Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Hard Rain Journal 6-13-06: Two Items -- Extraordinary Cyber Security Breach in S.D. Special Election? And More on Rove and Plame...

Hard Rain Journal is one of four components of the Words of Power blog. It is posted daily, and provides updates and insights on developing stories. Words of Power, which delivers in-depth commentary, and GS(3) Intelligence Briefing, which provides global risk-related news, are posted on an alternating, bi-weekly basis. GS(3) Thunderbolts are posted as appropriate to deliver timely news on developing stories that require urgent attention.

"I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin',
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest...
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten...
And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin',
But I'll know my song well before I start singin'...
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall."

Bob Dylan, A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall

Hard Rain Journal 6-13-06: Two Items -- Did an Extraordinary Cyber Security Breach Influence the Outcome of the Special Election in San Diego? If Treason Occurs, And None Dare Call It Treason, Is It Still Treason?

Electronic Voting = Information Warfare in San Diego?

The special election in San Diego, to replace the disgraced and now imprisoned Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-CA), in which Bilbray is alleged to have eeked out a victory over Busby, has been tainted by an extraordinary breach of cyber security protocol. Well, it would be an extraordinary breach of protocol, if there were any protocols in place. Or are there? What you need to know is that poll workers were allowed to take the Diebold voting machines home with them for an extended period prior to the day of the election.

“I was an assistant precinct inspector in charge of equipment during this eleciton (I'm in the 50th). I had my two Diebold machines for seven full days before the election (I was dumbfounded). The chain of custody is abysmal. There is a seal on the machines (which are locked) but I am the one who sets up/breaks down the equipment and breaks the seal at the end of the day. The machines were reserved specifically for disabled voters but could have been used if a voter insisted on using it instead of the scanner. I registered zero votes and assume most if not all of the 1,646 precincts in the county had very little use but don't know for sure. I had no key to unlock the memory card but if I were motivated and had "friends" of like mind it would have been extremely easy. Busby/Bilbray Election in Doubt, BradBlog, 6-8-05,

Yes, it’s true. Now this breach of security would be egregious enough if we were talking about paper ballots, but what makes this breach extraordinary is that Diebold voting machines are widely known to be of particular concern, because of a serious security vulnerability publicized in recent months. The scenario of allowing poll workers to take home these machines lends itself to legitimate questions about the possible exploitation of this vulnerability. It has been reported that someone with little experience or expertise can compromise Diebold machines, in a matter of minutes. Leaving them unprotected, and unmonitored is unforgivable and unconscionable! Under such circumstances, i.e., a close race for a congressional seat, the compromise of a single machine could have swung the final results of the election.

“An official Pennsylvania state warning has been issued about the new ‘security vulnerability’ discovered in all Diebold touch-screen electronic voting machines….has now brought a lock-down on all Diebold systems in PA….Public details about the warning are still sketchy as those in the know have acknowledged that the problem is so serious, they are hoping to keep the info under wraps until mitigation steps can be taken to safeguard systems. The BRAD BLOG has been told on the record, however, by one person involved in the matter, that the vulnerability is a ‘major national security risk.’” NEWLY DISCOVERED DIEBOLD THREAT DESCRIBED AS 'MAJOR NATIONAL SECURITY RISK'! BradBlog, 5/5/06

For the full story, access www.bradblog.com, or Mark Crispin Miller’s Notes from the Underground , both Brad Friedman and Mark Crispin Miller are doing fantastic work in this ongoing citizen action.

If Treason Occurs, But Everyone Pretends It Didn’t, Is It Still Treason?

There is something rotten in Beltwayistan. I know you are not surprised.

This morning, the US mainstream news media is reporting that Karl Rove “will not be indicted” in the investigation into the outing of Valerie Plame. Of course, the story only quotes Rove’s lawyer, who has no credibility in speaking for Fitzgerald. And, of course, if Rove had already been indicted, which as I wrote yesterday I believe, it would be factual (in a Clintonesque way) to say he will “not be indicted.”

But the US mainstream news media is also reporting this morning that Fitzgerald does not expect the White House to fight him on seeking Cheney’s testimony in the trial of Libby. Tit for tat? And what if he has to take the Fifth on the stand? That would be ironic -- Cheney wrapping himself in the Bill of Rights.

Do not be surprised if Cheney resigns for health reasons before the end of the year. Do not be surprised if Libby ends up changing his plea, and never goes to trial. My guess is that Rove has turned, to save himself from the indictment that was handed down, and to give Bush a boost in his political makeover. And, of course, there will be pardons before Bush leaves office – IF they are even necessary, and IF he ever leaves office.

-- By Richard Power

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