I will warn you now. Politico Magazine’s deep dive into Russia’s hack of the 2016 election will leave you stunned, depressed, and scared as hell. You may well want to consider whether today is a good day to read it. But you must read it at some point. It is your duty as an American. America was attacked, successfully. The only question is how extensively, and how successfully, as well as the questions about the vulnerability of 2020. It could be worse. This column will not be short, but I dearly hope you appreciate the depth of analysis. Indulge me in allowing me to start with a personal observation that may or may not be relevant, but damn well fits the findings in the article. In the Florida elections in 2014 (Senate), 2016 presidential, and 2018 (Senate and Gov) it unsettled me to consistently see the Republican vote (always close) outperform reputable polls done a week prior to the election. I remember reading articles noting the Democrat led by 2-3 points, only to see Florida go red, consistently, in what I had confidently considered a Democratic winner. It has gotten so bad that I now just expect to be “surprised.” The Politico article leaves me even more unsettled. For one, it is now established fact that Russia manipulated the 2016 Florida database computers – especially Broward County, the heavily Democratic area. In 2017, then Senator Bill Nelson noted the importance of the successful hack, and was attacked by Republicans for alleged speculation. In 2018 Nelson was proven correct. Later in 2018 he lost an extremely close election to the Republican, Governor Snyder. The article is from Politico Magazine, and is thus a deep deep dive, and hard to summarize and analyze here. But I must give you a taste within the bounds of the fair use doctrine. The focus of the article is the evidence of extreme abnormalities in North Carolina and Florida, both associated with a small company that specializes in election data base software VR Systems (50 employees, but widely used in Florida, NC, and other states). There is no question that the small company’s software was hacked. The questions persist about the impact. I doubt the company itself is biased toward Republicans. It cannot survive unless it is known to be reliably neutral, with no political bias. But it also has every reason to cover-up any detrimental impact due to Russian interference. There is rock-solid evidence that the company was penetrated prior to 2016, yet the company is not responsive to many questions. During the September call, the FBI urged participants to look out for any traffic coming to their websites from a list of suspicious IP addresses the FBI provided. After the call, VR Systems told Wyden, the company looked through its traffic logs, discovered activity from the IP addresses the FBI had mentioned on the call and subsequently reported that activity to the bureau. It’s not clear, though, whether the company also told the FBI at this time about the phishing emails it had received a month earlier, or whether it had already reported those emails back in August. (VR Systems wouldn’t respond to questions about the timeline discrepancies.) The article is simply stuffed with disturbing facts such as the above. One of the most […]
Sometimes people in Washington get it plain wrong!
If conservatives support police killing citizens without justification, climate denial, fact denial, science denial, racist and misogynistic behavior, or a litany of other absurd points of view about numerous important issues, we call them out.