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posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday December 11 2018, @08:45PM   Printer-friendly
from the shining-a-light dept.

Report: FBI opens criminal investigation into net neutrality comment fraud

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the use of stolen identities in public comments on the government's repeal of net neutrality rules, BuzzFeed News reported Saturday.

The investigation focuses on "whether crimes were committed when potentially millions of people's identities were posted to the FCC's website without their permission, falsely attributing to them opinions about net neutrality rules," the report said.

"Two organizations told BuzzFeed News, each on condition that they not be named, that the FBI delivered subpoenas to them related to the comments," BuzzFeed wrote.

The FBI subpoenas came a few days after similar subpoenas sent by NY AG Barbara Underwood in mid-October. Underwood "subpoenaed more than a dozen telecommunications trade groups, lobbying contractors, and Washington advocacy organizations," The New York Times reported in October.

Previously: John Oliver Leads Net Neutrality Defenders to Crash FCC Website. Again.
Bot Floods the FCC's Website with Anti-Net Neutrality Comments
FCC Officially Publishes Net Neutrality Repeal
U.S. Officially Repeals Net Neutrality Rules; FOIA Request Reveals Details of Bogus DDoS Attack
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Passes Blame Over Lying About Public Comment System Being DDoSed
99.7 Percent of Unique FCC Comments Favored Net Neutrality
Ajit Pai Admits Russia Interfered in Net Neutrality Process amid Lawsuit


Original Submission

Related Stories

John Oliver Leads Net Neutrality Defenders to Crash FCC Website. Again. 72 comments

Common Dreams reports

Last Week Tonight host John Oliver on [May 7] issued another powerful rallying cry to save net neutrality protections, and, repeating the outcome of his 2014 plea, his viewers flooded the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) site, causing it to temporarily crash.

[...] Oliver said it's worth noting that [FCC Chairman Ajit] Pai is "a former lawyer for Verizon", a company which "won a lawsuit which meant that if the FCC wanted strong, enforceable protection, its only real option was to reclassify the ISPs, and yet he cheerily insists under questioning that there is just not evidence that cable companies were engaging in rampant wrongdoing".

"Title II is the most solid legal foundation we have right now for a strong, enforceable net neutrality protections", Oliver said, and urged "we, the people, [to] take this matter into our own hands".

To that end, Last Week Tonight bought the domain name gofccyourself.com, which redirects users to the official FCC page[1] where open internet advocates can leave a comment and call for these protections to remain in place. (Oliver notes that it simplifies the commenting process the FCC "has made more difficult since three years ago".)

"Everyone needs to get involved. Comment now, and then maybe comment again when the FCC makes its proposal official. Even call you representative and your senators", Oliver urged.

So successful was the start of his campaign, according to Motherboard, that there was such a high volume of traffic flooding the Federal Communications Commission that the site temporarily went down. As of this writing, it is up and running again.

[1] The fcc.gov page is almost entirely behind scripts.


Original Submission

Bot Floods the FCC's Website with Anti-Net Neutrality Comments 17 comments

A bot is thought to be behind the posting of thousands of messages to the FCC's website, in an apparent attempt to influence the results of a public solicitation for feedback on net neutrality.

Late last month, FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced his agency's plans to roll back an Obama-era framework for net neutrality, which rule that internet providers must treat all internet content equally.

Since then, the FCC's public comments system has been flooded with a barrage of comments -- well over half-a-million responses at the time of writing -- in part thanks to comedian John Oliver raising the issue on his weekly show on Sunday.

[...] But a sizable portion of those comments are fake, and are repeating the same manufactured response again and again:

[...] "The unprecedented regulatory power the Obama Administration imposed on the internet is smothering innovation, damaging the American economy and obstructing job creation," the comment says. "I urge the Federal Communications Commission to end the bureaucratic regulatory overreach of the internet known as Title II and restore the bipartisan light-touch regulatory consensus that enabled the internet to flourish for more than 20 years."

NotSanguine called it! https://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?sid=19421&cid=506966

http://www.zdnet.com/article/a-bot-is-flooding-the-fccs-website-with-fake-anti-net-neutrality-comments/


Original Submission

FCC Officially Publishes Net Neutrality Repeal 30 comments

The Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules will be no more in two months: The agency has taken the final step in removing the regulations from its rule book.

But that may not be the end of the story. Dozens of groups are expected to file lawsuits challenging the repeal, and Democrats in Congress will push to reverse the FCC's action.

On Thursday, the FCC published the final notice of the repeal in the Federal Register, which starts a 60-day clock until the rules are removed. The effective date for the repeal is April 23. The FCC voted to repeal the rules on Dec. 14.

https://www.cnet.com/news/fcc-officially-publish-net-neutrality-repeal/#ftag=CADf328eec

Final Notice of Repeal: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/02/22/2018-03464/restoring-internet-freedom


Original Submission

U.S. Officially Repeals Net Neutrality Rules; FOIA Request Reveals Details of Bogus DDoS Attack 25 comments

US Officially Repeals Net Neutrality Rules

The net neutrality rules said companies had to treat all data equally.

Enacted in 2015, the rules sought to stop providers giving preferential treatment to sites and services that paid them to accelerate their data.

And critics fear repealing them may see consumers charged extra for anything more than the most basic service.

Public protests greeted the Federal Communications Commission's plan to end use of the rules, with many saying it could have an impact on free speech.

But, in December, the FCC voted to repeal the rules. And the regulations expired on Monday.

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-44438812

Oddly The Trump FCC Doesn't Much Want To Talk About Why It Made Up A DDOS Attack

Last week, e-mails obtained via FOIA request revealed that yes, FCC staffers routinely misled journalists in order to prop up this flimsy narrative, apparently in the belief they could conflate consumer outrage with criminal activity. The motive? It was likely for the same reason the FCC refused to do anything about the identity theft and bogus comments we witnessed during the repeal's open comment period: they wanted to try and downplay the massive, bipartisan public opposition to what the lion's share of Americans thought was an idiotic, corruption-fueled repeal of popular consumer protections.

[...] One of the FCC staffers accused of making false statements about the DDOS attack was recently departed FCC IT chief David Bray. Original reports stated that Bray and other staffers had been feeding this flimsy DDOS narrative to gullible reporters for years, then pointing to these inaccurate stories as "proof" the nonexistent attack occurred. Under fire in the wake of last week's report, Bray first doubled down on his claims, adding that the 2014 "attack" hadn't been publicized because former FCC boss Tom Wheeler covered it up. But Wheeler himself subsequently stated in a report late last week that this was unequivocally false:

"When I was in the greenroom waiting to come in here, I got an email from David Bray, who said 'I never said that you told us not to talk about this and to cover up,' which was the term that got used. Which of course is logical, because as the Gizmodo article that you referenced pointed out, A) FCC officials who were there at the time said it didn't happen, [and] B) the independent IT contractors that were hired said it didn't happen. So if it didn't happen it's hard to have a cover up for something that didn't happen."

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180607/13443039988/oddly-trump-fcc-doesnt-much-want-to-talk-about-why-it-made-up-ddos-attack.shtml


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Passes Blame Over Lying About Public Comment System Being DDoSed 40 comments

Ajit Pai admits FCC lied about "DDoS," blames it on Obama administration

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai acknowledged Monday that the FCC lied about its public comment system being taken down by a DDoS attack during the net neutrality repeal proceeding.

Pai blamed the spreading of false information on employees hired by the Obama administration and said that he isn't to blame because he "inherited... a culture" from "the prior Administration" that led to the spreading of false information. Pai wrote:

I am deeply disappointed that the FCC's former Chief Information Officer [David Bray], who was hired by the prior Administration and is no longer with the Commission, provided inaccurate information about this incident to me, my office, Congress, and the American people. This is completely unacceptable. I'm also disappointed that some working under the former CIO apparently either disagreed with the information that he was presenting or had questions about it, yet didn't feel comfortable communicating their concerns to me or my office."

Pai's admission came in a statement yesterday. "It has become clear that in addition to a flawed comment system, we inherited from the prior Administration a culture in which many members of the Commission's career IT staff were hesitant to express disagreement with the Commission's former CIO in front of FCC management," he also said.

Inspector General report.

99.7 Percent of Unique FCC Comments Favored Net Neutrality 69 comments

Submitted via IRC for BoyceMagooglyMonkey

After removing all duplicate and fake comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission last year, a Stanford researcher has found that 99.7 percent[pdf] of public comments—about 800,000 in all—were pro-net neutrality.

"With the fog of fraud and spam lifted from the comment corpus, lawmakers and their staff, journalists, interested citizens and policymakers can use these reports to better understand what Americans actually said about the repeal of net neutrality protections and why 800,000 Americans went further than just signing a petition for a redress of grievances by actually putting their concerns in their own words," Ryan Singel, a media and strategy fellow at Stanford University, wrote in a blog post Monday.

Source: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/3kmedj/997-percent-of-unique-fcc-comments-favored-net-neutrality


Original Submission

Ajit Pai Admits Russia Interfered in Net Neutrality Process amid Lawsuit 45 comments

Federal Communications Chairman (FCC) Ajit Pai said it was a “fact” that there was Russian interference in the public comments ahead of its controversial net neutrality vote last year, amid sparring between another commissioner about a lawsuit the agency is in the midst of.

The admittance was made in response to a lawsuit filed by the New York Times, who requested access to records surrounding the public comments that they argued would “shed light to the extent to which Russian nationals and agents of the Russian government have interfered with the agency notice-and-comment process about a topic of extensive public interest.”

The public comments left ahead of the FCC’s net neutrality vote have been at the center of much scrutiny—with millions of fraudulent comments (including the names of dead people and current members of Congress) being used.

One recent study recently found that of the real comments, nearly 100 percent were made in favor of the FCC keeping the existing net neutrality rules.

https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/net-neutrality-comments-lawsuit/


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday December 11 2018, @08:58PM (11 children)

    by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @08:58PM (#773077) Journal

    In other news, hostile foreign governments interfering in US regulatory processes totally fine, Republicans declare.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by fustakrakich on Tuesday December 11 2018, @09:30PM (9 children)

      by fustakrakich (6150) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @09:30PM (#773101) Journal

      Certain it was foreigners? Why would they care about the FCC when American companies actually have something to lose? Doesn't make sense. It's kinda like blaming Iraq for 9/11. Or what, this time they're telling the truth?

      --
      La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
      • (Score: 5, Informative) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday December 11 2018, @09:38PM (8 children)

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @09:38PM (#773105) Journal

        Certain it was foreigners?

        Ajit Pai admitted it was in a legal filing. [soylentnews.org]

        So unless he's perjuring himself to frame the very people that gave him cover to do what he wanted, I's probably true.

        • (Score: 2, Informative) by fustakrakich on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:21PM (2 children)

          by fustakrakich (6150) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:21PM (#773134) Journal

          Let's look at that, shall we?

          Ajit Pai said it was a "fact" that there was Russian interference...

          Why is "fact" in quotes? Because it isn't, maybe?

          So, what do we have?

          server logs and IP addresses.

          Whoops! That's it?? Sorry, man. You know that shit don't fly. It's too easy to "photoshop" that junk too.

          How long has this crap been going on? two years or more? And you still have no admissible evidence. So far you still have only hearsay from jailbirds and other interested parties... I sure wish you guys had something so we could get rid of these people and move on, but the goal seems to keep the game running as long as possible so the elephant remains invisible.

          --
          La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
          • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:53PM (1 child)

            by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:53PM (#773158) Journal

            Why is "fact" in quotes?

            Because it's a quote.

            • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Tuesday December 11 2018, @11:05PM

              by fustakrakich (6150) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @11:05PM (#773166) Journal

              By him. They could have actually quoted the whole sentence. What was the reason not to? Anyway, the story is bullshit, a distraction. And contrary to your faith, the democrats will be of no help. The distraction is for their benefit. SNAFU

              --
              La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
        • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:30PM (2 children)

          by fustakrakich (6150) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:30PM (#773138) Journal

          Well, shame on me for not following through!

          From the actual court filing apparently is this:

          the commission remains unconvinced of any meddling by Russian bots, residents, or government officials in the FCC comment system.

          thankyouverymuch

          Maybe there is possible perjury. We shouldn't be surprised by that, should we? Seems to be pretty common in this dirty business.

          --
          La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
          • (Score: 4, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:36PM (1 child)

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:36PM (#773144)

            I'm sorry, didn't he say there was nothing wrong with the comments 2 years ago?

            --
            Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
            • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:45PM

              by fustakrakich (6150) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:45PM (#773153) Journal

              That's what he said in court. He's apparently giving the tabloids a different story. Either way, there is still the small problem of actual, verifiable, admissible evidence.

              --
              La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
        • (Score: 2) by mr_mischief on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:45PM (1 child)

          by mr_mischief (4884) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:45PM (#773154)

          It's very convenient to blame someone within a sovereign foreign government when the subpoenas start getting served. If it's anyone in the US stealing identities and committing basic fraud and wire fraud that's who's going to be compelled to appear and potentially serve a sentence.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @05:40PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @05:40PM (#773548)

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Epstein [wikipedia.org]
            https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article220097825.html [miamiherald.com]
            https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/jeffrey-epstein-victims-lawyers-push-ruling-non-prosecution-deal-n946581 [nbcnews.com]

            If you wanted the swamp drained, he sounds like the guy whose connections should have been investigated more thoroughly, but lookee, he gets a slap on the wrist and told not to have his dick around anything underage in NY and he's free to go, while allowing all those people he has blackmail and proof of paedophelia on to get away. People who could collapse the Democrats, Republicans, Bankers, and Hollywood all in one fell swoop.

            If you need more proof that the system isn't working for the people, look right there. Just to make it even more egregious, look at how little they were getting paid. Overage prostitutes here in California get paid more than that. Good ones in the four to five figures a night.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by realDonaldTrump on Wednesday December 12 2018, @01:06AM

      by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Wednesday December 12 2018, @01:06AM (#773220) Homepage Journal

      "There is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even rig America’s elections, there’s no evidence that that has happened in the past or that it will happen this time, and so I’d invite Mr. Trump to stop whining and make his case to get votes." The President Obama quote just before election. That’s because he thought Crooked Hillary was going to win and he didn’t want to "rock the boat." When I easily won the Electoral College, the whole game changed and the Russian excuse became the narrative of the Dems.

      I told my FBI to look into this one VERY CLOSELY. Like they looked into Judge Bart. FBI did 6 investigations of Judge Bart. And every time he came out smelling LIKE A ROSE. Like a goddamned Rose. But I told them, guys, take another look. Do that 7th investigation. For Bart. For Dr. Ford. And for the American people. Who I always always put first. And guess what, Brat passed brilliantly. 100%. And now he's on SC. Starting a very long career on SC. And he's going to be remembered as one of our greatest Justices.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Fluffeh on Tuesday December 11 2018, @08:59PM (13 children)

    by Fluffeh (954) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 11 2018, @08:59PM (#773078) Journal

    That's really about all my thoughts on this matter. Great that an investigation is being brought to order, I hope that it gets to the bottom of who did what - and then most importantly WHY they did it. Was it to further their own goals, was it to further the goals of their donors or friends or was it to try to do the right thing and what people wanted to have done by the repeal.

    I hope all of that comes to light in a simple, easy to read document that gets the air-time it deserves.

    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday December 11 2018, @09:00PM (5 children)

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @09:00PM (#773079) Journal
      • (Score: 1, Disagree) by fustakrakich on Tuesday December 11 2018, @09:33PM (4 children)

        by fustakrakich (6150) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @09:33PM (#773102) Journal

        Gee, I wonder why they didn't elect a congress to do it... Stop listening to media polls. They are garbage.

        --
        La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11 2018, @09:45PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11 2018, @09:45PM (#773110)

          You promise to be online every time I have a question? It is clear that only you are capable of divining Universal Truth.

          • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:09PM

            by fustakrakich (6150) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:09PM (#773129) Journal

            You promise to be online every time I have a question?

            Nope. You're on your own, kid...

            --
            La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
        • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Thursday December 13 2018, @03:21PM (1 child)

          by Thexalon (636) on Thursday December 13 2018, @03:21PM (#773978)

          Gee, I wonder why they didn't elect a congress to do it...

          Because there was no way to vote for such a Congress. All Republicans and a substantial percentage of Democrats support the ability of telecoms to do pretty much whatever they want, and all non-Demoblicans/Republicrats are too powerless to gain control of Congress. The Democrats that are supportive of net neutrality are mostly the ones who get more of their money from Google and Facebook rather than Comcast and AT&T.

          --
          The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
          • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Thursday December 13 2018, @09:19PM

            by fustakrakich (6150) on Thursday December 13 2018, @09:19PM (#774145) Journal

            Well, that only means people shouldn't vote for republicans and democrats. Gotta work on the source of the problem, not its symptoms.

            --
            La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Thexalon on Tuesday December 11 2018, @09:28PM (2 children)

      by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @09:28PM (#773096)

      Unfortunately, what's at least as likely is that there will be a "thorough" investigation that concludes that they can't figure out who was responsible. Ajit Pai made the decision he wanted to make, and the main reason we know this is that his job before running the FCC was lobbying for telecoms to try to convince the FCC to repeal their net neutrality rules. The "public" comments, such as they were, were to give him a political excuse to do it, not to actually influence anybody in power.

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bob_super on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:13PM (1 child)

        by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:13PM (#773131)

        I have yet to see a Pai decision that is negative for Verizon.
        Some decision may be Verizon-neutral (if not involved at all), but most can be directly traced to a benefit for Verizon.

        Trump must really admire his loyalty to his masters. Maybe he'll get the Chief of Staff job.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11 2018, @11:22PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11 2018, @11:22PM (#773172)

          Why would Trump want someone loyal to Verizon as his chief of staff?

          Or are you assuming his loyalties will change with the job change this time?

    • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:20PM (2 children)

      by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:20PM (#773133)

      Nothing will happen to anybody involved in this, because why would it?

      The people who stand to benefit the most from this are the same people who fund the people who make the rules.

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday December 11 2018, @11:17PM (1 child)

        by c0lo (156) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @11:17PM (#773169) Journal

        Something may still happen: 'discovering' that those who stand to benefit were 'not involved' and they are as white as the wash.
        Magic!

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday December 11 2018, @11:35PM

          by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @11:35PM (#773179)

          Probably.

          If telling massive porkies to Congress while under oath is not a crime, why would identity theft be?

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:38PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:38PM (#773145)

      I hope all of that comes to light in a simple, easy to read document that gets the air-time it deserves.

      With heavy media promotion and distribution, in early October, 2020. I'm guessing it was suppressed to keep it out of play for the midterms.

      --
      Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
  • (Score: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11 2018, @09:28PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11 2018, @09:28PM (#773097)

    text goes here.

    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11 2018, @09:54PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11 2018, @09:54PM (#773118)

      Am hume.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by stretch611 on Tuesday December 11 2018, @09:49PM (2 children)

    by stretch611 (6199) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 11 2018, @09:49PM (#773113)

    Even if they show that various cable-friendly trade groups and organizations illegally submitted thousands of anti-net neutrality comments,

    I do not see this changing anything.

    Trump, Ajit Pai, and their allies got the result they wanted, and I do not see them admitting anything being wrong. They sure as hell will not repeal their own dumping of Net Neutrality.

    --
    Now with 5 covid vaccine shots/boosters altering my DNA :P
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:23PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:23PM (#773135) Journal

      I do not see this changing anything.

      It's not going to reverse the FCC decision. Democrats are going to need to fix that.

      What is will do is hold the people who committed identity theft and defrauded the regulatory process responsible for their crimes. That's a good thing by itself.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:41PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @10:41PM (#773149)

      I do not see this changing anything.

      Laws, acts, and all manner of created rules can be reversed. If they find that the comments were "trumped up," it should at least trigger a revisitation of the process and a possibility of reversing the outcome. The timing to make something like that happen is the key. As far as I can read public opinion, the longer this drags out the more likely it will get reversed.

      --
      Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by digitalaudiorock on Tuesday December 11 2018, @11:01PM

    by digitalaudiorock (688) on Tuesday December 11 2018, @11:01PM (#773165)

    The FBI should be investigating the FCC and Pai himself for withholding evidence [arstechnica.com] of this. As I understand it, he did so even when requested by state prosecutors. That is obstruction of justice in every sense of the fucking word.

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