Anonymous notched its first major attack on Donald Trump since the hacking collective first declared war back in December on the billionaire running for the Republican nomination for president. The hackers allegedly accessed Trump’s voicemail, listened to the saved messages and recorded a new greeting in which they refer anyone interested in making “America great again” to the infamous haunt of Anonymous on 4chan the random board /b.
The hackers also turned over recordings of the voicemails found on Trump’s phone to Gawker. The news site received 35 voicemails but released only three of them from MSNBC personalities Tamron Hall, Mika Brzezinski, and Joe Scarborough. The group of messages Gawker inexplicably did not release reportedly contain appearances from longtime Obama advisor David Axelrod, boxing promoter Don King, and even New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Video of the hackers reportedly accessing Trump’s voicemail and resetting the greeting appeared on Youtube. In quick succession, it drops references to actor Matthew Lillard, 4chan, and the white supremacist call sign 1488.
It’s Matthew Lillard, also known as TV’s Shaggy Rogers here. And we’re going to make America great again. And this is how you do it. Visit the campaign at boards.4chan.org/b. That’s boards.4chan.org/b. Thank you for supporting Donald Trump. Together, we will make America great again. Hashtag MakeAmericaGreatAgain. Hashtag 1488.
Anonymous declared Donald Trump fair game after he proposed a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the United States. A representative then posted a video accusing Trump of aiding ISIS with his inflammatory and derogatory remarks and urging Anonymous members around the world to take on the candidate. The voicemail hack is the first successful attack since the group appeared to take down the Trump Tower website in December.
It’s unclear why Gawker is unwilling to release the vast majority of the Anonymous voicemails. The two voicemails from Tamron Hall and one from Joe and Mika together may show a friendly relationship between Trump and the media, but since they’re undated, they could be from well before Trump was a candidate for president.
As Scarborough pointed out in a tweet on the subject, for many years before Trump entered the political arena directly, he was an NBC employee as host of The Apprentice.
BRZEZINSKI: Hi, Donald. It’s Mika and Joe calling. Say hi, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey there, Donald. How you doing?
BRZEZINSKI: We’re just leaving you a message because we’re trying to get in touch with you, but you must be, like, on your jet or something. We’d love to talk to you, so call one of us. What’s your other number, Joe?
SCARBOROUGH: I’m at [REDACTED]. And the kids want to scream “Thank you,” to you, Donald. Say, Thank you, Donald.”
CHILDREN: Thank you!
SCARBOROUGH: We are so, so grateful for everything, Donald, and we just want to call you and tell you how much it means to us.
BRZEZINSKI: It was amazing. Thank you, Donald. Hope to talk to you soon. Bye.
While stopping short of confirming the voicemail, Scarborough acknowledged the possibility that he and Brzezinski had raised money from Trump for a children’s charity in the years before he became a presidential candidate.
The Hall voicemails are similarly benign for a reporter who has consistently shown herself up to the task of holding Trump’s feet to the fire over his strange unwillingness to disavow the Klu Klux Klan.
The remaining voicemails that Gawker chose not to release may not contain major revelations, but it’s definitely still surprising that a group of Anonymous hackers could find their way into the voicemail of a presidential candidate. And it seems likely that they broke in by convincing a Verizon customer service representative to change the passcode on the voicemail for them, citing a new phone.
The hackers may not have uncovered any major dirt on the candidate who is widely thought to be the Republican frontrunner, but they did do pretty well as far as the “lulz” are concerned. And as Anonymous in general gets more obviously political, any candidate beside the group’s favorite should take note of the power of the 4chan trolls.
As for their preferred president, they dropped a major hint over the weekend.