Hackers hit PBS after inquiry of WikiLeaks
The group that claimed responsibility for the hacking taunted PBS over the hack and complained about a recent “Frontline” investigative news program on WikiLeaks.
PBS confirmed Monday that the website had been hacked. The phony story had been taken down as of Monday morning. It had been posted on the site of the “PBS NewsHour” program, which is produced by WETA-TV in Arlington.
Anne Bentley, PBS’ vice president of corporate communications, said in an email that erroneous information posted on the website has been corrected.
The hackers also posted login information for two internal PBS sites: one that media use to access the PBS press room and an internal communications website for stations, she said. She said all affected parties were being notified.
David Fanning, executive producer of “Frontline,” said he was learning of the hacking early Monday, nearly a week after the program aired its “WikiSecrets” documentary about the leak of U.S. diplomatic cables to the WikiLeaks website.
The documentary, produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, generated criticism and debate on the program’s website in recent days from those sympathetic to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and from those who thought the program was fair, Mr. Fanning said.
“From our point of view, we just see it as a disappointing and irresponsible act, especially since we have been very open to publishing criticism of the film … and the film included other points of view,” he said. “This kind of action is irresponsible and chilling.”
A tweet from the “NewsHour” Twitter account said: “If you missed it: our site has been accessed by hackers. Thanks for staying with us.”
A group calling itself LulzSec and “The Lulz Boat” on Twitter claimed responsibility and posted links to other hacks, including a video apparently taunting the network.
PBS ombudsman Michael Getler wrote about the “WikiSecrets” documentary in his weekly column Thursday, saying it had generated only a handful of complaints, though he had expected more mail from viewers.
Mr. Getler raised some questions about the reporting in the program but said he found the questioning by interviewer Martin Smith to be “tough but proper.”