It has been revealed that lawmakers are incredibly perturbed by reports the Trump-led Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made up several distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks to downplay the massive opposition from the US public towards net neutrality being repealed. The administration and the FCC repeatedly lied to journalists while they were trying to investigate the aforementioned scandal. According to FCC emails disclosed by Gizmodo, the agency intentionally spread lies to gain sympathy for the net neutrality repeal. Gizmodo is reporting that the attack was after the FCC website collapsed under the stress of a massive amount of traffic from US citizens voicing their opinions, after watching comedian John Oliver report on net neutrality. According to the Gizmodo’s report they revealed that FCC staffer emails detail intentionally deceiving the public and journalists, by making it seem that the massive amount of traffic and public outcry were really an attack on the website. When in reality, it appears this was legitimate traffic. House Energy & Commerce Committee ranking member, Frank Pallone, says he wasn’t impressed by the findings, and urged the FCC to cooperate with an ongoing Government Accountability Office investigation into the DDoS attack that never occurred.
Pallone stated, “Last summer, I directed Government Accountability Office investigators to get to the bottom of this alleged cyberattack and the FCC’s unusual response… In light of today’s news, I call on chairman [Ajit] Pai to ensure the FCC fully cooperates with the GAO’s investigation, so the American people can finally get a full account as to what happened in advance of the agency stripping away critical net neutrality protections.”
However, this fake DDoS attack is only one of many scandals currently infesting the FCC under Ajit Pai’s leadership. The GAO is also conducting an investigation into who had organized the millions of fake comments on the FCC website during the public comment period, which was the only opportunity the public at large had to weigh in on the discussion. Pai is also currently under investigation from the non-partisan FCC Inspector General for potential corruption as part of his efforts to weaken media consolidation rules at the behest of Sinclair Broadcast Group.
Former FCC Chair, Tom Wheeler, even stated the 2014 DDoS, which Pai and a couple other FCC officials had referenced when talking about the 2017 fake DDoS, was never covered up by the Wheeler FCC, because according to the former FCC chair, a DDoS attack in 2014 had never occurred. So, it appears that not only is Pai lying about the DDoS attack that happened under his leadership, but also to cover his tracks, referenced an also false DDoS attack that never happened in 2014. Former FCC IT Chief, David Bray, said “[T]here was a similar DDoS attack after the 2014 [John Oliver] Clip.” Gigi Sohn, Wheeler’s adviser when he was the chair, told Ars Technica, “We didn’t want to say it [was a DDoS in 2014] because Bray had no hard proof that it was a DDoS attack. Just like the second time [in 2017].”
Unfortunately, it appears that the Pai led FCC is sounding like they have no plans to tell the public what truly happened or whether they had lied, as it appears the FCC has gone silent about the issue.