Friday, November 18, 2005

No one disputes Dieb-Throat allegations

No one steps forward to dispute Deib-Throat allegations

<>By DEBRA LoGUERCIO

© McNaughton Newspapers 2005

<> When I wrote last week’s Dieb-Throat column about a whistleblower revealing security risks in Diebold touch-screen voting machines, I was deliberately setting myself up for a sucker punch. Go ahead, clean my clock. Make me see stars.

I awaited a deluge of feedback, ridiculing me for believing anything posted on a blog (www.bradblog.com), along with mountains of evidence showing that Diebold’s machines are perfectly reliable and completely tamper-free, and that our election results were never and could never be secretly altered. I desperately wanted some snarky software geek to explain this to me in one of those “Jane, you ignorant slut” diatribes.

Why beg for such abuse, particularly when it’s often offered freely without my prompting? Because I really, really, really wanted Dieb-Throat’s allegations to be untrue. Wistful dreamer that I am, I believe in the democratic process. I believe my vote counts. I believe your vote counts. We may not vote the same way, but the fact that we vote at all matters. It’s the very foundation of everything our country stands for. If our votes are meaningless, democracy is meaningless. Our country is meaningless. All you folks out there flying Old Glory on your front porches and SUV antennae, guess what -- if our votes don’t mean anything, then that flag’s nothing more than a piece of colored cloth.

So, there I sat waiting, hoping to be cold-cocked. I wasn’t. Not even a slap. Nor a pinch. Does this mean the Dieb-Throat column was met with reader apathy? Did everyone just skip ahead to the crossword puzzle? Far from it. I got mail. Tons. More mail than my homicidal lesbian bunny ever generated. And here’s the thing. These weren’t just simple “you go, girl” pats on the back. I received lengthy, detailed email from obviously well-educated people with computer software expertise, all extremely disturbed by the potential for voter fraud that existed in Diebold voting machines during the 2004 presidential election, and as far as anyone knows, still does.

Among the things forwarded to me was a 255-page PDF of a voting machine security analysis prepared by Compuware for the state of Ohio in January 2004. There’s a thorough explanation of how the studies were conducted and a blow-by-blow analysis of Diebold security risks. The analysis reveals several ways to alter votes and, in particular, issues concern over the Compuware team’s ability to guess the PIN numbers for Diebold’s voting cards (with which you can change tallies) in less than two minutes.

Their summary: “During the course of our study, Compuware has identified several significant security issues, which left unmitigated would provide an opportunity for an attacker to disrupt the election process or throw the election results into question.”

Also forwarded to me was a RABA Technologies study conducted for the state of Maryland in 2003. Their analysis of the so-called “Smart Cards” (which are used in the voting process) was even more disturbing: “Initial guesses on the team’s part provided instant access to the card’s contents. Given access to the cards’ contents, it became an easy matter to duplicate them, to change a voter card to a supervisor card (and vice versa) and to reinitialize a voter card so that it could be used to vote multiple times.” With a Diebold supervisor card, you see, you can change vote tallies.

Can it be any worse? Oh yes, my friends, it can. If votes are changed electronically, it’s completely undetectable. Can it get still worse? Infinitely. The federal government knew about this prior to the 2004 election. And did nothing.

In a Sacramento Bee article written by Yolo County Clerk/Recorder Freddie Oakley, she notes: “These machines are programmed with computer code far beyond the technical knowledge possessed by ourselves or by any voting official we know… computer code that is indeed secret, its secrecy closely guarded as the proprietary intellectual property of the machines’ manufacturers.”

She further notes Diebold president Walden O’Dell’s statement in a 2004 fund-raising letter to Ohio Republicans, “I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.”

Remember which state was the make-it-or-break-it state in the 2004 presidential election? And also used Diebold machines?

Yeah.

America -- 1776-2004. R.I.P.

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