Reports: Suzanne al-Hajj Involved in Hacking of Govt. Websites

Detained Lt. Col. Suzanne al-Hajj was involved in successful and unsuccessful attempts to hack websites belonging to several ministries and state institutions, media reports said.

Al-Hajj and a hacker identified as E.Gh. are being interrogated by the Intelligence Branch of the Internal Security Forces on charges of “fabricating” a spying for Israel case for detained comedian Ziad Itani.

“The initial interrogation period has been extended for another 48 hours,” al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Monday.

Al-Hajj and the hacker “are also being interrogated on suspicion of fabricating cases for other innocent individuals some of whom were prosecuted by the judiciary,” the daily said.

Quoting ministerial sources, al-Akhbar said the investigation also involves successful and botched hacking operations against websites belonging to the ministries of foreign affairs, culture and energy and accounts belonging to the interior minister and the OGERO authority.

“The hacker claimed that al-Hajj had asked him to carry out the operations after she was sacked from her post in the bureau for combating cyber crime,” the sources said.

“She wanted to give the impression that 'the country was in ruins' (on the cyber crime front) after she was fired,” the sources quoted the hacker as saying.

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq has announced that Itani, who has been in detention since November 2017, is innocent.

According to media reports, al-Hajj hired the hacker E.Gh., a State Security informant, to create fake social media accounts with the aim of framing Itani. The hacker used Israeli IPs to carry out the plot.

The reports said al-Hajj sought “revenge” against Itani after he posted a screenshot of a Twitter 'like' placed by her on a post for controversial director Charbel Khalil. Al-Hajj was sacked by the ISF command over the 'like'.

Khalil's tweet contained insults against Saudi Arabia and Saudi women.

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