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MI6 swapped pipe-bomb guide for cupcake recipes

A cupcake is seen on display Feb. 19, 2010, at the Magnolia Bakery at Rockefeller Center in New York.
AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

Maybe some of the spies at the British intelligence agency known as MI6 are just huge "Back to the Future" fans.

In Robert Zemeckis' 1985 sci-fi classic, Christopher Lloyd's Doc Brown obtains the necessary plutonium to power his time machine by trading with some Libyan terrorists for a bomb, which Brown later admits he filled with "used pinball-machine parts."

Fast forward 25 years. In 2010, hackers for Great Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, MI6's official name, reportedly gained access to the website for a magazine affiliated with al Qaeda and swapped instructions for assembling pipe bombs with the code for a web page listing cupcake recipes promoted by "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported Thursday that the terror group known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula intended for the magazine to draft "lone wolf" terrorists to its cause.

But downloading the first issue around last June only provided readers with directions for making such sweet treats as the Mojito Cupcake and the Rocky Road Cupcake, the Telegraph reported.

The Telegraph reports that Operation Cupcake, as the mission was dubbed, also scrubbed some pieces by Osama bin Laden and an article titled "What to expect in Jihad."

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The magazine was produced in print two weeks after the British online invasion and has since published four more editions, the Telegraph reported.

  • Alex Sundby

    Alex Sundby is an associate news editor for CBSNews.com