A federal investigation has concluded that US Sen. Joseph Lieberman's 2006 re-election campaign was to blame for the crash of its Website the day before Connecticut's Democratic primary. The FBI office in New Haven found no evidence supporting the Lieberman campaign's allegations that supporters of primary challenger Ned Lamont were to blame for the crash.
Lieberman, who was fighting for his political life against the anti-Iraq-war candidate Lamont, implied that joe2006.com was hacked by Lamont supporters. "The server that hosted the joe2006.com Web site failed because it was overutilized and misconfigured. There was no evidence of (an) attack. A program that could have detected a legitimate attack was improperly configured, according to the FBI, in an e-mail dated Oct. 25, 2006.
The email was recently sent to The Stamford Advocate in response to requests under the Freedom of Information Act filed in late 2006. The Advocate filed the requests after government investigators closed the case but would not divulge details.
Visitors who tried to access Lieberman's site at the time received a message calling on Lamont to "make an unqualified statement denouncing this kind of dirty campaign trick and to demand whoever is responsible to cease and desist immediately." The Lieberman campaign alleged it was the target of a "denial of service attack," which can involve bombarding a Web site with external communications to slow it or render it useless.
"Our Web site consultant assured us in the strongest terms possible that we had been attacked," former Lieberman campaign spokesman Dan Gerstein said in December 2006. According to the FBI memo, the site crashed because Lieberman officials continually exceeded a configured limit of 100 e-mails per hour the night before the primary.
"The system administrator misinterpreted the root cause," the memo stated. "The system administrator finally declared the server was being attacked and the Lieberman campaign accused the Ned Lamont campaign. The news reported this on Aug. 8, 2006, causing additional Web traffic to visit the site.
"The additional Web traffic then overwhelmed the Web server. . . . Web traffic pattern analysis reports and Web logging that was available did not demonstrate traffic that was indicative of a denial of service attack." (info from the Stamford Advocate)