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Hackers announce fake Obama assassination through FoxNews Politics Twitter account

July 5, 2011 |  6:16 am


Former Rep. Anthony Weiner falsely said his Twitter account was hacked just before Memorial Day weekend. But over the holiday weekend, it looks like real hackers attacked the @foxnewspolitics verified account, one of several Twitter accounts run by

A group calling itself "ScriptKiddies" claimed responsibility for the hack and also declared it has ties to the international hacker collective Anonymous.

The Tweets began appearing just after 2 a.m. ET on Monday, July 4, an hour and date likely calculated to maximize the time the Tweets were up before the account owner noticed or could do anything about it. The fake messages announced the assassination of President Obama during a visit to Iowa, but there were no links to news reports on the incident.

More Tweets detailed the president's condition and promised the shooter would be found.

The language of the messages did not match normal news style, sounding more like the amateur fiction it turned out to be.

Scroll down for an image of the deleted Tweets.

In reality, the president was perfectly safe and spending the day as host of a barbecue for military families and staffers on the White House lawn.

An administrator of @foxnewspolitics, which has more than 38,000 followers, later regained control of the account, logged in and removed the Tweets.

According to one account, Twitter released a statement saying its own servers were not accessed, but instead the email account associated with @foxnewspolitics was compromised by the hacker(s).

A statement at reported that the network has alerted the Secret Service, quoting spokesman George Oglivie as saying the agency would "do appropriate follow up."

Jeff Misenti, vice president and general manager of Fox News Digital, said, "We will be requesting a detailed investigation from Twitter about how this occurred and measures to prevent future unauthorized access into accounts."

The statement concluded, " regrets any distress the false tweets may have created."

Writer Neil Gaiman seemed amused by the incident, Tweeting early Monday from @neilhimself, "And I guess if you're going to hack @foxnewspolitics you might as well announce the assassination of President Obama. Why think small?"

Amid sending out Tweets on Monday informing his followers of the hack and that the assassination reports were false -- and complaining about lost sleep -- Current TV's Keith Olbermann Tweeted from @KeithOlbermann, "Last: it's easy to attack Fox on this but it's the hackers that deserve the scorn; the security of our accounts that merit our anxiety."

We checked the Twitter accounts of several FNC correspondents, and the only one that mentioned it was tech enthusiast Clayton Morris (@ClaytonMorris), who responded to a follower question with "@foxnewspolitics it was hacked."

This silence may be due to the holiday weekend or to the anchors and correspondents being asked to defer comment to the network.



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-- Kate O'Hare

Media critic Kate O’Hare is a regular Ticket contributor. She also blogs about TV at Hot Cuppa TV and is a frequent contributor at entertainment-news site Zap2it. Also follow O'Hare on Twitter @KateOH

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Photos:  Oli Scarff | Getty Images Europe (Twitter homepage), (screenshot of Twitter feed)

Andrew Malcolm is on vacation