A group of House democrats want to know when FCC Chairman Ajit Pai knew that the agency’s claims of a DDoS attack were false.
Last week, the FCC’s Office of Inspector General released a report that found no evidence to support the claims of DDoS attacks in May of 2017.
The agency had previously blamed multiple DDoS attacks for temporarily taking down a comment section of its website following a segment of Last Week Tonight, in which comedian John Oliver asked viewers to submit comments to the FCC and speak out in support of net neutrality.
However, viewers were unable to voice their opinion on the proposed rollback of net neutrality because the comment submission section wasn’t available at the time.
Now that it has come to light that the agency’s claims of a DDoS attack were false, a handful of Democratic lawmakers want to know when Pai became aware that there was no DDoS attack and why the agency didn’t correct its public statements alleging a DDoS attack before now.
“We want to know when you and your staff first learned that the information the Commission shared about the alleged cyberattack was false,” Democratic lawmakers wrote in a letter to Pai.
"It is troubling that you allowed the public myth created by the FCC to persist and your misrepresentations to remain uncorrected for over a year,” they wrote. The letter was signed by Representatives Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ), Mike Doyle (PA), Jerry McNerney (CA) and Debbie Dingell (MI).
The results of the investigation concluded that FCC officials deliberately misrepresented facts in responses to Congressional inquiries.
"Given the significant media, public and Congressional attention this alleged cyberattack received for over a year, it is hard to believe that the release of the IG's report was the first time that you and your staff realized that no cyberattack occurred," wrote the lawmakers.
"Such ignorance would signify a dereliction of your duty as the head of the FCC, particularly due to the severity of the allegations and the blatant lack of evidence."
The Democratic lawmakers have asked Pai for complete written responses to their questions by August 28. Pai is also scheduled to appear before a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee oversight hearing on Thursday where he is expected to face questions about the results of the investigation.