Back in January, Governor Kristi Noem claimed that her personal cell phone had been hacked and blamed the January 6th Select Committee that investigated her dear Donald Trump’s role in hacking our Constitutional democracy:
Following the leak of Governor Kristi Noem and her family’s personal Social Security numbers and other private information by the January 6th Committee, Governor Noem’s personal cell phone number has been hacked and used to make hoax calls. Governor Noem had no involvement in these calls.
“Callous mishandling of personal information has real world consequences,” said Governor Noem. “If you get such a phone call from my number, know that I had no involvement. I have urged both the United States Attorney General and multiple congressional committees to investigate the leaking of my family’s personal information, and I look forward to whatever resolution they can provide.”
The South Dakota Fusion Center has been notified of this breach [Office of the Governor, press release, 2023.01.23].
It turns out the Governor was lying. No one hacked her cell phone. There do not appear to have been hoax calls, plural. And the one prank call that appears to have prompted this false message from the Governor had nothing to do with the January 6th Committee.
That one very dumb prank call came from now-fired KSFY/KOTA political reporter Austin Goss, who on January 22 used PrankDial.com to send the transparently fake “Mafia Guy Got Vaccines” recording to former South Dakota Republican Party chairman Dan Lederman. Goss did not need to hack the Governor’s phone, and he likely lacks the skills to do so. He had numerous contacts with the Governor and with Lederman, including communications via their personal phone numbers. All Goss had to do was enter their numbers into the two boxes on the PrankDial.com webpage, and out went the dumb call, complete with the closing line, “You’ve just been pranked by PrankDial.com.”
Dan Lederman knew on January 22 this was one prank call. The call told him where to find the recording online and see how easily and non-hackily such pranks calls are sent. Yet Lederman evidently called Governor Noem to tell her about the use of her phone number for this prank, and Governor Noem issued a press release the day after the prank call blowing it up into a multiple criminal invasions of her privacy in which she implicated Nancy Pelosi and the investigators of the January 6 insurrection.
If Governor Noem steps forward with evidence that her phone was actually hacked, that that hacking facilitated multiple hoax calls, and that the hacking had anything to do with the January 6th Committee, I will promptly retract my statements here. But it looks like that official January 23, 2023, press release was a prank call of Noem’s own. At least Goss had the courtesy to tag his prank call with “You’ve been pranked!”