Syrian opposition activists quietly watched President Bashar al-Assad trade crisis-management tips with Iran and order Right Said Fred songs from iTunes as they secretly accessed his email until Assad shut down his account after a totally separate hack by Anonymous. Before the account he shared with his wife Asma went dead, the activists managed to download about 3,000 messages from it, which The Guardian reported as an exclusive on Wednesday.
One email conversation that truly stands out from the reams of communication The Guardian posted, is Assad's correspondence with iTunes, from which he ordered country singer Blake Shelton's "God Gave Me To You" to send to his wife, Asma, the day after Syrian forces started shelling Homs. Assad also had an affinity for Chris Brown, Right Said Fred, and New Order. "In January he bought a number of songs by the popular US dance group LMFAO including their hit Sexy and I Know it," The Guardian reported. But it's Right Said Fred that cracks us up: Assad ordered "Don't Talk Just Kiss" because, we're guessing, he already had "I'm Too Sexy."
From the sound of it, the email access was pretty useful to the activists, who "claim to have used fresh information to warn colleagues in Damascus of imminent regime moves against them." But the Anonymous hack blew up the activist's spot, The Guardian reported:
Activists say they were passed username and password details believed to have been used by [Assad and his wife] by a mole in the president's inner circle.
The access continued until 7 February when a threatening email arrived in the inbox thought to be used by Assad after the account's existence was revealed when the Anonymous group separately hacked into a number of Syrian government email addresses. All correspondence to and from the two addresses ceased on the same day.
It's not like someone wasn't going to figure out how to get into the account sooner or later. Assad reportedly used passwords like 12345 to secure his access.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.