Blog Briefing Room

Buttigieg says feds ‘not ruling out’ nefarious activity in FAA system outage

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the department was not ruling out the possibility that nefarious activity was to blame for a computer system outage that delayed and canceled flights all over the U.S. on Wednesday.

“We’re not prepared to rule that out,” Buttigieg said in an interview on MSNBC when asked if he was positive the outage was not the result of foul play. “There hasn’t been any indication of that.”

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) placed a pause on all domestic flights early Wednesday morning after a system that communicates real-time flight hazards to pilots experienced an outage. More than 6,500 flights within, to and out of the U.S. were delayed, according to FlightAware, an online flight tracker.

Buttigieg stressed that while the government was not ruling out the possibility of outside interference, there had been no evidence yet to suggest that was the case.

“There is no direct indication of any kind of external or nefarious activity, but we are not yet prepared to rule that out,” Buttigieg said.

The slew of flight delays and cancellations comes after Buttigieg and the Biden administration faced backlash over the chaos caused by Southwest Airlines and its cancellation of more than 2,500 flights over the holiday season. 

The FAA lifted the pause on flights later in the morning on Wednesday, but by that time hundreds of trips had already been canceled.

President Biden said he was in contact with Buttigieg, whom he instructed to report directly to him when the cause became clear.

Tags Biden Biden administration Buttigieg FAA flight delays Pete Buttigieg

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