Bush family emails hacked

US President George W. Bush (L) waves as he walks out of the Oval Office with his father, former President George H. W. Bush, after Bush signed the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 at the White House in Washington, DC, September 25, 2008. The ?ADA Amendments Act? will help ensure that individuals with disabilities ? including people with diabetes, epilepsy, and cancer ? qualify for protection under the ADA and obtain reasonable accommodations. AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

(CBS News) Even ex-presidents can get hacked, and in fact it just happened to two of them. A criminal investigation is under way in the case of a mystery hacker who lifted private e-mails and photos sent between members of the Bush family -- including both former commanders in chief.

Some of the hacked Bush family emails concern the health of 88-year-old President George H.W. Bush during his recent stay at a Houston hospital.

According to the website The Smoking Gun, President George W. Bush emailed his siblings that he was "thinking about eulogy" and asked for stories that would reveal their father's sweet nature and favorite jokes. He added: "Hopefully I'm jumping the gun."

A Bush aide reportedly emailed the Bush children not to tell their mother, Barbara Bush, about the perilous state of their father's health. After nearly two months in the hospital, the elder Mr. Bush was released in mid-January.

A source close to the Bush family told us the emails were obtained by hacking the private account of the senior Mr. Bush's daughter, Doro. The materials include family photos, phone numbers, even self-portraits by the younger Mr. Bush. The Secret Service has launched an investigation into the hacking of the Bush families' emails.

On behalf of the Bush family, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's spokesman issued a statement saying, "This is an outrageous breach of privacy that is the matter of a criminal investigation, so we will not be commenting further."

Hackers have shown again and again that it's relatively easy to gain access to many personal email accounts by correctly answering simple security questions such as the name of the account holder's hometown or favorite pet.

In 2008, a hacker gained access to vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's private email account. The hacker was convicted and served a year in prison. Last year, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's account was hacked.

For Chip Reid's full report, watch the video in the player above.