Senators Wyden and Schatz Wants To Know Why The FCC Made Up A DDOS Attack

from the makin'-stuff-up dept

So we've been noting how (thanks to FOIA requests) the FCC has been caught completely making up a DDOS attack in a bizarre, ham-fisted attempt to downplay public opposition to their net neutrality repeal. In short, agency e-mails confirm agency staffers routinely fed false claims to gullible reporters that the FCC website outages caused by John Oliver's coverage of the repeal were the result of a malicious attack, then used those false claims to further prop up the bogus narrative. The goal was apparently to try and downplay massive public backlash to what Americans overwhelmingly believe to be shitty, corruption-fueled policy.

Not too surprisingly, the FCC has gone radio silent in response to press inquiries on this from numerous press outlets. For such a normally chatty agency, that suggests that FCC lawyers are well aware that this entire fracas could prove to be legally problematic, given the repeated false DDOS claims to the reporters, press, and public (pdf). Most of the e-mails provided so far via FOIA requests are heavily redacted, suggesting there's likely much more to this story that's going to emerge over time.

Meanwhile, Senators Brian Schatz and Ron Wyden this week pressed the issue, sending the FCC a letter demanding more insight into the DDOS attack that never was. In the letter, the duo ask for any and all FCC evidence on the phantom attack, and the results of any internal FCC investigations that may have occurred so far:

"On May 9, 2017, we sent you a letter regarding alleged cyberattacks on the Federal Communication Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System during that month. There was also an ECFS issue involving the net neutrality proceeding in 2014. In our letter we asked that you keep Congress fully briefed as to your investigation.

Beyond your initial internal analyses that you reference in your June 15, 2017, response, have any subsequent FCC or third-party (e.g., vendor, contractor, or government agency) analyses or investigations verified that a cyberattack on ECFS occurred in 2017 and, if so, that the attack is best classified as a DDoS attack? If not, why was no investigation conducted? Please provide any and all reports, findings, and other relevant details of any such investigations."

Of course from reading the news, the Senators already know the FCC appears to have zero hard evidence that the attack occurred, and previous claims that internal "analysis" had confirmed the attacks were false. Democrats have been hoping to use the repeal of net neutrality to their advantage during the midterms, and the fact evidence proves the FCC lied during their justifications for the move is likely to be politically problematic for the "freedom restorin'" FCC.

Meanwhile, the nonpartisan GAO is currently investigating both this scandal and the identity theft and fraud that occurred during the net neutrality repeal. There's likely several more layers to this story, some of which are likely to be revealed during the net neutrality court challenges that should take flight sometime in the next few weeks.


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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 13 Jun 2018 @ 6:25am

    Is it wrong to wonder who got paid to 'investigate' the DDOS, how much it was, & who they knew to get such a lucrative job?

    It is rather sad that when different agencies outright lie to the citizens it rarely raises a blip, but when they lie to Congress it is suddenly a horrible thing?

    It is a pity that lying to the people footing the bill seems to be standard practice. I get there are somethings we can't know (super secret special ops) but they keep expanding what is a secret & what they are free to lie about to citizens.

    Pity the first casualty of government was ethics.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 13 Jun 2018 @ 6:36am

      Re:

      "Pity the first casualty of government was ethics."

      Ethics has been on life support for... Many years. Not exactly a surprise.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TruthHurts, 13 Jun 2018 @ 8:45am

      Re:

      I think you meant "morals", ethics was a close 2nd.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 9:04am

      Re:

      While government lying to the public is a dangerous thing that should be an immediate red flag of corruption, congress makes the rules of government. Lying to congress IS a very horrible thing, as those lies are used to set the rules on which the country operates.

      In my opinion, lying to congress is pretty close in horribleness to rigging an election. Even though many members of congress may not be the most upstanding people, the institution as a whole is one of the major checks on abuse of power in the US governing system.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 6:28am

    Because they can

    And there is little going to be done to them about it either. Welcome to the bed you made... hope it's cozy!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 7:23am

      Re: Because they can

      I blame you

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 8:10am

        Re: Re: Because they can

        lol...

        Shooting the messenger has always solved the problem, right?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 13 Jun 2018 @ 10:34am

      Re: Because they can

      Welcome to the bed you made... hope it's cozy!

      Oh do explain. How is corruption and government lying "the bed we made." Please. Tell me. I can't wait.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 13 Jun 2018 @ 11:32am

        Re: Re: Because they can

        He's the "REGULATIONS BAD, ME AWESOME" guy. We know the answer. The question is: will the answer be devoid of any suggestion of alternatives to "the bed" or will it come with alternatives consisting basically of "pixie powder" that work only on Neverland?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Chip, 13 Jun 2018 @ 12:09pm

          Re: Re: Re: Because they can

          I have Lots of "suggestions"! Lots and "lots" of SUGGESTIONS! I have "so Many" Suggestions that I m not going to Say what "any" of them Are, because I Already "Said" what THEY "are", but I'm not going to Tell you When I "said" That.

          Every Nation eats the Paint chips it Deserves!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 12:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Because they can

            You should update the last line, I have started Quoting Obama more than de Maistre.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 12:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: Because they can

          Hey, is the same expected lie.

          Other solutions have been more than mentioned to you already.
          Even then I did know that telling you anything is the same as casting pearls of wisdom before swine. You cared for them not and you trample them underfoot and just as quickly you turned against me.

          Where will you be when you ask why other people have forsaken you? I will not know, and why should any care, after all you seem to want them all to leave you alone.

          You are "REGULATIONS GOOD" guy... and if you look at the trend. We have more regulations than ever, more economic disparity than ever, more calls to control the internet than ever, and more monopolies than ever.

          If you could just put two and two together, you might notice a trend! It does not matter if NN lives or dies, or if the FCC wins or loses... these are just the battles in a much longer war... that YOU are losing and helping to lose!

          There is already more than enough evidence to tell you that governments are using more and more regulations to obtain power and to oppress and to generally control the economy in such a way that you only have the illusion of choice. You can feel empowered all you want, but you are nothing more than a deceived slave bending knee at the altar of government and just like the choice Gozer gave the Busters.... choosing the form that your destruction will take!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 12:01pm

        Re: Re: Because they can

        it is simple to explain.

        Remember when everyone here hated me for saying every nation gets the government it deserves?

        Well even Obama says it too! "You get the politicians you deserve!" do you hate Obama yet?

        Those who would give up liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety.

        This is a universal truth, and most of you here are not just happy, but begging to give up your economic liberty to "feel" safe from businesses. You don't even have enough intelligence, wisdom, OR common sense to see it. I see it, but you don't! And every time I try to warn you, I get the same thing.

        Meaningless condescension and ridicule.
        I keep telling you that this will be the result. I turn out to be correct, but you still do not listen.
        I keep telling you that I warned you, but you still do not listen.
        I keep telling you that there is a better way, because that way does not fit into your dogma, it gets ignored.

        Unless you change, you are never going to win. NEVER.
        The only thing you will get is lube before getting fucked by the industry, which true, is better than no lube.

        I just want the rape of the economy to stop, and you guys don't while saying you do!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 13 Jun 2018 @ 11:09pm

          Re: Re: Re: Because they can

          Remember when everyone here hated me for saying every nation gets the government it deserves?

          No one hated you for saying it. Everyone pointed out it's a dumb statement that (1) is not accurate and (2) does not mean what you think it means and (3) makes you look silly. That's not hating you. That's letting you know you look foolish.

          Well even Obama says it too! "You get the politicians you deserve!" do you hate Obama yet?

          Again, no one hated you for the statement. They just pointed out what I said above -- and that doesn't change no matter who said it. It is a silly statement and a dumb thing for Obama to say, but he's said plenty of dumb things.

          Those who would give up liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety.

          Now you're quoting Ben Franklin out of context too. Whoo boy. Anyway, if we're going by trying to make dumb points by quoting people, how's this: "quoting aphorisms doesn't make you sound smart or add anything valuable. It' just makes you look like someone who has no deep understanding of anything." Figure out who said that.

          This is a universal truth, and most of you here are not just happy, but begging to give up your economic liberty to "feel" safe from businesses.

          Why do you keep lying about this? We've gone over this many times. And yet you keep repeating this. Why? Honest question: why do you keep lying about our position?

          You don't even have enough intelligence, wisdom, OR common sense to see it. I see it, but you don't! And every time I try to warn you, I get the same thing.

          Ah, right. You're the brilliant one. Yet you can't put together a coherent thought without misquoting someone. Lovely.

          Meaningless condescension and ridicule.

          This from the guy who just said to me that I "don't even have enough intelligence, wisdom, OR common sense."

          For sure, man.

          I keep telling you that this will be the result. I turn out to be correct, but you still do not listen.

          No. You keep making silly comments with the depth of a high school student who just discovered Ayn Rand and has no idea how silly you look.

          And, you ARE NO ANSWERING MY FUCKING QUESTION: how did we make the bed asking for corruption.

          Answer it rather than repeating your nonsense quotes and lies.

          I just want the rape of the economy to stop, and you guys don't while saying you do!

          And the way to stop the "rape of the economy" is... to allow for corruption and lying federal officials?

          I have said this to you multiple times before, but I will try once again: stop this nonsense. You honestly come off as a child who thinks he knows everything but clearly knows almost nothing. What you think you know is wrong. What you think you've got a handle on, you do not. Not only that but you have the confidence of someone who just read some simplistic description of the universe and now think you're Einstein. YOU LOOK FOOLISH. I'm not attacking your intelligence, as you do mine. I am merely saying that your understanding of this subject is minimal, and your confidence in what you think you know only highlights how little you know.

          One day you will grow up and feel foolish for all this nonsense.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Ninja (profile), 14 Jun 2018 @ 5:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Because they can

            Told ya. He followed the "devoid of substance" path.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Chip, 14 Jun 2018 @ 9:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Because they can

              Remember when ALL of you "hated" Me for saying Every Nation eats the Paint chips it DESERVES! Well now JIMMY "Carter" eats PAINT chips. Do you hate JImmy CARTER Now!

              You SYCOPHANTIC "idiots" are not Smar! like ME! I am Smart. So very "very" Smart. You can TELL how smart "I" am because I always Talk about "how" Smart I "am", which s what Smart people "do".

              You made Your "bed", So you can "all" Go be "Sycophantic IDIOTS" in your "BED" together. While I will eat my "delicious" Delicious Paint "chips". Just like President Jimmy "Carter".

              Every Nation eats the Paint chips it Deserves!

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 13 Jun 2018 @ 6:34am

    Misreading fun

    "There's likely several more layers to this story"

    At first I read LAWYERS instead of layers. Which would be pretty accurate as well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    murgatroyd (profile), 13 Jun 2018 @ 7:30am

    Why they made up the story

    The FCC needed something that sounded plausible to explain away the failure of their comment infrastructure, and someone latched onto the first "technical" idea that sounded plausible. Unfortunately, that person didn't know enough about the subject to realize that it could easily be debunked.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 13 Jun 2018 @ 7:51am

    Making stuff up is a GOP platform policy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 8:14am

      Re:

      awe... are you jealous that the GOP beat you at your own game?

      Sucks when you get back what your side has been giving doesn't it?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Baron von Robber, 13 Jun 2018 @ 8:27am

        Re: Re:

        I left the GOP 20 years ago. Not joined another party since. You saying I should join the DNC?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 11:46am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You should definitely not join any party, they are only there to usurp the will of the people.

          However, pointing out the sins of only one party when both are guilty to such a degree that it is impossible to know which one is worse does tempt the imagination that you might serve the other that you did not mention.

          I offer apologies assuming that you were a democrat, please do carry on!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 12:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Both sides are bad you say?!?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 12:50pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Very!

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 1:10pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Now if you only had the self awareness of a piece of three day old roadkill you would see that we are laughing at you,and not with you, at your inability to grasp even the most basic facts.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 2:04pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  It is a shame that it is YOU that does not understand.

                  I already know I am being laughed at. The difference between you and me is that I do not bought to peer pressure. You are only laughing because the others are, but you actually do not know any better.

                  I predicted this outcome, does it really make sense to keep laughing at me or maybe a smarter person would stop and say... hold up. We are laughing at someone that predicted this... maybe the know something we don't? It appears you have some confusion on who is and is not in possession of the most basic facts.

                  You can laugh all you want... it will be in vain and when the last laugh does sound... it will not be yours! It will be the laugh of the monopolies echoing in your deaf ears!

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 3:16pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    You sound like the dorky kid in high school who read a book of yo mama jokes and walked confidently into the lunch room the next day, convinced he was going to be popular, rather than get his lunch tray shoved up his ass.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Baron von Robber, 14 Jun 2018 @ 10:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I left the GOP because they can't accept basic facts, like science. Any party that can't deal with reality, can't deal with problems.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 9:07am

        Re: Re:

        This is some great "both sides" false nonsense.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 11:51am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The sad thing is that it really is both sides.

          No matter who is in power the rich get richer.
          No matter who is in power the monopolies get bigger.
          No matter who is in power the government gains more power.
          No matter who is in power more innocent suffer.
          No matter who is in power both sides omit their own guilt and trumpet the others.

          Are both sides the same in effort? No
          Are both sides the same in result? Yes... and THAT is what truly counts. I don't care if you love, hate, or are ambivalent. It just matters what the result of your efforts are and on that note... both are remarkably THE SAME!

          You are the kind of person that gets out into the weeds saying no two weeds are alike yet weeds they still are!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 8:36am

    Richard Bennett pissing his panties in 3, 2, 1...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    FXDWG, 13 Jun 2018 @ 9:39am

    This is why "anonymous government sources" should be avoided

    Not banned - that's too far.

    But the media needs to go back to the fundamental principle of, "If you won't say it on the record, we need to verify your story" (And even if they WILL say it on the record.)

    Quoting "a high ranking authority who is not authorized to speak about the subject" denies the readers the ability to judge bias and credibility, fosters laziness in reporters, and removes accountability for spreading falsehoods.

    I'd like to see Wyden subpoena anyone from the FCC who was named/can be identified as spreading the story to the media.

    Shielding sources is important for issues like the Pentagon papers and Snowden's revelations, but it's an overused crutch these days.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 9:50am

    "But the media needs to go back to the fundamental principle of, "If you won't say it on the record, we need to verify your story" (And even if they WILL say it on the record.)"

    They literally already do this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    discordian_eris (profile), 13 Jun 2018 @ 9:58am

    Why Make It Up?

    Because they can.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 13 Jun 2018 @ 11:32am

    Dear senators Wyden and Schatz,

    We made up the DDOS attack story because we didn't like all the negative comments that were being posted about our plan to hand control of the internet over to large corporations.

    What are you going to do about it?

    Sincerely Ajit Pai

    P.S.

    Go f--- yourselves. XOXO

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 13 Jun 2018 @ 11:55am

    Will no one rid me of this meddlesome senator?

    Fortunately, we are now in good standing with one of the worst of history's dictators we unilaterally made a few concessions to. It's only a reasonable expectation that he'll do us a few favors we cannot do ourselves.

    Russian nerve gas maybe?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 12:58pm

    Who cares?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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