Like so much else in American politics these days, it all looks very suspicious, but no one can prove anything.
Many on social media are wondering whether Russian hackers were involved with several strange glitches to Washington media feeds, and the Capitol building itself, on Thursday.
At around 2:30 PM ET, a live broadcast of C-SPAN, the cable network that covers congressional proceedings, was interrupted by a stream of Russia Today, a Moscow-based news site funded by the Russian government.
Here's the moment Russia Today took over the C-SPAN1 feed. Unclear what happened. RT aired for about ten minutes before C-SPAN1 came back. pic.twitter.com/mhWVgCoFxF
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 12, 2017
The RT broadcast went on for 10 minutes before the C-SPAN feed resumed. As some on social media were quick to point out, the RT feed interrupted a speech by California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, one of President-elect Donald Trump’s biggest critics.
Waters was pushing for strong regulations on Wall Street when the interruption happened, but she went on to mention Russia several times while the feed was cut off, according to the New York Times.
C-SPAN confirmed the internal technical glitch and said they are investigating the matter.
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 12, 2017
Russia Today, in its own report on the incident, stated simply that “RT had no way of cutting into the C-SPAN broadcast.”
Then things got weirder.
A few hours after the C-SPAN incident, MSNBC’s “Hardball” with Chris Matthews experienced a technical glitch during a segment featuring Washington Post reporter David Ignatius, when the video feed started looping again and again as Ignatius said the word “Russia.”
Did MSNBC get hacked? pic.twitter.com/kKgYsyTxUG
— Dorsey Shaw (@dorseyshaw) January 13, 2017
MSNBC reportedly told CNN “the show was pre-taped but there was a technical glitch that was resolved in a matter of seconds.”
All the same, the incidents had many on social media suspecting foul play by a Russian government recently accused of attempting to meddle with the U.S. election.
@nytimes this is no accident. We are obviously in a cyber war with Russia
— Jen Nossib (@JenNossib) January 12, 2017
@punningpundit Wow they really want to brainwash people that RT or Russia is hacking ........ a desperate move nonetheless
— Pierre Zgheib (@PierreZgheib) January 13, 2017
Lights went out as someone said ‘Russia’
And compounding the suspicion was another incident, several hours before the C-SPAN glitch, in which a confirmation hearing for Trump’s pick to head the CIA, Mike Pompeo, was interrupted by a power outage.
According to the Washington Times, Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner was talking about Russia when the lights went out in the U.S. Capitol building.
“[North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard] Burr and I have committed to conduct a review of the intelligence supporting the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia, at the direction of President Vladimir Putin, sought to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election in order to undermine public faith in our democratic process,” Warner was saying at the time.
The power outage hit just before Warner said the word “Russia,” the Times reported. The hearings were quickly relocated.
The incident led to theories that Russian hackers may be accessing the power grid.
I tweeted this morning that Russia must have hacked our power grid. Damn! https://t.co/M801HNxnAt
— Dana Smith Dutra (@YDanasmithdutra) January 13, 2017
The power went out in Pompeo's hearing to run the CIA - Russian attack on Capitol power grid?
— Patricia Zengerle (@ReutersZengerle) January 12, 2017
As of publication time, it was not yet known what caused the power outage on Capitol Hill.
You'll just have to decide for yourself what — if anything — is going on.