- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 11, 2021

The official website for the Texas Republican Party, TexasGOP.org, was hacked Saturday in retribution for the newly enacted “Heartbeat Act” law that bans abortions in the state after six weeks from conception.

Archived versions of the site, which has since gone dark, show that it was briefly vandalized to display several crude messages and other content mocking and criticizing the Texas Republican Party and GOP as a whole.

The person or persons who defaced the website also made numerous references to Anonymous, the loose-knit hacktivist movement, and embedded a couple of specific calling cards typical of internet trolls.

“Pro-abortion hackers changed our web page for a short time before we took it down,” Texas GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi said in a statement to The Washington Times later Saturday. “We will be increasing security and appreciate the hackers providing us with a fundraising opportunity—funds we will use to promote even more robust Pro-Life legislation in Texas.”

Side-by-side comparisons of the site from before and after it was compromised make it apparent the hacker or hackers responsible for the defacement made a number of updates and other revisions to its homepage.

“Giving Texans a voice to promote conservative philosophy and principles” was changed to “Texas: Taking Voices from Women to promote theocratic erosion of church/state barriers,” for example.

Elsewhere on the site, the Texas GOP‘s mission statement was changed to: “We are committed to taking away all the rights of women so we can live our prosperous, Bible-thumping dream.”

Whoever hacked the site also embedded a YouTube video for the 1987 song “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley – an act known as “Rick Rolling” – and placed a shock image known as “Goatse” prominently on the page.

A warning was also added to the bottom of the page: “Disclaimer: Hackers on Steroids are 10 times more effective at romance than 100% of Republicans. Trans demon hackers are coming to get you. Abortion is a choice.”

“Hackers on Steroids” is a reference to how Anonymous was described in the media when the shadowy hacktivist group first emerged more than a decade ago.

More recently, in February, the CEO of fringe social media service Gab blamed a breach of the platform “Mentally ill tranny demon hackers.”

It was not immediately clear who vandalized the Texas GOP website, which remained offline as of early Saturday afternoon, or if anyone would take credit. A message on the bottom attributes “Anonymous.”

The Texas Heartbeat Act enacted in May is considered the country’s strictest anti-abortion law. The U.S. Department of Justice for the Biden Administration sued the state over it in federal court earlier this week.

Prior to being taken offline, the defaced version of the Texas GOP site also briefly linked to the website for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas and a page where they could help fund its operations.  

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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