On Monday, the news went viral that the U.S. recovers $2.3 million in ransom paid to Colonial Pipeline hackers, and immediately journalists became suspicious about the role of the Democrat administration of Joe Biden.
A DOJ press release on Monday reported:
“The Department of Justice today announced that it has seized 63.7 bitcoins currently valued at approximately $2.3 million. These funds allegedly represent the proceeds of a May 8, ransom payment to individuals in a group known as DarkSide, which had targeted Colonial Pipeline, resulting in critical infrastructure being taken out of operation. The seizure warrant was authorized earlier today by the Honorable Laurel Beeler, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of California.
“Following the money remains one of the most basic, yet powerful tools we have,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco for the U.S. Department of Justice. “Ransom payments are the fuel that propels the digital extortion engine, and today’s announcement demonstrates that the United States will use all available tools to make these attacks more costly and less profitable for criminal enterprises. We will continue to target the entire ransomware ecosystem to disrupt and deter these attacks. Today’s announcements also demonstrate the value of early notification to law enforcement; we thank Colonial Pipeline for quickly notifying the FBI when they learned that they were targeted by DarkSide.”
“There is no place beyond the reach of the FBI to conceal illicit funds that will prevent us from imposing risk and consequences upon malicious cyber actors,” said FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate. “We will continue to use all of our available resources and leverage our domestic and international partnerships to disrupt ransomware attacks and protect our private sector partners and the American public.”
“Colonial Pipeline suffered a ransomware attack in early May and responded by preemptively shutting down the pipeline’s entire operations for some time, forcing a temporary but major energy crisis throughout the Southeastern United States. In order for the computers that maintained the pipeline to get back to full operation, Colonial agreed to pay a ransom in the form of 75 bitcoin, which was worth about $5 million at the time,” Jordan Schachtel, an independent journalist reported, also pointing out in his article that he had suspicions about the role of the administration.
Wrote about this in more detail here. https://t.co/Es2ogpMwwR
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) June 7, 2021
Conservative Treehouse also pointed out their suspicions that it was the government who were the hackers, referring to another report by Geoff Bennett of NBC News, who posted on Twitter about the timeline of events with the Pipeline and the government’s response.
The federal government likely were the hackers…. the original hackers…. the ones that shut down the pipeline… https://t.co/9L3FgE8XxU
— TheLastRefuge (@TheLastRefuge2) June 7, 2021
Conservative Treehouse deconstructed the Biden DOJ press release:
“According to their press release, the DOJ seized 63.7 Bitcoin (digital currency) through accessing a server in North Carolina used to enter the Bitcoin wallet password of the original hackers. However, the DOJ still claims the “hackers” were sophisticated Russian operatives. Meaning the “Russian Hackers” were so sophisticated they could hack a major gas pipeline, but not sophisticated enough to protect their wallet and hosted it online on a US-based server?
DOJ […] approximately 63.7 bitcoins, representing the proceeds of the victim’s ransom payment, had been transferred to a specific address, for which the FBI has the “private key,” or the rough equivalent of a password needed to access assets accessible from the specific Bitcoin address. (read more)
Doesn’t this seem like either the private key wasn’t private, or the FBI was the original hacker of the pipeline?”
“The federal government says it seized by court order $2.3 million of the ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline. The FBI had the password to the hackers’ Bitcoin account, @PeteWilliamsNBC reports. Today we turned the tables on DarkSide, says Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco,” Bennett reported.
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Reaction to the announcement was met with suspicion by some posters:
This is a clear psyop to create distrust in bitcoin
So a hacker smart enough to take them down wasn’t smart enough to securely store the bitcoin?
I doubt it
— SIRSTACKSATOSHI (@SIRSTACKSATOSHI) June 7, 2021
Reports on Tuesday, one day after the administration’s announcement about the seizure.
— Disclose.tv 🚨 (@disclosetv) June 8, 2021