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Screenshot: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver via YouTube

The Federal Communications Commission misled news organizations last year with claims about a cyberattack to explain away technical troubles with its comment system, according to a new report by Gizmodo based on its review of internal emails.

The background: In May 2017, after the FCC's comment system buckled following a John Oliver report on net neutrality, the FCC's then-chief information officer said the problems stemmed from a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack — and said the attack was similar to one that happened the last time Oliver told viewers to deluge the FCC with comments, in 2014.

Why it matters: Net neutrality supporters were skeptical, and argued that the FCC was covering for its failure to keep its site accessible. The FCC has either been unwilling or unable to produce evidence an attack occurred, either in 2017 or 2014, and the commission's security staff say they had no evidence of such an attack, per Gizmodo.

What they're saying: The FCC declined to comment on the story. David Bray, the former FCC CIO who blamed the FCC site's problems on DDoS attacks, wrote on Medium in response to Gizmodo:

"Whether the correct phrase is denial of service or bot swarm or something hammering the Application Programming Interface (API) of the commenting system, something odd was happening in May 2017.... My entire focus throughout the entire turbulent time was on ensuring actual people could continue to comment."

Go deeper

Updated 4 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Bill Clinton hospitalized for non-COVID-related infection

Former President Bill Clinton. Photo: Win McNamee/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Bill Clinton was admitted to the University of California, Irvine Medical Center on Tuesday for a non-COVID-related infection, his spokesperson Angel Ureña said Thursday.

The latest: In an update on Friday, Ureña said Clinton's health indicators are "trending in the right direction, including his white blood count which has decreased significantly."

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
5 hours ago - Health

FDA panel endorses shot of J&J booster for adults

Photo: Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Members of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine expert panel on Friday unanimously endorsed a booster shot for adult recipients of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at least two months after the initial dose.

Why it matters: The advisory committee raised concerns about a dearth of data to support their decision but ultimately decided to support an additional shot for those over 18.

Capitol Police officer indicted for obstructing Jan. 6 investigation

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Brent Stirton/Getty Images

A U.S. Capitol Police officer has been indicted on obstruction of justice charges for allegedly helping hide evidence of a participant's involvement in the Jan. 6 riot.

Driving the news: Officer Michael A. Riley, 50, is accused of telling the unidentified participant, referred to as "Person 1," in the Jan. 6 riot to delete posts from Facebook, which showed them in the Capitol during the attack.