Image purported to be Michelle Obama's passport posted online

The White House on Thursday declined to comment on their validity, but spokesman Josh Earnest said the administration was taking the matter seriously.

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he walks out with First lady Michelle Obama on the South Lawn of the White House upon return to Washington from New York, U.S. September 21, 2016.

An image purported to be a scanned copy of U.S. first lady Michelle Obama's passport was leaked online on Thursday alongside personal emails said to belong to a low-level White House staffer who worked with Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

Reuters was unable to verify the authenticity of the passport or related documents, the latest dump of sensitive material by a hacking entity U.S. intelligence officials suspect is linked to Russia.

The White House on Thursday declined to comment on their validity, but spokesman Josh Earnest said the administration was taking the matter seriously.

"We're aware of those media reports, and it is something we're looking into," U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at a news conference.

The emails published on Thursday appear to be from a Gmail account belonging to staffer Ian Mellul and largely contain mundane information concerning planning logistics for Clinton campaign events.

The leak is the latest in a set of files targeting U.S. politicians and political insiders to be disclosed by a group calling itself DC Leaks.

Last week the group published personal emails from former Secretary of State Colin Powell showing his distaste for Clinton and her Republican rival, Donald Trump.

Powell confirmed to Reuters the hacked messages were authentic.

Cyber security experts and U.S. intelligence officials have said the DC Leaks group, which says it is operating in the name of anti-secrecy, is a front for a wide-ranging hacking operation by the Russian government that also has breached Democratic party organizations and at least two state election systems.

The U.S. Secret Service "is concerned any time unauthorized information that might pertain to one of the individuals we protect, or our operations, is allegedly disclosed," said Nicole Mainor, a spokeswoman for the agency. She declined to comment further, citing a policy of not providing information about investigations.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.