Tag Archives: Secretary of State

Georgia’s vulnerabe election system: why election systems are designated ‘critical infrastructure’

There is a special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District on Tuesday, between Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff and Republican candidate Karen Handel. Georgia is one of only five states that use electronic voting without any “paper trail” available for verification of the vote. (h/t Ballotpedia).

Screen Shot 2017-06-17 at 6.10.59 AM

That’s bad enough, but wait, it gets worse. Kim Zetter at Politico Magazine had an in-depth report this week about just how unsecure the voting system in Georgia is. Will the Georgia Special Election Get Hacked?:

Last August, when the FBI reported that hackers were probing voter registration databases in more than a dozen states, prompting concerns about the integrity of the looming presidential election, Logan Lamb decided he wanted to get his hands on a voting machine.

A 29-year-old former cybersecurity researcher with the federal government’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, Lamb, who now works for a private internet security firm in Georgia, wanted to assess the security of the state’s voting systems. When he learned that Kennesaw State University’s Center for Election Systems tests and programs voting machines for the entire state of Georgia, he searched the center’s website.

“I was just looking for PDFs or documents,” he recalls, hoping to find anything that might give him a little more sense of the center’s work. But his curiosity turned to alarm when he encountered a number of files, arranged by county, that looked like they could be used to hack an election. Lamb wrote an automated script to scrape the site and see what was there, then went off to lunch while the program did its work. When he returned, he discovered that the script had downloaded 15 gigabytes of data.

“I was like whoa, whoa. … I did not mean to do that. … I was absolutely stunned, just the sheer quantity of files I had acquired,” he tells Politico Magazine in his first interview since discovering the massive security breach.

Continue reading

Jared Kushner: Oops! Did I forget to mention that?

Donald Trump’s utility infielder, his son-in-law and de facto Secretary of State Jared Kushner, seems to have a memory problem. Or maybe like his father-in-law, he has a lying problem. Or is it just arrogant indifference to complying with the law?

The New York Times reports that this Trump princeling Omitted Meeting With Russians on Security Clearance Forms. Oops! Did I forget to mention that?

When Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, sought the top-secret security clearance that would give him access to some of the nation’s most closely guarded secrets, he was required to disclose all encounters with foreign government officials over the last seven years.

But Mr. Kushner did not mention dozens of contacts with foreign leaders or officials in recent months. They include a December meeting with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, and one with the head of a Russian state-owned bank, Vnesheconombank, arranged at Mr. Kislyak’s behest.

The omissions, which Mr. Kushner’s lawyer called an error, are particularly sensitive given the congressional and F.B.I. investigations into contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates. The Senate Intelligence Committee informed the White House weeks ago that, as part of its inquiry, it planned to question Mr. Kushner about the meetings he arranged with Mr. Kislyak, including the one with Sergey N. Gorkov, a graduate of Russia’s spy school who now heads Vnesheconombank.

Continue reading

The parade of horrors of Trump cabinet picks continues

President-elect Donald Trump made it official this morning. Rex Tillerson, Exxon C.E.O., Chosen as Secretary of State:

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-10-00-13-amIn [nominating] Mr. Tillerson, the president-elect is dismissing bipartisan concerns that the globe-trotting leader of an energy giant has a too-cozy relationship with Vladimir V. Putin, the president of Russia.

A statement from Mr. Trump’s transition office early Tuesday brought to an end his public and chaotic deliberations over the nation’s top diplomat — a process that at times veered from rewarding Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of his most loyal supporters, to musing about whether Mitt Romney, one of his most outspoken critics, might be forgiven.

Instead, Mr. Trump has decided to risk what looks to be a bruising confirmation fight in the Senate.

In the past several days, Republican and Democratic lawmakers had warned that Mr. Tillerson would face intense scrutiny over his two-decade relationship with Russia, which awarded him its Order of Friendship in 2013, and with Mr. Putin.

The hearings will also put a focus on Exxon Mobil’s business dealings with Moscow. The company has billions of dollars in oil contracts that can go forward only if the United States lifts sanctions against Russia, and Mr. Tillerson’s stake in Russia’s energy industry could create a very blurry line between his interests as an oilman and his role as America’s leading diplomat.

Continue reading

WaPo: the media’s email reporting ‘is out of control’

According to the Washington Posts‘ Aaron Blake at The Fix, Hillary Clinton’s email server is why this race is still close:

Hillary-Clinton-textingThe email story is absolutely killing her — and ruining what might otherwise be a coronation.

A new CNN/ORC poll (.pdf) demonstrates it pretty clearly. While polls at the start of the 2016 race showed Americans were basically split about whether her use of a private email server gave them pause about voting for her, it’s now clear that it’s a significant hurdle for a strong majority of Americans in voting for Clinton.

The poll shows fully 62 percent of registered voters agreed with the statement that her use of the server is “an important indicator of her character and ability to serve as president.” That number has risen steadily this year, from 46 percent in March 2015, to 55 percent in October, to 58 percent in June 2016, and now to 62 percent today.

Just 36 percent say the email server is “not relevant to her character or her ability to serve as president.” That’s down from 52 percent at the start of the campaign 18 months ago.

* * *

At this point, it’s hard to point to basically any other major explanation for Clinton’s declining poll numbers and the tightening overall race. She’s run a largely quiet campaign until this past week and has been content to let Trump make the news. The one constant story about Clinton has been new revelations about her emails and the Clinton Foundation (which the new poll, by the way, shows 60 percent say should be shut down either now or if she becomes president). And if you look closely, perceptions about her email server track closely with her overall image and her perceived honesty and trustworthiness.

Continue reading

FBI Director: ‘no reasonable prosecutor’ would prosecute Clinton over email server

The media villagers all had their panties in a bunch over the weekend because the F.B.I. Interviewed Hillary Clinton Over Private Email Server. Oh noes! Begin the uninformed wild speculation and conjecture to fill air time and column space.

Hillary-Clinton-textingThis useless media exercise over the weekend was a waste of time. It was clear from the beginning that the FBI was wrapping up its investigation, and that no grounds existed for charges to be filed, despite what that orange Oompa Loompa with the road kill on his head posts on Twitter (and the media villagers gratuitously report as if it is news). All the experts had said that there was no violation of law and that Hillary Clinton was not in legal jeopardy.

Today the FBI confirmed it. F.B.I. Director James Comey Recommends No Charges for Hillary Clinton on Email:

F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said on Tuesday that the bureau would not recommend criminal charges in Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information, lifting an enormous legal cloud from her presidential campaign, hours before her first joint campaign appearance with President Obama.

But Mr. Comey rebuked Mrs. Clinton as being “extremely careless” in using a personal email address and server for sensitive information, declaring that an ordinary government official could have faced administrative sanction for such conduct.

To warrant a criminal charge, Mr. Comey said, there had to be evidence that Mrs. Clinton intentionally sent or received classified information — something that the F.B.I. did not find. “Our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” he said at a news conference.

This is exactly right. But the GOPropagandists of the right-wing noise machine who dwell in the fever swamps of conspiracy theories and the fact-free world of FAUX News will no doubt assert that there is a “cover up” and that “the fix is in” from the Justice Department — there is always another conspiracy theory to explain the conspiracy theory that fell apart under examination. It’s all they know. And for the “Hillary Haters,” nothing less than burning this witch at the stake will suffice, to hell with the rule of law and the evidence.

Continue reading

Benghazi!!! witch hunt is a bust

The House Select Committee on Benghazi!!! (aka the “Get Hillary” Partisan Witch Hunt Committee) has finally concluded, the longest congressional investigation in U.S. history — longer than the Kennedy Assassination, COINTELPRO, Watergate, Iran-Contra, 9-11, all of them — and it is a bust. House Benghazi Report Finds No New Evidence of Wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton:

BenghaziEnding one of the longest, costliest and most bitterly partisan congressional investigations in history, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report on Tuesday, finding no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in the 2012 attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead.

The 800-page report delivered a broad rebuke of the Defense Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department — and the officials who led them — for failing to grasp the acute security risks in Benghazi, and especially for maintaining outposts there that they could not protect.

Everyone but Congress itself for failing to adequately fund the security needs of State Department posts. What a convenient oversight.

Continue reading