Guccifer, the hacker who infiltrated the email accounts of influential Americans and released former President George W. Bush’s paintings and exposed an alleged affair of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, was arrested Wednesday in Romania.
Guccifer has been identified as 42-year-old Marcel Lazăr Lehel, a former cab driver who was sentenced for computer hacking in Romania in 2002, the Times of London reported Wednesday.
Guccifer became known as the hacker who gained access to the AOL email account of Dorothy Bush Koch in February 2012. Koch is the daughter of former President George H.W. Bush and the sister of George W. Bush.
American authorities helped Romanian law enforcement capture Guccifer, according to Romanian media outlet Mediafax. The company said Lehel, who also used the online moniker “Little Smoke,” was caught in Arad, Romania, after authorities raided his home.
“In this case there is reasonable suspicion that during 2013, based on a single criminal charge, the accused … accessed repeatedly and against the law, in violation of security measures, email accounts belonging to public figures in Romania, in order to take possession of confidential data in email, then changed authentication passwords, thereby restricting user access to computer data such as in email," Romanian authorities said in a press release. "Subsequently, the accused disclosed the content of the correspondence in public, and committed fraudulent damage in the online privacy and denigrating public image of the persons concerned."
By gaining access to Koch’s emails, Guccifer found and publicly released photos of paintings created by George W. Bush, including a self-portrait of the former president showering naked.
Koch’s account also contained a note from her brother, Neil Bush, on the state of their father’s health. The elder Bush's health was deteriorating at the time and he was briefly in intensive care. As part of the email chain, George W. Bush wrote that he was “thinking about a eulogy” for his father, adding, “hopefully I’m jumping the gun.”
Guccifer struck again over the summer, sending the Smoking Gun emails between a Romanian diplomat and Powell, which forced the former secretary of state to deny an affair with 45-year-old Corina Cretu. While Powell admitted that the emails were “of a very personal nature,” he denied sleeping with Cretu.
“Those types of emails ended a few years ago,” he wrote in response. “There was no affair then and there is not one now.”
Other Guccifer victims include venture capitalist John Doerr and journalist, author and ex-Clinton family adviser Sidney Blumenthal.