Remember the Lieberman "hack attack"?

Criminal investigation shows Lieberman campaign was to blame for its own server crash.

By Steve Benen

Published April 9, 2008 2:38PM (EDT)

Way back in August 2006, the day before Connecticut's Democratic Senate primary between Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont, the Lieberman campaign's Web site went down. It prompted something of a media frenzy and ugly accusations from Lieberman about his "political opponents" being responsible for the "attack." (Lieberman's campaign manager told reporters, "If Ned Lamont has a backbone in his body, he will call on these people to cease and desist.")

The Lamont campaign issued a categorical denial and denounced the incident, offered to help the Lieberman campaign gets its site back online, and even invited Lieberman to put his site on its servers. Nevertheless, Lieberman aides filed a complaint with the U.S. Attorney's Office and other agencies regarding the alleged attack.

What of the more obvious, innocent explanation? The Associated Press noted at the time, "The Lieberman campaign denied speculation among liberal Web pundits that the centrist Democrat's Web site had simply crashed because it used a low-budget Web host unable to handle the volume."

Good news: The criminal investigation is over. What actually happened in August 2006? Well, it's a funny story:

A federal investigation has concluded that U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman's 2006 re-election campaign was to blame for the crash of its Web site the day before Connecticut's heated Aug. 8 Democratic primary.

The FBI office in New Haven found no evidence supporting the Lieberman campaign's allegations that supporters of primary challenger Ned Lamont of Greenwich were to blame for the Web site crash.

Lieberman, who was fighting for his political life against the anti-Iraq war candidate Lamont, implied that was hacked by Lamont supporters.

"The server that hosted the Web site failed because it was overutilized and misconfigured. There was no evidence of (an) attack," according to the e-mail.

You don't say. Regardless, all's well that ends well. I'm sure Lieberman will do the right thing, acknowledge his own mistake, express regret to the FBI for requesting an unnecessary and wasteful investigation, and apologize to Lamont supporters for the bogus accusations.

Any minute now.

Steve Benen

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