Asawin Suebsaeng

Asawin Suebsaeng

Reporter

Asawin Suebsaeng is a reporter at the Washington, DC, bureau of Mother Jones. He has also written for The American Prospect, the Bangkok Post, and Shoecomics.com.

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A graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., Asawin came back to DC with hopes of putting his flimsy Creative Writing major, student newspaper tenure, and interest in human rights and political chicanery to some use. He started cutting his teeth at F&M's student-run weekly, The College Reporter, serving as editor in chief. He has interned at The American Prospect, been a reporter for the Bangkok Post, and scribbled for ShoeComics.com. His favorite movie is either Apocalypse Now or Pirahna 3D, depending on the day or mood.

"60 Minutes" on Their Pro-Assad Twitter Hack: We're Working on It

| Mon Apr. 22, 2013 7:40 PM EDT

On Saturday evening, the 60 Minutes Twitter feed began looking suspiciously authoritarian and conspiracy-minded:

60 minutes Syria assad hack

 

Needless to say, this is not how the investigative news program typically does business. The torrent of anti-Americanism is widely believed to have been the result of hacking by pro-Assad elements irked by the State Department's announcement on Saturday that the US would double non-lethal assistance to the Syrian opposition and provide new humanitarian aid. Since Saturday, the 60 Minutes Twitter account (as well as CBS' 48 Hours account) have been suspended.

"We are resolving the issue with Twitter now," a spokesman for 60 Minutes told me late Monday afternoon, insisting on anonymity. (At the time of this post's publication, the show's account remained suspended.)

CBS is hardly the first institution targeted by the armada of pro-Assad, pro-mass murder hackers. Since early 2012, the loosely defined Syrian Electronic Army (yes, that's SEA) has disrupted the online and social-media operations of NPR, BBC Weather, AFP, Reuters, FRANCE 24, Al Jazeera, Human Rights Watch, and others. A Twitter account associated with the group was indeed recently suspended, though there's no indication of US government involvement.

"We had a breach that stemmed from a successful spearphishing attack," Emma Daly, communications director at Human Rights Watch, says, regarding the incident in March. "Someone was able to get access and post a message on the site, and posted it in such a way that it was automatically sent to our Twitter feed...I don't want to say it was a minor [incident], but it was not a sophisticated attack. [Whoever did it] obviously didn't like our reporting on Syria."

UPDATE (4/23, 4:18 p.m. EDT): The Syrian Electronic Army claimed responsibility for hacking the Associated Press Twitter account on Tuesday, and sending out a Tweet falsely claiming that President Obama had been injured after two explosions rocked the White House. That tweet caused a brief stock market panic.

UPDATE (4/24, 8:30 p.m. EDT): The 60 Minutes Twitter account is no longer suspended.

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My Innocent Brother Was Made Into a Bombing Suspect: Sunil Tripathi's Sister Speaks

| Fri Apr. 19, 2013 11:06 PM EDT
Sunil Tripathi, far right

UPDATE (10:53 a.m. EDT, 4/25/13): On Thursday morning, the Rhode Island Department of Health confirmed that a body found in the Providence River on Tuesday is that of Sunil Tripathi. Click here to read a statement from the Tripathi family.

In the aftermath of Monday's Boston Marathon attack, a heaving pile of junk information clouded the breaking news reports. Casualty figures were botched, the number of explosive devices was misreported, and suspects were wrongly identified. On that last front, one of the families deeply affected by the press and public's false conclusions was that of Sunil Tripathi, a 22-year-old Brown University philosophy student who went missing on March 16.

Sunil's family, who live in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania, and describe him as "kind, gentle, and shy," had launched a social-media campaign to find him; their Facebook page garnered nearly a quarter million views in the first week of his disappearance. As the police search for Sunil expanded, his story began to make national news last month with mentions from Fox News, ABC News, the Boston Globe, and other outlets.

"Ninja Innovation" and Shiny Electronic Toys Invade Capitol Hill, Beguile Congressmen

| Thu Apr. 18, 2013 11:28 AM EDT

On Tuesday night, members of Congress and their staff shuffled down to the Rayburn House Office Building cafeteria to gawk at big screens, mess around with shiny new gadgets, and scarf down finger food while sipping free booze. For two hours, the room where House interns and legislative aides usually eat their lunch was transformed into the Consumer Electronics Show on the Hill, a special DC version of the Consumer Electronics Association's annual Vegas trade show.

"You got toys! I love toys," Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee and a CEA honoree shown here playing a track-and-field Kinect game at a previous event, exclaimed upon entering.

CES on the Hill has been an annual event for Congress since 2010, when it was first held in DC's Eastern Market. In 2012, the show was moved to the Rayburn building. The event supplements CEA's standard lobbying, and allows the trade organization to treat some of the nation's most powerful elected officials to the industry's latest advances in "ninja innovation," a term coined by CEA president Gary Shapiro to describe tech innovation that is too powerful to remain unassociated with ninjas. "I hope you leave today's event with a clear understanding what ninja innovation is all about," Shapiro writes in a welcome note. I didn't, but Shapiro literally wrote the book on "ninja innovation," which blends his study of martial arts with his examination of what he views as the world's most successful companies.

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