Syria’s Assad gives tacit OK to online attacks on press - Internet - Committee to Protect Journalists
ASSAD: “There is the #electronic_army which has been a real army in virtual reality. There were those who took part in the blood donation campaign, and other initiatives. I met a number of youth delegations from different sections of society and found that Syrian youth enjoy a high sense of patriotism, and this is self-evident because they belong to this country.”
(...) a direct reference to the Syrian Electronic Army, a pro-government hacking group.
(...) to my knowledge this is the first time a head of state has explicitly approved of such actions. Governments are usually careful to distance themselves from nationalistic hacking groups, even if they tacitly permit it through lack of law enforcement. By mentioning the Electronic Army, al-Assad is signaling his support of computer sabotage and vigilante censorship in the name of his country. At least, that is how his online supporters are likely to interpret his words.