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Pallone Blasts FCC on Misleading Cyberattack Claims

Jun 5, 2018
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) released the following statement today after a new report from Gizmodo detailed concerted efforts by Federal Communication Commission (FCC) officials to spread unsubstantiated claims that a distributed denial-of-service-attacks (DDoS) disrupted the public comment docket in the weeks prior to the vote to repeal net neutrality:   

“I’m disturbed by press reports that demonstrate a concerted effort by FCC employees to mislead the public in the lead up to its vote to repeal net neutrality.  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 Pai to ensure the FCC fully cooperates with GAO’s investigation so the American people can finally get a full accounting as to what happened in advance of the agency stripping away critical net neutrality protections.”

In August, Pallone and Senator Brian Schatz sent a letter to the GAO requesting an investigation into the alleged DDoS attack. In October, GAO accepted the Democrats’ request to investigate.

Last year, the FCC reported that it was the victim of a DDoS attack, in which bad actors flood a website with an overwhelming amount of online traffic in an effort to crash the site. In spite of claims that the cyberattack caused the public comment docket to crash, the FCC has never released any records or documentation that would allow for confirmation that an attack ever occurred.