With help from Eric Geller, Anthony Adragna and Gavin Bade
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— The Justice Department has recovered most of the ransom Colonial Pipeline paid to hackers last month, following a cyberattack that rattled the Southeast’s fuel markets.
— The Biden administration is aiming to shore up the supply chain to make advanced batteries and diversify the sources of rare earth minerals under a new strategy to be unveiled today.
— Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Republicans Monday that the Biden administration thinks it’s too late to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from being completed.
Here’s to a phenomenal Tuesday! I’m your host, Ben Lefebvre, filling in while Matthew Choi is on vacation. Anthony Adragna will be taking the reins tomorrow. Congrats to Ed Chen at the Natural Resources Defense Council for being the first to answer that William McKinley was the president felled by a Detroiter. Today’s trivia question: What is the White House connection of one of the men heard in the opening chatter of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” Send your answer and news tips to Anthony at [email protected], or find him on Twitter @anthonyadragna.
Check out the POLITICO Energy podcast — all the energy and environmental politics and policy news you need to start your day, in just five minutes. Listen and subscribe for free at politico.com/energy-podcast. On today’s episode: Biden’s LNG dilemma.
CRYPTO UNEARTHED: The recovery of about half of the Colonial Pipeline’s $4.4 million ransom serves as a dramatic coda to the hack, which sent drivers in the Southeast U.S. into a gasoline-buying panic that forced many of the region’s gas stations to close shop.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco’s announcement Monday was especially surprising, given that Colonial paid the ransom to Russia-based hacker group DarkSide using cryptocurrency, which makes it easy for parties in transactions to remain anonymous.
“The old adage ‘follow the money’ still applies,” Monaco said at a press conference. “And that’s exactly what we do.”
Colonial said it contacted federal law enforcement agencies in Atlanta, Northern California and Washington D.C., as soon as it learned it had been hacked on May 7. “Holding cyber criminals accountable and disrupting the ecosystem that allows them to operate is the best way to deter and defend against future attacks of this nature,” company CEO Joseph Blount said in a statement. “The private sector also has an equally important role to play and we must continue to take cyber threats seriously and invest accordingly.”
The sleuths traced the payment across the ostensibly anonymous cryptocurrency ecosystem, where the government was able to locate and seize $2.27 million from a virtual currency account used by the hackers.
The recovery of the funds will offer Blount a strong talking point when he goes before the Senate Homeland Security Committee today at 10 a.m to talk cybersecurity and critical infrastructure.
STOCKING THE SHELVES: With the lessons of the pandemic still fresh, the Biden administration is directing agencies to shore up production of crucial items, including pharmaceuticals and computer chips as well as supplies for the new…
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