|| Patriot Act Being Used to Harrass BlackBoxVoting.org website
The Secret Service Wants Your Name: Will "subpeona" this web site?
And by the way, they read every word. Hi, agent Mike. This "investigation" no longer passes the stink test.
He says not to tell folks about the "investigating" they are doing.
I have cooperated ad nauseum to this absurd investigation of the "VoteHere hack" which looks to me like it is something entirely different. I'll tell you what it looks like to me:
A fishing expedition.
It appears that they may be using the Patriot Act to circumvent some of the civil rights protections laid down in the 60s. You see, it is illegal for a government agency to go in and demand the list of all the members of a group. And you can't investigate leaks to journalists by going in and grabbing the reporter's computer.
After the Diebold memos were leaked, and my web site was shut down, around the time of the California recall election, I started getting solicited to accept VoteHere software. I didn't bite, because it was obvious that this was an entrapment attempt.
Okay, a word about VoteHere: This is the company that has no visible means of support. It doesn't seem to sell anything. Its board is heavily infested with defense industry types -- a former CIA director (Robert Gates, now heads George Bush School of Government); it had Admiral Bill Owens, also Vice-Chairman of SAIC and a member of the Defense Policy Board with Perle and Wolfowitz, a very close friend of Cheney; currently headed by former Washington Secretary of State Ralph Munro.
VoteHere announced that it would be releasing its software for review, back in July 2003. It was planning to release it in September, and was supposed to do so to Dr. David Dill's web site. It never released the code, just a bunch of literature about its product. (It did release some, but not all, of its code this month, making a big splash about it). About a week into October, I got solicited with an email "click this link" for VoteHere software.
Now who would fall for that? Why would anyone in their right mind grab the stuff in some clandestine manner when it was being released into the open momentarily? And this is a company that never sells anything. Who gives a shit anyway, what its software does? It now is trying to peddle yet another alternative to a voter verified paper ballot, an idiotic solution where we turn over auditing of the vote to a handful of cryptographers who work for a private company with defense industry ties. No one I know thinks that is even a viable concept, so why would we care to examine the software these cryptographers make up?
I was in the ending stages of writing my book, putting new chapters online every few days, at that time. Like I'm going to hack into VoteHere (those who know me realize that I couldn't hack my way out of a paper bag) -- this was just dumb.
I turned down the software. In early January this year, VoteHere does a press release that it was "hacked" in October and tries to blame it on the activism community. I published an article expressing doubt that we'd gotten the whole story.
Now, I have been interviewed by the Secret Service on this VoteHere "hack" story about five times. They never spend much time on the hack. Most of the time is spent on the Diebold memos, which they claim they are not investigating.
Here's the deal: The leaking of memos to journalists is not something the government can come in and demand to investigate very easily.
Under the Patriot Act, "hacking" crimes were turned over to a new division, called the CyberCrimes division, and placed under the auspices of the Secret Service. And let me tell you what they want from me now: They want the logs of my web site with all the forum messages, and the IP addresses. That's right. All of them. A giant fishing expedition for every communication of everyone interested in the voting issue. This has nothing to do with a VoteHere "hack" investigation, and I have refused to turn it over.
So, yesterday, they call me up and tell me they are going to subpeona me and put me in front of a grand jury. Well, let 'em. They still aren't getting the list of members of BlackBoxVoting.org unless they seize my computer -- which my attorney tells me might be what they have in mind.
Also, Agent Mike told me he just "happened" to be on the plane with me a couple weeks ago. What's that supposed to do? Scare me? "You were going to Oakland," he said. Yeah, and Diebold lawyer's memos appeared in the Oakland Tribune, but guess what, Mike: That was the first hop of three on my way to Dallas. I left that morning for a speech at the Dallas Democratic Forum that evening. Never even got off the plane. Better luck next time.
And if they were really investigating what they said -- a VoteHere "hack" can someone explain why they want the logs from the web site BlackBoxVoting.org -- it was SHUT DOWN due to Diebold cease & desists during the period of the supposed "hack."
And (you know who you are) -- consider this a heads up: If you start bumbling around in my house with U.S. marshalls, the very first thing that will happen is mainstream news coverage that you are misusing the Patriot Act to get at membership lists and private correspondence for a fishing expedition on stuff that isn't even the subject of a legitimate investigation.
Yeah, I'm not a happy camper. Taking the pulse of our democracy nowadays, it doesn't feel very healthy, does it?
P.S. Everyone say hi to Mike.
Please pass this along, and/or get your group involved:
We need exactly 2,004 Clean-Up Crew members to volunteer as poll workers, election judges, and poll watchers, with a checklist of problems to hunt for and a hotline to litigators and the media. E-mail with "Volunteering!" in the subject line to join the Clean-Up Crew.