Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley’s Twitter account was commandeered Monday afternoon by a self-proclaimed follower of the hacker group Anonymous who used his newfound power to protest SOPA, endorse Herman Cain for President, and clean up the Senator’s grammar and sentence structure.
“Dear Iowans, vote against ACTA, SOPA, and PIPA, because this man, Chuck Grassley, wants YOUR internet censored and all of that BS,” was the first tweet, followed by, “And yes, I am an Anonymous follower.”
The next minute, Grassley and the hacker appeared to be vying for control of the account, with the hacker tweeting, “uh-oh looks like Chuck is online too,” and that same minute, Grassley himself, presumably, tweeted: “Yes I was hacked.”
The hacker held onto the account, however, tweeting six minutes later, “Wow, Chuck hasn’t even changed his password.”
The hack was noticed on Twitter, in part, some said because of the sentence structure.
“You can identify the hacked posts in @ChuckGrassley’s twitter feed because the hacker sometimes uses complete sentences,” quipped New York Times blogger Nate Silver in a tweet.
Grassley’s posts are generally characterized by abbreviations and a lack of spaces between words; for instance, on January 6, the Senator tweeted: “PresObama withdraw ur Child Farm Labor rules Rules are in conflict w goals of FFA&4H programs Why u want ruin characterBuilding programs?”
The hacker soaked up some praise for his more conventional communication style, tweeting, “Yes, its surprising that I’m actually writing in full sentences with spaces and correct grammar/spelling.”
After 16 minutes of fun, during which time the hacker endorsed Herman Cain (“I really wanted Herman Cain to get president this year”) and took another dig at Grassley (“Chuck is a supporter of SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA, meaning he wants no privacy for private accounts”), the hacker signed off.
“Well, its been fun getting Chuck’s account this week, so I better get off. I got nothing better to do since we got a snow day here in Osage,” the hacker tweeted.
But another hacker jumped in and decided to have a little bit more fun. “Password has been changed,” he or she tweeted minutes later. “Someone from the Senator’s office contact me for the password. email address forthcoming.”
At press time, this had not yet happened.
Grassley’s office did not immediately respond to request for comment, but a staffer who answered the phone said they were aware of it and working to deal with the problem.