Colonial Pipeline CEO defends ransom payment to hackers


WASHINGTON — Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount stood by his decision to pay a massive ransom to Russian hackers who shut down the fuel line last month, telling a Senate committee it was in the best interest of the country.

“The attack forced us to make difficult choices in real time that no company ever wants to face,” he told members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

“I know how critical our pipeline is to the country, and I put the interest of the country first,” he added. “I kept the information closely held because we were concerned about operational safety and security, and we wanted to stay focused on getting the pipeline back up and running. I believe with all my heart it was the right choice to make.”

On May 7, Colonial — which is responsible for transporting almost half of the gasoline on the…

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