Colonial Pipeline CEO defends paying ransom, says it was the hardest decision he’s made in his career

During a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on Tuesday, Colonial Pipeline president and CEO Joseph Blount Jr. defended his decision to pay criminal hackers after a ransomware attack on its systems in May. Blount said it was the hardest decision he had to make during his career in the energy industry but said he believes it was the right choice.

Video Transcript

JOSEPH BLOUNT: First, the ransom payment-- I made the decision to pay, and I made the decision to keep the information about the payment as confidential as possible. It was the hardest decision I've made in my 39 years in the energy industry. And I know how critical our pipeline is to the country. And I put the interests of the country first.

I kept the information closely held because we were concerned about operational safety and security. And we wanted to stay focused on getting the pipeline back up and running. I believe with all my heart it was the right choice to make. But I want to respect those who see this issue differently. I also now state publicly that we quietly and quickly worked with the law enforcement in this matter from the start, which may have helped lead to the substantial recovery of funds announced by the DOJ this week.