The piece of paper with passwords for an encrypted email service on ProtonMail account was found by a source that provided it to The Intercept, which reportedly verified its authenticity. Switzerland-based ProtonMail is described as the world’s largest secure email service, which appears is often being used by politicians, journalists and others who prefer that sensitive information and contact details be protected with zero-access encryption.
Social media users were quick to react to the blunder, with many wondering why a White House staffer was using a ProtonMail account:
The more interesting question is why a White House staffer is using a @ProtonMail account.— Perry Donham (@perrydBUCS) 17 марта 2018 г.
ProtonMail is based in Switzerland. It's outside US jurisdiction. There's no oversight. ProtonMail is the preferred webservice of criminals and others who have something to hide. This is a much much bigger deal than a "private e-mail server".— Mathemagician (@MathManCuin) 17 марта 2018 г.
Another user explained that it doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is engaged in criminal activities if he’s using that particular email service:
To be clear, many people who use @Protonmail are perfectly ordinary individuals who engage in completely legal activities but simply don't want their communications open for scanning/logging/selling by Google, Comcast, and the like.— Brandon (@BrandonX356) 17 марта 2018 г.
Some alluded to the Hillary Clinton email scandal…
…but Hillary’s email server!!!! Benghazi!!!— Pete Grant (@batsoup) 17 марта 2018 г.
…and to Donald Trump’s “lock her up” remarks against Clinton:
Lock them up— Doreen Levett🇨🇦 (@LevettDoreen) 18 марта 2018 г.
There were those who were “glad” that White House staffers used buses:
Honestly, I'm just glad that someone in this administration once used a mode of transportation other than private jet.— Gwen C. Katz (@gwenckatz) 18 марта 2018 г.
While other netizens said it was ridiculous:
Do WH staffers use buses? That seems like George HW Bush going to the supermarket.— Carl Hegelman (@Wmboot) 18 марта 2018 г.
Why was a White House staffer hanging out at a bus stop and jotting down his address and password there? If this is true, then this had to have been an intentional leak.— Tiffany Y (@StarrySkies_7) 18 марта 2018 г.
At the same time, many mocked Trump’s promise to hire the “best people”…
The best people. Top notch.— postgoth (@postgoth2) 18 марта 2018 г.
Only the best people. Believe me.— SeanGroark (@SeanGroark) 17 марта 2018 г.
…one of the users even found Trump’s tweet, spot on for the occasion:
Crooked Hillary Clinton and her team "were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information." Not fit!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 6 июля 2016 г.
It is yet unclear whether any sensitive information was compromised; McAvoy did not respond to The Intercept’s requests for comment either.