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By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website   Read more about this blog.
Posted: July 25th, 2013
Replacing cupcake recipes for bomb making puts new spin on hacking and spying

Apparently, the UK spying agency, M16, was able to hack an online al-Qaeda magazine, substituting a 27-page instruction manual for terrorists on how to make a homemade bomb with a list of cupcake recipes from the Ellen DeGeneres television show, the Telegraph reports.

I just read about this today, but Operation Cupcake happened two summers ago. And of course, I found it humorous that wanna-be jihadists would be finding recipes for Mojito cupcakes instead of detailed schematics on bomb making. But it’s as topical today as it was then, especially in light of recent reports about our own government spying, in essence, on the average citizen. At the time, the Telegraph reported:

“Al-Qaeda was able to reissue the magazine two weeks later and has gone on to produce four further editions but one source said British intelligence was continuing to target online outlets publishing the magazine because it is viewed as such a powerful propaganda tool. The magazine is produced by the radical preacher, one of the leaders of AQAP who has lived in Britain and the US, and his associate from North Carolina.”

I guess in this instance, most would feel that government-backed hacking was justified since it was able to remove material that could lead to future terror attacks, hence doing it in the interest of national security, which seems to be the dividing line.

Seriously, though, does it surprise any of us that this has been going on?


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