Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner publicly addressed the recent computer hacking that crippled the county’s computer systems.

This week, Tanner interviewed with KVII-TV, confirming that the computer hack was indeed a ransomware virus targeted at the county. The hack was originally called a virus, but a private email from Tanner was leaked, showing county officials knew the issue stemmed from ransomware. Tanner said she did not disclose the ransomware to the public, as she was “following orders.”

“I was following orders: ‘Do not give this to the media, do not give this to the employees—do not tell them.’ And like I said before, it literally gives [the perpetrators] power. If you put that out there … they’re scared. So, why do it? Just keep it under wraps and see what happens,” Tanner told KVII-TV.

Tanner went on to say the email that was leaked from Potter County to the media shows she cannot trust other officials.

“I obviously cannot trust some people. I’m not going to put the whole category in there for every department and head elected official, but there is one or two out there who would like to see me fail, and that’s disheartening, to say the least. But it is what it is, and I’ll just deal with it the best way I can,” Tanner said.

Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas said the virus also temporarily crippled his department’s system. Concerns were also raised about the attack affecting the May 4 election, although county officials later said the attack would not affect the election.

County commissioners also took note of the issues, approving an emergency purchase of $30,700 during their most recent meeting to preserve the county’s existing records.

Thomas Warren

Thomas Warren, III is the editor-in-chief of the Amarillo Pioneer newspaper in Amarillo, Texas.