WASHINGTON, DC—Confusion and disbelief reigned at the White House after President Bush announced Monday that an Arizona man, known to authorities only as H4xX0r1337, stole his identity and used it to buy electronic goods, veto a bill, and meet with Mexican President Vicente Fox.
"This is incredibly frustrating," Bush told reporters Tuesday. "Not only does this guy have my credit-card information, he has my Social Security number, all my personal information, and the launch codes for a number of ballistic intercontinental nuclear missiles. I almost don't want to think about it."
"I feel so violated," Bush added.
Bush said he has canceled his credit cards and changed the national-security codes, but he labeled the process a "total nightmare."
"It's a huge ordeal," Bush said. "Everything will be straightened out eventually, but my credit rating and political capital are down the tubes. I asked the FBI, and they aren't even sure how long this guy's had my identity. For all I know, he's started up his own oil refinery somewhere in Alaska."
Bush said he began to suspect something was wrong when he received a card from Sen. Bill Frist, thanking him for vetoing the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act of 2005.
"I thought I was going crazy," Bush said. "I had no recollection of even reading that piece of legislation, much less killing it. At first, I thought Frist had things mixed up, but I checked the records, and sure enough, someone with my credentials came into the White House in late March while I was on my ranch and vetoed that bill."
Bush said he only recognized the full magnitude of the problem last Tuesday, when Mexican President Fox called to thank him for the "incredibly positive and productive summit."
"Vicente said I had agreed to an aid package for his country," Bush said. "It was like I was in cuckoo-land. That's when I called [FBI Director Robert] Mueller. I said, 'You may want to sit down for this one, Bob. I think someone stole my identity.'"
According to Mueller, examining Bush's recent outgoing e-mail led him to believe that the president's identity was probably stolen about five weeks ago, when he responded to an e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org asking him to comply with PayPal security measures by entering all 12 of his credit-card numbers, his Social Security number, his passwords, and his personal identification numbers.
"It appears that the president is among the many thousands of Americans who have fallen for so-called 'phishing' scams," Mueller said. "One should never give out sensitive personal information in response to an e-mail. If the president had read the memo we sent out a few months ago, he would have known that."
Although the FBI has traced H4xX0r1337's now-defunct ISP account to a Mail Boxes, Etc. mailbox in Tempe, AZ, Mueller said apprehending H4xX0r1337 may prove more difficult.
"Identity thieves and hackers are notoriously difficult to locate," Mueller said. "They are often highly intelligent and very skilled at covering their tracks. Making it more difficult, H4xX0r1337 seems to have used his credentials to commandeer Air Force One. At this moment, he could be anywhere in the world."
Bush said he will likely need to spend the entire week reclaiming his identity, adding that he wished to thank everyone who has already assisted him in the process.
"The FBI has been working tirelessly to find this man who hides in the shadows and perpetrates computer terrorism," Bush said. "I'd also like to thank Debrina at Bank One's customer-service center. She was very courteous and super helpful."
This is not the first time a hacker has stolen the identity of a political figure. In February 2004, police arrested Columbus, OH's HotGrrrl69 after the 16-year-old was caught campaigning for John Kerry while posing as Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA).