ELECTION SPECIAL
SECTION FOUR
PAGE ONE

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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.]

http://users.actrix.co.nz/dolly/

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 story straight.

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 ballot."

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 voting machines.

Lies

"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.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/images/0307/22b4e4cd0e52315e48ae.jpeg

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 you did?"

Rellinger: "They 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 wireless communications.

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:

Diebold's official 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


Is this how
the Republicans
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.""

Richardson: "Well, 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?"

Richardson: "No."

Harris: "Has anyone thought to just call them up and ask? The Secretary of State's office?"

Richardson: "I can't say."

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."

Harris: "Surely Diebold has access to its own site?"

Richardson: "I'm saying I didn't have access."

Harris: "Did you ask anybody?"

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)

Richardson: "Our 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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