Fox News host Tucker Carlson theorized that recent bullish market moves were due to the U.S. government buying Bitcoin to pay ransomware attackers.
Specifically, Carlson linked the recent grounding of flights by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to a cyber attack, postulating that “almost all ransoms like this are paid in Bitcoin.”
On Jan. 11, the FAA halted nationwide departures, delaying thousands of flights, due to a “computer outage.” According to the transportation agency, this was due to a technical issue with the Notice to Air Missions system (NOTAM,) which provides pilots with airspace data, such as details of abnormal conditions. The agency said:
“Our preliminary work has traced the outage to a damaged database file. At this time, there is no evidence of a cyber attack.”
Supporting his theory, the Fox News host said the FAA notice occurred right around the time BTC began pumping. Moreover, similar “outages” had occurred in Canada and the Philipines.
Almost three weeks into the new year, the leading cryptocurrency has recorded a 29% growth in price. The pump is all the more surprising as broader macro uncertainty reigns.
The chart below shows a gradual uptrend since Jan. 1. However, on the day U.S. flights were grounded, BTC posted a significant 4% upswing to close the day at $17,930.
Over the subsequent days, Bitcoin moved higher to recapture $20,000 on Jan. 14 before settling at pre-FTX price levels.
Since the FAA notice, Bitcoin has grown 22% in value, with the move higher causing sentiment to flip bullish. Some have taken this as a bull market signal.
Carlson asks questions
Digging into the flight grounding, Carlson stated that the last time this happened was in response to the 9/11 attacks in 2001, adding that this is “a huge deal.”
Further, the immediate aftermath of the grounding was met with confusion from authorities, with Secretary of Transport Pete Buttigieg going on television saying he was unsure what caused the groundings.
Hours later, “a kind of story emerged” on the NOTAM system being to blame, which Carlson described as an unconvincing explanation.
“Our system just shut down for no real reason. Is that what you’re telling us? Yes, explained Pete Buttgieg with a straight face.”
Carlson also mentioned that the same issue occurred in Canada the following day. He said both countries operate their own independent software to route flights, adding, “what are the odds of that?”
A statement from Canadian officials on the matter said the “Canadian NOTAM entry system experienced an outage” and that it was unrelated to the earlier U.S. NOTAM failure.
Going deeper, the Fox News host pointed out that the Philippines also suffered a grounding of flights on New Year’s Day, leading to thousands of flights being re-routed.
“Is it possible that somebody is hacking into aviation systems and holding various governments around the world hostage until they pay a ransom?”