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[] Saddams Email Account II,

Journalist Gets a Peek Inside Hussein's E-Mailbox
A freelancer says access was easy and that U.S. firms
proposed business deals to the Iraqi leader.
>From Associated Press

November 18 2002

DURHAM, N.H. -- Even Saddam Hussein gets spam.

He also gets e-mail purporting to be from U.S.
companies offering business deals, and threats,
according to a journalist who figured out a way into
an Iraqi government e-mail account and downloaded more
than 1,000 messages.

Brian McWilliams, a freelancer who specializes in
Internet security, says he hardly needed high-level
hacking skills to snoop through e-mail addressed to

While doing research late one October night, the
Durham resident navigated his way to the official
Iraqi government's Web site,

The site, which worked last week but was offline
Sunday, included links that allowed visitors to send
e-mail to Hussein and allowed users of the
government-controlled site, which is hosted in Dubai,
to check their own accounts.

That mail-checking feature caught McWilliams' eye. On
a whim, he typed in the address for Hussein,
press -!
- uruklink -
 net, using "press" for president, and
tried "press" again as a possible password.

Then he waited while his data bounced around the

"It took a long time. I was about to hit stop, but
then, boom! The inbox appeared," McWilliams said.

There's no way of knowing whether Hussein ever
received any e-mail addressed to him. The messages
that filled McWilliams' screen were sent between
mid-June and mid-August, when the mailbox apparently
reached capacity. None of them had been read or
replied to, McWilliams said.

"Whoever was responsible for checking the mail -- I'm
sure it wasn't him -- had fallen behind," he said.

He has described his find in an October article on
Wired News online and has been written about in the
International Herald Tribune, but so far McWilliams
hasn't heard anything from U.S. authorities. He also
has no plans to share his findings with the

Rob Nichols, a spokesman for the Treasury Department,
which enforces trade sanctions against Iraq, wouldn't
comment on the e-mails McWilliams found.

The most disturbing messages appeared to be business
proposals from American companies, despite U.S.
prohibitions against such transactions, McWilliams

He also found interview requests from journalists and
obscene messages from angry Americans.

But the account also attracted admirers, including
some who requested signed photographs. =

If you want other stories on this topic, search the
Archives at For information
about reprinting this article, go to =


Copyright 2002 Los Angeles Times =

-- =

Olivier Minkwitz___________________________________________
Dipl. Pol.
HSFK Hessische Stiftung f=FCr Friedens- und Konfliktforschung
PRIF Peace Research Institute Frankfurt
Leimenrode 29 60322 Frankfurt a/M Germany
Tel +49 (0)69 9591 0422  Fax +49 (0)69 5584 81                         pgpKey:0xAD48A592
minkwitz -!
- hsfk -

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