COLUMN NINETY-SEVEN, SEPTEMBER 15, 2003
(Copyright © 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)
LIES ABOUT VOTING MACHINES:
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE 'ROB-GEORGIA FILE'
BY BEV HARRIS
[Bev Harris is the Author of the soon to be published Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering In The 21st Century http://www.blackboxvoting.com . http://www.Scoop.co.nz has now revealed for the first time the location of a complete online copy of the original data set. As we anticipate attempts to prevent the distribution of this information we encourage supporters of democracy to make copies of these files and to make them available on websites and file sharing networks.]
Download the Diebold files
(See also... http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0307/S00065.htm
Inside A U.S. Election Vote
Counting Program and http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0307/S00064.htm
Someone needs to get their
Diebold voting machines are
used in 37 states. The entire state of Ohio is considering dumping its old
system to buy Diebold. Georgia already did.
The Diebold files,
supposedly secret voting machine files left on an unprotected web site for
nearly six years, are unlocking the truth.
Official stories about
voting machine security, acceptance testing and last-minute program changes are
beginning to slide around like hot grease on a Georgia griddle.
What was the program patch
known as rob-georgia.zip used for? What were they doing with that ftp site,
anyway? Hang in for the first part of this article, the finger-pointing and
obfuscating part, because it concludes with a straightforward explanation of
what went on in Georgia that has never been made public before.
DO ANY OF THESE
PEOPLE TELL THE TRUTH?
"We protect the Bill
of Rights, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. We protect the
Hope Diamond," [Diebold CEO Wally O'Dell told The Plain Dealer in
May 2002. "Now, we protect the most sacred treasure we have, our secret
If they can't tell us the
truth about simple things like "does it connect to modems," can we
really be confident that they are protecting our vote?
CNBC asked Diebold CEO
Wally O'Dell this question on election day, Nov. 5, 2002: "How tamper proof
are these voting machines? That seems to be a concern of some who feel that it
only takes one person, one hacker who can screw up an entire election. How valid
is that criticism, Mr. O`Dell?"
"Well, there`s always
risks," replied O'Dell, "but, you know, these things are not connected
to the Internet. They`re individual precinct by precinct, location by location.
They`re double checked before they`re sent out. We think the technology is
fabulous and very bulletproof. (Come back here after reading rob-georgia, ask
him to repeat this.)
"The GEMS computers
are not connected to any communication system, including the Internet, and
contain no software other than the Windows operating system and the Global
Election Management System object code," wrote Dr. Brit Williams on Apr.
23, 2003. He is the official voting machine certifier for the state of Georgia,
and a key member of the panel that chooses national Independent Testing Labs for
"The central host
system (GEMS Software) is generally a stand-alone system so that no physical
access via network is allowed...This computer can download files for the
Internet with dial-out only capability, but is generally not allowed to be
linked to the Internet for obvious security concerns." This, in documents
submitted during a purchasing decision, answering questions from Santa Clara
County, California on Feb. 7, 2003.
If the GEMS computer isn't
connected to anything, why is the following diagram found in a file named
GApresentation3-02.zip, found on the Diebold ftp site? This diagram depicts the
GEMS computer connecting directly to the Internet on election night.
Not connected to any
communication system are they, Dr. Williams? I spoke with James Rellinger, the
technician who installed all 159 GEMS host computers in Georgia.
Harris: "I understand
that you worked for Diebold Election Systems in Georgia. Can you tell me what
contracted us here in Georgia to basically follow a recipe book and we ran down
and built these things."
Harris: "By 'build
these things'---I think of build, like a hammer and a screwdriver---What do you
mean by build, what were you building?"
Rellinger: "Oh, that's
a good point. There were 159 of these servers that went out. All we did was run
through a series of tests to make sure they could log on and communicate and
make sure everything jived with the touch screen.
"When you say build
they were actually just a Dell server and we added some hardware to it for
instance CD burners, a tape came in them already, but we'd add things to make
them modem capable.
"When you say build a
server it's not physically assembling a hardware. We added a component or two to
make it do what we needed to do, modems, we load the Windows 2000, put the
software in then we test it against their touch-screen machines."
Let's look at just how big
a whopper Dr. Williams told when he said they aren't connected to anything:
Sandy Baxter, Elections Supervisor for San Juan County, Washington, also says
she had modems and Internet capability:
"I think it was about
1999 we bought a new server. They gave us recommendations for servers, like
Dell. They had Dell ship them to McKinney, Texas and they loaded the systems on
and various modems, digiboards and stuff...The server can handle multiple PCs,
but I only have one at this time, so my PC is also my server...I have two
modems. I have a modem that is for going out and it is not connected to the GEMS
system. So I can go to the web. I have what's called a digiboard on my server
that allows multiple modem connections. I have a second modem on the GEMS system
but its only for the AccuVote systems. My precincts modem me the results on
that. The second modem is the only one that goes to my GEMS system. It doesn't
have the capability to go in and out. I just plug it in when I use it."
The User Manuals are filled
with references to modems, ports, uploading, downloading, TCP/IP protocols,
transmissions, and ways to use "JResults" to upload to the web
continuously on election night. Technical specifications, including
manufacturer's components lists, show that not only are there modems, but
All right, so they lied to
us about modem hook-ups. Shall we let this cloud our trust in everything else
they are telling us? Consider this:
spokesman, Joseph Richardson assures us that the open ftp site was inactive. In
interviews with Salon.com and the Baltimore City Paper, he said the site
was old and the files were out of date. Was this the truth?
Not at all. The site was
taken down on Jan. 29, 2003. The most recent file on the ftp site is dated Jan.
23, 2003. How much information was in the files? See for yourself by visiting
the download site at the top of this article.
Michael Barnes, of the
elections division with the Georgia Secretary of State's office, said "That
ftp site did not affect us in any way shape or form because we did not do any
file transferring from it."
Let's have Dr. Brit
Williams weigh in. In Feb. 2003, he said "I'm not familiar with that
site." On April 23, he wrote a letter that was a bit more precise:
"Apparently, there was
an FTP site that Diebold employees used to store and transfer versions of the
system that were under development. The contents, or even existence, of the 'rob
georgia' folder has not been established. However, for the sake of this
discussion, we will assume that the FTP site existed... This would have had
absolutely no effect on the election system as implemented in Georgia. The State
does not obtain its election system code from an FTP site or even from Diebold."
Dr. Williams went on to
outline an elaborate scheme whereby he claimed that the program files are
obtained solely from ITAs (Independent Testing Labs).
What about the Secretary of State? A memo by Chris Riggall, spokesperson for Georgia
regained control of the Senate?
Secretary of State Cathy
Cox, stated that last minute "patches" were installed on all 22,000
voting machines in Georgia. Dr. Williams admitted to me that they were never
examined---not by a testing lab, not by him, not by anyone outside of Diebold.
Suddenly, no one could get their stories straight on the patches either.
The patch was from
Microsoft and it was for Windows, said the Secretary of State's office. But
wait---Dr. Williams says it came directly from the ITA. What does Diebold say?
Diebold says they have no indication there ever was a patch.
We're going to meet one of
the guys who actually installed that patch in a minute, but first let us observe
the art of evasion from Diebold's Joe Richardson:
Harris: "Did you say,
when interviewed by Salon.com, in reference to whether patches were put on the
machines in Georgia, "We have analyzed that situation and have no indication
of that happening at all.""
that is what I said at the time, however, we have continued to investigate the
matter and " (very, very long pause) Yes that is what I said to Salon.com."
Harris: "Do you stand
by that now?"
Richardson: "We have
continued to look into the matter."
Harris: "As you have
continued to investigate this, do you have any new information as to whether
patches were put on in Georgia?"
Harris: "Has anyone
thought to just call them up and ask? The Secretary of State's office?"
Richardson: "I can't
Harris: "What was the
rob-georgia file? Who is responsible for it?"
Richardson: "I'm not
privy to that information."
Harris: "Who would be
able to answer that question?"
Richardson: "I can't
tell you. I can look into it."
Harris: "Yes, could
you do that please? In two publications, you are quoted as saying that the
information on the open FTP site was old and out of date. Yet, I can tell you
the most recent file on it was dated January 16, 2003. Did you do any checking
to see whether the site had been used recently when you made that
statement?" (A more recent file, dated Jan. 23, was later discovered.)
Richardson: "The site
had already been taken down."
Diebold has access to its own site?"
saying I didn't have access."
Harris: "Did you ask
Richardson: (sound of
shuffling papers) "Our ongoing investigation has found no merit to the
insinuations of security breaches in our election solutions."
Harris: "So if there
were up to 20,000 files including hardware, software specs, testing protocols,
source code, you do not feel that is a security breach?" (more files have
since been discovered inside a mammoth zipped directory, bringing the estimated
total up to nearly 40,000 files)
ongoing investigation has found no merit to the insinuations of security
breaches in our election solutions."
And now, Dr. Brit Williams
on the Georgia patch:
Harris: What was the
security around the creation of the cards used to implement the patch?
Williams: "That's a
real good question. Like I say, we were in the heat of the election. Some of the
things we did, we probably compromised security a little bit---Let me emphasize
we've gone back since the election and done extensive testing on all this."
Dr. Williams? latest 180 degree reversal (This link leads you to a forum
discussing files from the ftp site, which contains several absurd statements
from Dr. Williams).
And now, Michael Barnes on
the Georgia patch:
Barnes: "Wyle said it
did not affect the certification elements. So it did not need to be
certified." (at the above-referenced link, you can also find information
from a Freedom of Information Act request, in which officials admitted they did
not have any certifying documents on the patch).
Harris: "Where's the
written report from Wyle on that? Can I have a copy?"
Barnes: "I'd have to
look for it I don't know if there was ever a written report by Wyle. It might
have been by phone." ##
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