WASHINGTON – A Romanian is facing charges that he hacked into the Facebook or email accounts of high-ranking U.S. government officials and a relative of two former presidents.
Marcel Lehel Lazar, the hacker known as “Guccifer” who has been linked to the release of private Bush family photos, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in Virginia.
Lazar, 42, faces charges including wire fraud, unauthorized computer access, cyberstalking and aggravated identity theft.
The indictment states that from late 2012 to January 2014 Lazar hacked into the email or Facebook accounts of a former U.S. Cabinet member, a former member of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, a former presidential adviser and a person related to two former presidents.
The individuals are not identified in the indictment, but the document says that on Feb. 7, 2013 multiple media organization published portions of the content that was taken in the email hack of the presidential relative. On that day the website The Smoking Gun posted photos said to have be swiped in an email hack of the Bush family.
One of the posted photos showed George H.W. Bush during a hospital stay. Two other images, paintings that appeared to be self-portraits done by George W. Bush, received particular media attention. In one, the former president appears to be shaving in the shower. The other is of feet soaking in a bathtub. Neither shows any nudity. The word “Guccifer” is on one photo in translucent, neon blue print.
The Lazar indictment says that when he emailed the content he had taken to media organizations he “marked some of the content with his alias.”
The indictment also says that in March 2013 Lazar accessed and posted messages on the Facebook page belonging to the former Cabinet member, identified in media reports from the time as Colin Powell, and sent out email from his AOL account to dozens of media organizations.
AOL’s servers are located in Virginia, giving the case a link to the state.
Multiple media reports say Lazar is jailed in Europe. Court documents in the U.S. didn’t list a lawyer for him.