When the FCC put out a request for comments on net neutrality, they got a little more than they bargained for.
Late night TV host John Oliver did a segment on the issue and asked his viewers to post comments online. The FCC also received a massive amount of fake comments as well from bots and other ISP-backed groups. In the midst of this PR disaster, the FCC said it was the victim of a DDoS attack but provided no evidence or records to support the claim.
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has now decided to investigate whether or not the alleged attack actually took place.
The investigation was requested by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) back in August and has now been confirmed. The two congressmen claim that the FCC has not "released any records or documentation that would allow for conﬁrmation that an attack occurred" and they are skeptical of the validity of the claims.
The FCC's comment system experienced downtime on May 8 which they blamed on multiple DDoS attacks. They described them as "deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC's comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host." Despite repeated requests to prove that the attacks occurred, the FCC was never able to produce documents backing up their claim.
The investigation will not start for a few months and will also take a while to be completed. This means it will likely not conclude until after the FCC has made its decision on net neutrality. Despite the outage, over 22 million comments were posted on the FCC's website. Removing all of the spam and form-generated comments, 98.5 percent of unique responders supported existing net neutrality legislation.