US operatives sabotaged al-Qaeda's Inspire magazine last month, temporarily delaying the publication of the latest issue, the Washington Post reports. When the issue initially came online on May 14, some text was garbled and some pages were blank. That version was removed within 30 minutes, and a new version was published on May 30. It's not clear exactly how the hacking happened, and the government had no comment. But security officials say this is not the first time the US has tried to disrupt online terrorist propaganda.
Says one anonymous intelligence official, "You can make it hard for them to distribute it, or you can mess with the content. And you can mess with the content in a way that is obvious or in ways that are not obvious." Officials say the magazine's production process is monitored, and intelligence officials decide whether to sabotage each issue as it is about to be published. If threats seem to be imminent, they might decide in favor, and in at least one case, it took months for the sabotage to be corrected. Sometimes the sabotage is subtle, like altering bomb-making instructions so they won't work.