is vulnerable on the Internet.
Brennan told a conference on national security at George Washington University in Washington that he was outraged by the publication of sensitive data.
“I was certainly outraged by it. ... I certainly was concerned about what people might try to do with that information," he said at the conference, which was co-sponsored by the CIA.
Brennan also faulted the media not only for its coverage of the incident, but also for suggesting impropriety or lax security on his part regarding the email account.
"Because of some things that were put out, the implication of the reporting was that I was doing something wrong or inappropriate or in violation of my security responsibility, which was not certainly the case," Brennan told those at the conference.
"Giving air to what is criminal activity and propagating information I think was inappropriate," he said about media coverage.
WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website, began releasing documents from Brennan's private AOL account last week, days after a teenage hacker said he fooled telecommunications giant Verizon into providing him access to Brennan's account.
The information included email contact addresses, some of which were out of date, his wife's pension identification number, and the Social Security numbers and personal information of U.S. intelligence officials.
Other hacking cases
The case marked another instance of hacking involving the U.S. government or government officials, although it appeared to be of a much smaller and more primitive character than previous attacks, such as the massive breach of Office of Personnel Management computers in June.
It appears Brennan stopped using the account in 2008 when he rejoined the government after a period in private life.
Brennan said the incident should serve as an example for everyone of the growing vulnerabilities of the cyber world.
“I think it does epitomize … what we have to deal with in this increasingly modern and interconnected world. It’s a reality of the 21st century,” the CIA chief said.
Some material for this report came from AP, Reuters and AFP.