Did Al Gore really invent the Internet?

In a CNN interview on 9 March 2000, Al Gore claimed "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."

Was Al Gore really the "Father of the Internet"? Well, no. Albert Gore, Junior, was not elected to Congress until 1976, although his father Albert Gore, Senior, was previously a Senator. Junior represented Tennesee's Fourth District in the House of Representatives, then was elected to the US Senate in 1984. (Source: "Current Biography Yearbook 1987", page 213, edited by Charles Moritz, published by The H.H. Wilson Company, NY, copyright 1987 and 1988.) The Pentagon funded the original development of the Internet, and the military contracting company Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN) began constructing it in 1969. (Source: see the Internet history FAQ pages listed below.) It was originally called ARPAnet, since the agency that funded it was named ARPA. By 1973 it was a modest success.

Wired News does a nice job of debunking Gore's claim.

The CNN interview in which Al Gore claimed that he created the Internet: Internet history FAQ pages:

Late breaking news: Three people are widely considered to be the most influential in actually creating the Internet. Leonard Kleinrock came up with most of the theory, Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn led the development of the TCP/IP protocol, and Cerf led implementation through much of the crucial early period. Kleinrock and others developed the basic design before 1969. Cerf and Kahn started their work in 1973 when the Internet (then called Arpanet since the Pentagon agency ARPA paid the bills) had 25 nodes and was a modest success. Cerf was the one who came up with the name "Internet" in 1974. Cerf and Kahn have issued a statement on Gore's contribution. It can be summarized by saying that although Gore did not invent the Internet, and he did not even "take the initiative in creating the Internet", he did indeed support it in the 1980's once it was a definite success. I'd call that "jumping on the bandwagon" but Cerf and Kahn are either loyal Democrats or else just plain charitable. The Register online magazine has the entire unedited text of the statement from Cerf and Kahn.

Just In 17 October 2000: Vinton Cerf endorses Gore. So Cerf at least is a loyal Democrat. If you helped create the Internet, would you endorse a politician who hogged all the credit for himself? Now that is loyalty! MSNBC.COM has the story of the endorsement.

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