Technical mistakes by Senator Joe Lieberman's re-election campaign team - not an attack by opponents - were responsible for the crash of his website on the eve of the August 2006 Connecticut primary election, federal investigators discovered.
Lieberman's team implied supporters of Democrat challenger Ned Lamont might be responsible. Not so.
Feds tasked with investigating the supposed denial of service attack found that the poorly configured server lacked sufficient bandwidth to service surfers visiting Lieberman's site, joe2006.com.
"In short, the server that hosted the joe2006.com website failed because it was over utilised and misconfigured," reports an October 2006 email contained in FBI documents obtained this week by AP. "There was no evidence of (an) attack."
Reports of supposed dirty tricks drove yet further interest in the site, leaving it unavailable on election day. Democrat rival Lamont called on Lieberman, who successfully ran for senator as an independent in a later general election after losing the Democratic primary, to apologise.
"Senator Lieberman's campaign team accused an awful lot of good people of breaking the law on the eve of the primary, and they did it for political purposes," Lamont told AP. "If he does the right thing, he'll stand up and say, 'I was wrong'."
At the time, Lieberman said: "I'm concerned that our website is knocked out on the day of the primary, you'd assume it wasn't any casual observer," implying the "hack" was politically motivated. Lieberman's staff asked the Justice Department to investigate.
A Lieberman spokesman maintained on Wednesday that the campaign had acted in good faith. "We were told by our website administrator that there was clear evidence of an outside effort to disrupt our site, and that the administrator was so certain that the site had been attacked that he was willing to swear to it in a legal affidavit,". ®