The Washington Post breaks news that “Russian Hackers” have penetrated the U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont in an attempt to bring down the US power grid in a move that would most certainly kill off half the state’s population in an instant according to Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy!!!
Surely The Washington Post is not spreading more fake news. This would be equal to screaming FIRE in a crowded theatre.
Readers of the Washington (COM)Post received some world ending news yesterday when the paper published a story alleging that those evil “Russian hackers” had stepped up their game and had managed to “penetrate the U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont in an attempt to bring down the US power grid”.
“a move that would most certainly kill off half the state’s population in an instant!”, according to Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy.
The full headline read as follows:
The opening paragraph of WaPo’s story directly linked the “hack” of the Vermont utility to the same “Russian hacking operation dubbed Grizzly Steppe” that the Obama administration has blamed for the DNC and John Podesta email hacks. Vermont’s Governor, Peter Shumlin, told WaPo that “Americans should be both alarmed and outraged” by these actions perpetrated by “one of the world’s leading thugs, Vladimir Putin,” before calling for further retaliatory actions from the Obama administration.
“Vermonters and all Americans should be both alarmed and outraged that one of the world’s leading thugs, Vladimir Putin, has been attempting to hack our electric grid, which we rely upon to support our quality-of-life, economy, health, and safety. This episode should highlight the urgent need for our federal government to vigorously pursue and put an end to this sort of Russian meddling.”
Moreover, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy took the fake news rhetoric to a whole new level by asserting a diabolical Russian plot to shut down the U.S. electrical grid in the middle of winter…a move that would most certainly kill off half the state’s population in an instant!
Of course, it didn’t take long for the kings of fake news, The New York Times and ABC, to latch on to the story where it could be retweeted to brain dead liberals everywhere since it fits their “2016 election hacking” narrative so perfectly.
Our Russian “friend” Putin attacked the U.S. power grid. https://t.co/iAneRgbuhF
— Brent Staples (@BrentNYT) December 31, 2016
View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
ABC News ✔ @ABC
NEW: “OMG!!! One of the world’s leading thugs, [Putin] has been attempting to hack our electric grid,” says VT Gov. Shumlin http://abcn.ws/2ihEeZu
12:01 AM – 31 Dec 2016
371 371 Retweets 393 393 likes
Alas, there was just one minor problem, namely that the entire article was completely fabricated. Apparently the esteemed “journalists” of the Washington Post didn’t even bother to contact the Burlington Electric Department to confirm their bogus story…and why should they…it fit the “Russian hacking” narrative so perfectly therefore it must be true, right?
Well, apparently not. The quick spread of WaPo’s “fake news” story forced the Burlington Electric Department to issue a clarifying statement assuring worried residents that, indeed, their electricity grid had not been hacked at all, but rather a single “laptop not connected” to the grid had been found to have a generic malware virus.
Robert M. Lee, CEO and founder of cybersecurity company Dragos, which specializes in threats facing critical infrastructure, also noted that the IOCs included “commodity malware,” or hacking tools that are widely available for purchase.
As a reminder, this Thursday when Obama unveiled sanctions against Russia and announced the expulsion of Russian state workers in the worst diplomatic clash between the two nations since the cold war, concurrently the FBI and DHS released a joint report on the “Grizzly Steppe” a hacking operation which was supposedly linked to the Russian government, and alleged that it had targeted US political organizations.
In reality what they described in the “Grizzly Steppe” hacking operation report, was the simplest of spoofing operations, in which the “hackers used fraudulent emails that tricked their recipients into revealing passwords.” In other words, if simple email spoofing – i.e., relying on the stupidity of its “American targets- was the best the so-called “Russian” government could do to “hack the US elections”, then the US had little reason to be concerned.
Which forced the embarrassed Washington Post to quickly tone down their provocative headline, not by removing the fake headline, but by supplementing their original article with the following “Editor’s Note” in small print admitting the entire premise of their original story was nothing more than “fake news.”
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Russian hackers had penetrated the U.S. electric grid. Authorities say there is no indication of that so far. The computer at Burlington Electric that was hacked was not attached to the grid.
Which drew quick reactions from twitter…
Dell Cameron ✔ @dellcam
1) Not an infiltration of the power grid.
2) malware can be purchased online by anyone.
3) See 1 & 2. https://twitter.com/Acosta/status/815041961572843520 …
10:54 PM – 30 Dec 2016
276 276 Retweets 268 268 likes
Eric Geller ✔ @ericgeller
Statement from the Burlington utility, per that BFP story. pic.twitter.com/25cHENWh0a
Eric Geller ✔ @ericgeller
Pretty amazing how badly the Post appears to have mangled this one. You didn’t call the Vermont utility regulator before publishing?
9:57 PM – 30 Dec 2016
447 447 Retweets 584 584 likes
…and Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, who blasted WaPo for their “irresponsible and sensationalist tabloid behavior.”
THIS MATTERS not only because one of the nation’s major newspaper once again published a wildly misleading, fear-mongering story about Russia. It matters even more because it reflects the deeply irrational and ever-spiraling fever that is being cultivated in U.S. political discourse and culture about the so-called threat posed by Moscow.
This kind of blatantly irresponsible and sensationalist tabloid behavior – which tracks what they did when promoting that grotesque PropOrNot blacklist of U.S. news outlets accused of being Kremlin tools – is a by-product of the Anything Goes mentality that now shapes mainstream discussion of Russia, Putin and the Grave Threat to All Things Decent in America that they pose.
Ironically, a few weeks ago we noted that The Washington Post was all too happy to promote a fake anonymous website that described Zerohedge and libertarian sites as “‘dark gray’ propaganda, systematically deceiving its civilian audiences for foreign political gain” (see “Washington Post Names Drudge, Zero Hedge, & Ron Paul As Anti-Clinton ‘Sophisticated Russian Propaganda Tools'”), all while presenting exactly zero evidence to support their preposterous claim. Perhaps it’s time for WaPo to dedicate a bit more of its time to self-reflection.