Potential New FCC Boss Blames Obama For The Washington Post's Botched Russian Utility Hacking Story

from the finger-pointin' dept

We've noted how one of Trump's top telecom advisors is Jeffrey Eisenach, a long-time Verizon consultant and aggressive opponent of net neutrality. Eisenach's one of three Trump advisors who have made it clear their top priority in the new administration will be to not only gut net neutrality, but to defang and defund the FCC as a consumer watchdog on telecom issues. Eisenach isn't just an advisor, he's also on the shortlist to be the next head of an agency he doesn't believe in.

But when Eisenach isn't busy dreaming about dismantling net neutrality, he can apparently be found writing logically incoherent op-eds over at the Wall Street Journal. In a strange little tirade posted on January 3, Eisenach quite correctly ridicules the Washington Post's recent false claim that Russians were busy hacking U.S. utilities. In short, a piece of common malware was found on one PC, and because the Washington Post couldn't be bothered to even call the company in question, the paper created a bogus narrative, based entirely on anonymous sources, that casually pushed the country closer to war.

Yeah, no biggie.

Eisenach starts off well enough, quite correctly illustrating the depth of the Washington Post's failure on the story, and how the malware was arguably run of the mill, and certainly not directly tied to the government:
"The kind of malware involved in these two intrusions is neither new nor particularly sophisticated. It is run-of-the-mill spyware that has probably been implanted on thousands of networks around the world, from home computers to those inside banks, power companies and government agencies. These bugs are freely available online, and the code found at the Democratic National Committee and the power company isn’t even the latest version. The notion that such a mundane piece of software reveals a new and ominous threat to critical infrastructure is laughable."
All true. But Eisenach's piece then takes a strange turn, in that it somehow tries to blame the Washington Post's awful reporting on... the outgoing President:
"Misleading the American people to advance a political narrative has been a hallmark of President Obama’s foreign policy. The most recent example is the administration’s attempt to conflate the hacking of the Democratic Party with potential cyberattacks on critical infrastructure...Cyberthreats pose a clear danger to national security, and building an effective defense will take a concerted effort by the Trump administration. Americans are right to be concerned. But by playing on those fears, the Obama administration is putting politics ahead of the national interest."
While the Washington Post was once again happy to quote all manner of anonymous, pearl-clutching intelligence sector insiders for its story (a bipartisan disorder for sure), Obama wasn't among them. Nor is there any indication that the Obama administration actively encouraged the Washington Post to trip over its own shoelaces and perform an epic, journalistic face-plant. Obama certainly has been no saint on cybersecurity, but to blame him for the Washington Post's dysfunction is more than a little strange, especially when the entire point of your article is to lament the senseless politicization of cybersecurity.

Someone might want to notify Eisenach that as a top advisor and potential new FCC boss, he's now the one in a position of power. If your goal is to demonstrate that partisan patty cake should be nowhere near technology and cybersecurity policy, why not demonstrate that with your actions -- instead of penning editorials that completely undermine the entire point you're trying to make?
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Filed Under: cybersecurity, donald trump, fake news, fcc, hacking, jeffrey eisenach, president obama, reporting, russia


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2017 @ 5:29pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "the media"

    lol

    Do you ever get tired of pushing the same old bullshit?

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