The Twitter account of NBC national correspondent Peter Alexander appears to have been hijacked by hackers claiming to represent Turkey’s “cyber army.”
For at least a half-hour Sunday morning, Alexander’s Twitter account was filled with such tweets: “Mr Trump, we will tear down blood vessels of those who are hostiles to TURKIYE. Be wise and learn about Turkish people in history.”
Another tweet says: “Turkey was born again on July 15, 2016, while we are planning to destroy with FETO and coup attempt. Now we are trying to do with economic crisis. You remember how did we destroy Iraq with lies? TARGET TURKIYE, LAST CASTLE STANDING.” The tweet refers to a failed military coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It also appears to reference President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum.
The hackers also littered Alexander’s account with images and videos in support of Turkey and showing Erdogan.
Alexander’s Twitter account lost its verified blue check mark after the hackers added a “v” to his Twitter handle, changing it to @PeterAlexanderv.
Some of the tweets that hackers posted on Alexander’s account include references to “Turkish Cyber Army, Ayyildiz Tim.”
A Twitter account under the name Ayyildiz Tim has claimed to be responsible for the hacking and posted a tweet with images from the correspondent’s hacked profile. The tweet tagged NBC Entertainment, the New York Times, New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman, the Hill newspaper and journalist Yashar Ali.
By 9 a.m., NBC News’s public relations team said Alexander’s Twitter account and that of NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker were “compromised.” The apparent hacks didn’t last very long, and Alexander’s Twitter account was soon restored.
“To all of my contacts .. my twitter feed has been apparently been spammed. Please DO not respond if you receive a direct message from me,” Welker tweeted Sunday morning.
It’s unclear whether Welker’s account was hacked by the same group or in the same manner.
Alexander addressed the hacking Sunday afternoon, thanking NBC News and Twitter for their quick action.
Alexander appears to be the latest media personality to have been hacked by Ayyildiz Tim. In January, the group took over the Twitter accounts of two former Fox News personalities, Greta Van Susteren and Eric Bolling, and filled their feeds with similar propaganda, according to New York magazine.
Snopes reported that the same group also briefly hijacked the Twitter accounts of India’s top envoy to the United Nations and Borge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum.