Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
Kuwait’s state news agency said its Twitter account was hacked and used to spread false information about US troops withdrawing from the country.
In one of the earliest high-profile acts of misinformation about the military during heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, the news agency, KUNA, announced on Twitter that its account had been compromised. According to Reuters, the now-deleted report said Kuwait’s defense minister had received a letter from the US saying American troops would leave a Kuwaiti camp within three days.
The news agency said in follow-up tweets that it “categorically denies” the report that was published on its social media account and that Kuwait’s Ministry of Information is investigating the issue.
Info. Min. forms independent cmte to probe KUNA Twitter hacking https://t.co/kF8lezaXZy#KUNA #KUWAIT(H.N)— kuna (@kuna_en) January 8, 2020
The hack comes during a critical moment, as the US has already faced confusion over the movement of troops. Following the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a letter from the United States suggesting the country would withdraw from Iraq was released, only for Pentagon officials to quickly say the document was a draft sent in error.
It’s unclear who may be responsible for a hack. But since the killing of Soleimani, researchers have been on high alert for disinformation campaigns looking to take advantage of the current confusion, whether from Iran or other opportunistic actors.
After Iran launched missiles on two Iraqi airbases last night that held US troops, President Trump said today that the US would bring additional economic sanctions against Iran, but he did not announce any military response.