Liz Truss’s personal mobile phone was hacked by agents suspected of working for the Kremlin, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
The cyber-spies are believed to have gained access to top-secret exchanges with key international partners as well as private conversations with her leading political ally, Kwasi Kwarteng.
One source said that the phone was so heavily compromised that it has now been placed in a locked safe inside a secure Government location.
The hack was discovered during the summer’s Tory leadership campaign, when Ms Truss was Foreign Secretary, but the details were suppressed by Boris Johnson, who was Prime Minister at the time, and the Cabinet Secretary, Simon Case.
It is understood that messages which fell into foreign hands included criticisms Ms Truss and her future Chancellor Mr Kwarteng made of Mr Johnson, leading to the potential risk of blackmail. Sources said that up to a year’s worth of messages were downloaded.
They are also believed to have included highly sensitive discussions with senior international foreign ministers about the war in Ukraine, including detailed discussions about arms shipments.
The astonishing incident, disclosed by security sources, solves the mystery of why Ms Truss was forced to change the mobile number she had used for over a decade shortly before becoming Prime Minister. The move caused anxiety among Cabinet Ministers and advisers who were suddenly unable to contact her.
A source with knowledge of the incident said yesterday that the security breach ‘caused absolute pandemonium – Boris was told immediately, and it was agreed with the Cabinet Secretary that there should be a total news blackout.
‘It is not a great look for the intelligence services if the Foreign Secretary’s phone can be so easily plundered for embarrassing personal messages by agents presumed to be working for Vladimir Putin’s Russia.’
Allies of Ms Truss said she was worried that if news of the hack leaked, it could derail her chance of claiming the Premiership, adding that she ‘had trouble sleeping’ until Mr Case imposed a news blackout.