TX-Gov: Perry Campaign's Claims That Website Was Hacked Don't Add Up

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I strongly believe that Rick Perry's website wasn't hacked — they just screwed up, and didn't have a strong enough server to host their “Talkin' Texas” discussion.

What is more likely — that someone hacked a meaningless video announcement, or that Rick Perry's team just screwed this whole thing up?

After their epic failure trying to launch this video/chat/conference today, the Rick Perry campaign team is now claiming their website was hacked. From Peggy Fikac with the Houston Chronicle:

The live Web cast also was unavailable to me and lots of other people who couldn't log in, showing that if you live by the Internet, you can be attacked on the Internet.

“We were definitely hacked. We'll have a statement shortly. The whole site is down,” said Perry spokesman Mark Miner.

If it was hacked, then it must have been hacked at the exact second the video was supposed to load. Here's some facts:

  1. At approximately 11am, Rick Perry's campaign website showed a color-test kind of screen, and their “chat” window opened.

  2. At 11:06 am, we got this message:
  3. No “Pre-Video” ever ran at 11:12 am, or at any time leading up to 11:29am.
  4. Precisely at 11:30am — when the video/talk would have loaded — the site stopped working.
  5. Comments posted through the time of the “crash” on their Talkin' Texas site.
  6. I was able to watch the last 2 minutes of the video live; somehow it came back…

Now, the Rick Perry campaign is claiming that a single person went in and made it so that their server was overloaded with fake people signing on — which means that the “captcha” function they had for security on their site didn't work.

I have no way of knowing what happened, but here's what I do know:

  1. Nothing was wrong until the second the video was supposed to start.

  2. The “Pre-Video” never launched when it was supposed to — though the chat went on, which means they just couldn't get something to work on their side of things (and has nothing to do with anyone being hacked).
  3. In 2006, the Joe Lieberman campaign claimed their website was hacked by Ned Lamont supporters — which, after thorough investigation, turned out to be a bold-faced lie to cover up their own incompetence.

If you're going to promote a major event, you need to pay for a hosting server that can handle it. What is more likely — that someone hacked a meaningless video announcement, or that Rick Perry's team just screwed this whole thing up?

UPDATE: Perry's statement on the hack:

“Today’s ‘Talkin' Texas’ webcast by Gov. Perry was deliberately interrupted by a denial-of-service attack, preventing countless users from logging in to view the Governor’s remarks. This planned and coordinated attack was political sabotage, and we are working to identify those responsible for this illegal activity. Before the attack was initiated, more than 22,000 users were able to log in and view Gov. Perry’s complete remarks, which will be distributed shortly.”

I was logged in the whole time and never saw anything…until the last 90 seconds or 2 minutes at the end, where he was talking to the camera and then went to shake hands with a lot of folks.

1:51pm UPDATE: Now I've learned that some people could see the video, and others couldn't. If some people could see the video, it wouldn't be hacked — that's just the server not being able to host real traffic and data.

Rather than accept responsibility for his own failure, Rick Perry appears to be lashing out and blaming others. The notion that Kay Bailey Hutchison is somehow behind this (which is also out there) is laughable — if she was, then it's the first competent thing her campaign has done this whole election cycle.

About Author

Phillip Martin

Currently the Research and Policy Director for Progress Texas and the Texas Research Institute, Phillip Martin writes occasional long-form pieces for BOR that promote focused analysis and insight into Texas politics. Born and raised in Austin, Phillip started working in politics in 2003 and started writing on BOR in the summer of 2005. Phillip has worked for the Texas Democratic Trust, the Texas Legislative Study Group, and now the Progress Texas family. He is a lifelong Houston Astros fan, a loyal Longhorn, and loves swimming at Barton Springs Pool.

8 Comments

  1. Perry has been giving Texas
    a denial-of-service attack for years now.

    Of course there was no dos attack, Perry's folks are just creating another bogeyman to blame their failures on.

  2. KBH is a fake
    I wrote her many times about decreasing the number of work visas especially for tech jobs.  In her arrogant and tacky replies she whined about businessmen being short of applicants for tech jobs and how bad that was.  My daughter couldn't get a tech job because they all went out to visas.  

    Instead of securing our border she will side with businessmen who want to keep the border open and flowing with cheap labor.  This is the REAL KBH, not that sweet talking, butter wouldn't melt in her mouth, person she makes herself out to be.  She got into politics because she loves to rub elbows with the rich and she hasn't changed.  If you didn't keep up with her in the senate, YOU DON'T KNOW THE WOMAN.  

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