The US government switched off the Syrian Internet while attempting to snoop on the country's online traffic. Edward Snowden said that while many thought that the Assad regime switched off the net to stuff up the rebellion, it turned out it was a botched US snooping attempt.
The NSA's Tailored Access Office (TAO), Snowden claimed, had been attempting to redirect traffic by exploiting a vulnerability in the router of a "major Internet service provider in Syria". This would have given the NSA access to enclosures in emails which would otherwise have remained inaccessible.
But the TAO hackers "bricked" the router, before unsuccessfully trying to cover their tracks, Snowden said. At the time the Syrians were apparently more focused on restoring the nation's Internet than on tracking down the cause of the outage. Snowden said that someone at the agency joked, "If we get caught, we can always point the finger at Israel.”
The internet outage lasted three days as the country's Telecommunications Establishment removed Syrian networks from Internet routing tables to stop further attacks while it discovered the cause of the disruption. National television blamed terrorists for the outage, which prevented the Apple dream couple President Assad and his wife Asma from connecting to iTunes. Outside media agencies speculated that the Assad regime may have instigated it to cut off communications to rebel groups.