Rick Perry Fell for Prank Call That Lasted 22 Minutes

Energy secretary discussed cyberattacks and pig manure with Russian pranksters
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2017 2:27 AM CDT
Updated Jul 26, 2017 6:44 AM CDT
Rick Perry Falls for Prank Call About Pig Manure
President Trump delivers a speech to Boy Scouts as Secretary of Energy Rick Perry uses his phone at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit in Glen Jean, W. Va., on Monday.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

(Newser) – Bad news for Rick Perry: The promising new biofuel made from pig manure and homebrewed alcohol he wants to learn more about isn't real—and the person who told him about it wasn't Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman. The energy secretary's 22-minute phone call July 19 with the man he thought was the Ukrainian leader was a call placed by Russian phone pranksters Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov, the Cut reports. Perry also discussed issues such as America's withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and cyberattacks on the power grid with the pranksters.

Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes confirmed that Perry had been pranked by the duo, who are known as the "Jerky Boys of Russia," the Guardian reports. "These individuals are known for pranking high-level officials and celebrities, particularly those who are supportive of an agenda that is not in line with their [government's]. In this case, the energy security of Ukraine," Hynes said. The Washington Post reports that the pranksters took advantage of timing to fool Perry, arranging the call three weeks after Perry hosted Groysman and other Ukrainians at the Department of Energy. (Their other victims include Elton John, who thought Vladimir Putin had invited him to a gay pride parade.)

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