Tuesday, December 21, 2004

BIG HALF-TRUTH: No Evidence of Election Tampering from Computer Repair

Ohio Fraud Smoking Gun

Keith Olberman is now rethinking his conclusion: "Thus the evidence of a “fix” in Hocking is almost nil." He has also provided us with a juicy bit of new information which helps make up for his sloppy reporting earlier (emphasis added by Newsclip Autopsy).

First, the juicy bit:
Mr. Kalo also points out details that make the recount situation in Hocking County, Ohio, seem far less closed than the County’s Assistant Prosecutor led me to believe. I guess I’m still a little naïve on such things, but it would seem to me that in telling his story of a “comedy of errors” involving the inspection of the main vote tabulator there by a representative of the voting machine manufacturer, Triad Systems, David Sams might have been mentioned that in addition to being Assistant Prosecutor, he is also (per Mr. Kalo) the legal representative of the Hocking County Board of Elections during the recount.
Now, the details begin to emmerge and the loose logic displayed by these unbiased "experts" and "prosecutors" seems to be, well, less unbiased.

Ahhhh! And now Keith has had another very important (if not the most important) detail of the story delivered to him on his journalistic silver platter by the Minority General Counsel of the House Judiciary Committee, Ted Kalo and the Green Party’s recount coordinator for Southeastern Ohio, Orren Whiddon. (My goodnes, Keith, I know you're on vacation again, but that affidavit by Sherole Eaton is not that long a read!!!)
Kalo, and the Green Party’s recount coordinator for Southeastern Ohio, Orren Whiddon, both point out that the issue in Hocking is not so much what was or wasn’t done to the machine, but the efforts of the Triad man to find out which of Hocking’s precincts was to be subjected to the mandatory 3% hand recount.

One of our producers had asked Deputy Prosecutor Sams about how the subject of the unusual inquiries was dealt with at the informal “board meeting” Sams conducted Monday. Asked why the Triad employee would’ve asked about precincts at all, Mr. Sams replied, “I don’t remember, to be honest, what he answered to that. But it was really just a comedy of errors. There was no impropriety.”
So what does MSNBC get when they start (and I emphasize, "start") asking tough questions? Amnesia problems from the assistant prosecutor of Hocking county!!! It's worthy to note that the president from Triad, himself, didn't have an answer for this either. The New York Times reported this on December 15:
But Brett Rapp, the president of Triad, said that although it would be unusual for an employee to ask about a specific precinct, preparing the machines for a recount was standard procedure and was done in all 41 counties where Triad handles vote counts. He added that he welcomed any investigation.
He welcomes an investigation -- however, it seems he doesn't have to worry about getting one. Hopefully, John Conyers and the FBI prove me wrong on this one. Also, isn't it funny that the MSNBC producer (or anyone else for that matter) didn't bother asking the Triad employee himself about this particular matter.

It seems, however, that Olbermann is still ignoring the possibility that vote-rigging could have taken place at Hocking county. He still provides no answers as to why we are supposed to implicitly believe that the computer technician actually "RECREATED" what he did on December 10th. Furthermore, Olbermann still does not probe affidavit details like:

- "He said that he could put a patch on it and fix it."

- "I hung his coat up and it was very heavy."

But, hey! He's on vacation, right? We shouldn't be too hard on him.


UPDATE #1 (first time readers, see original post below):

Keith Olbermann has been hot on the heels of this story. In his most recent blog posting, he posted a first-hand account of the Assistant Prosecutor in Hocking, David Sams. Olberman writes (bold type emphasis added by Newsclip Autopsy):

The locals moved quickly. David Sams, the Assistant Prosecutor in Hocking, happens conveniently enough to be a Countdown viewer. He met with the Board of Elections, and the Triad representative, yesterday. “There were some things that seemed ‘irregular,’ which raises the possibility of impropriety,” he told our office. “It bore looking into.” Sams said he had Triad’s man recreate what he did to the computer tabulator that so disturbed the County’s Deputy Elections Director, Sherole Eaton. “The gentleman in question took apart the computer in front of us, and our patrolman, who has worked many computer-related crimes, assessed what he did.

“He was fixing the system,” Sams continued. “Whatever happened that day, happened today. It’s a fourteen-year old computer. We had another gentleman, a local systems analyst, who verified this information for us… We were prepared to disassemble the machine and have it dissected. But we didn’t think this was necessary. The election in our county was completely proper.”

Keith Olbermann, like the reporter from AP below, again fails to answer a question crucial to the stability of this logic. How do you know he "RECREATED" what he did??!!! Here's a summary of what AP and Olbermann told us in their reports:

1. The computer technician properly replaced a battery and reinstalled a hard drive before prosecutors and computer experts.

2. The computer experts confirmed that he knows how to replace a battery and reinstall a hard drive

3. These prosecutors are assuming that the computer technician is telling the truth and is actually recreating what took place on December 10, 2004.

AP or Keith Olbermann have not discussed number 3 at all. (And, by the way, it is unknown how many people were actually witnessing the December 10th disassembly. From what I can tell from the Sherole Eaton affidavit, he wasn't really being watched at all -- let alone by anyone knowlegable to know what he was doing at the time.) Fine, maybe Olbermann or AP weren't able to get those details about how they trust this technician, for whatever reason. However, it is inexusable for Olbermann to make this absurd conclusion at the end of his piece:
...Thus the evidence of a “fix” in Hocking is almost nil...
It is even more absurd to know that Olbermann wrote this conclusion after writing this:
...But the real impact in Hocking is the simple fact that a computer technician had access to the voting equipment in violation of the Ohio Secretary of State’s controversial extension of the “canvassing period.” Simply put, according to Kenneth Blackwell, nobody should’ve been allowed to dust the machine, let alone replace a battery or parts, except under extremely controlled circumstances...
So let's see. Keith believes that alarm bells should be sounded after knowing that a technician illegally disassembled a computer counting machine. However, he is completely comfortable with the fact that noone is questioning that what the technician did yesterday is what he actually did on December 10th. At the very least, Keith Olbermann apparently doesn't think that this is an important detail to discuss.

I would hate to eat the bread from Keith Olbermann's farm, if this is what he calls "separating the wheat from the chaff."



This latest piece by AP (and I use that term, as I would when mentioning "a
really bad piece of abstract art") has me absolutely baffled:
Prosecutor: No evidence of election tampering from computer repair

Associated Press

LOGAN, Ohio - Prosecutors and local police found no evidence of election tampering when they watched Monday as a technician repeated a repair to a tallying computer that led a congressman to request an FBI investigation.
Pay close attention to the words "repeated a repair". It's almost like "replicating the results" in a scientific expieriment. Enough said!! Nothing more to see here!!!

What kind of whacked out logic is this???!!! How the hell do they know he did the same thing as he did on December 10th? THERE WERE NO EXPERTS WATCHING HIM ON DECEMBER 10TH!!! In fact, Sherole Eaton had her back turned to him some of the time. In her affidavit, she states, "I had my back to him when he turned the computer on." And even when she was watching him, how is she going to know what to look for?

The rest of the story is moot, from an investigative point of view. For example:
Observers including Green Party representatives who requested a presidential recount agreed the procedure did not alter the hard drive where data are stored, Hocking County Prosecutor Larry Beal said.
Again -- HOW DO THEY KNOW THAT THIS SPECIFIC PROCEDURE WAS CARRIED OUT ON DECEMBER 10th???!!! Have they examined the hard-drive to make sure that it was the same one that was in the computer before December 10th? Is there evidence of manipulation of programming or data on the software itself? Etc., etc., etc...

But, not to worry says AP for:
"The actual votes are stored on the punch-card ballots," Rapp said. "The machine simply counts the votes. During this whole process, the ballots were locked up."
Oh, well that makes it much better then!! The computer "simply counts the votes". THAT'S THE FREAKIN' PROBLEM!!! We have a technician manipulating a "machine that simply counts the votes" on December 10th (before the recount) -- with no expert non-partisan supervision.

Furthermore, AP still does not address the comment made by this technician about posting "cheat sheets". Again, here is the statement made in Sherole Eaton's affidavit:
He advised Lisa and I on how to post a "cheat sheet" on the wall so that only the board members and staff would know about it and and what the codes meant so the count would come out perfect and we wouldn't have to do a full hand recount of the county.

In addition, Eaton's testimony also mentioned that:
I hung his coat up and it was very heavy. I made a comment about it being so heavy.
This could be nothing, but does this not beg the question that, perhaps he had another hard drive stashed in his jacket? No mention of this detail or any queries concerning the possibility that the hard drive was replaced. This seems like a remote possibility, but one that should be investigated.

Also, why did the technician state that "he could put a patch on it and fix it (about the battery problem)". Eaton is certain that he said this, for she does not know anything about computer terminology.

Another question I would like answered is why he was working for 3 hours on the computer, if only the battery needed to be replaced and the BIOS settings determined?

The AP article mentions that there were computer experts observing this "re-enactment", however, did they actually read Sherole Eaton's testimony? If they didn't, then they would not know to question the technician about the "patch" comment. Funny that AP did not interview or quote THESE experts.

The AP headline to this story is the biggest Half-truth I have witnessed in awhile.

"No evidence of election tampering from computer repair"

No shit, Sherlock.

Do a proper investigation!!!!!!!!!!!
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