Let’s Play Hide the Ball
The Trump re-election campaign is underway, and he wants to ensure that his loyalists are in charge of the nation’s intelligence agencies. Witness the rapid rise and fall of Representative Ratcliffe from Texas to replace Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats who has minced no words in describing Russian efforts to interfere in US elections.
Robert Mueller in his testimony before Congress made it very clear that the Russians had interfered in the 2016 elections, had interfered in the 2018 elections, were interfering as he testified, and would interfere in the 2020 elections. Volume 1 of his Special Counsel report detailed all the ways that Russia interfered in the 2016 Presidential election. https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/18/politics/full-mueller-report-pdf/index.html
The Senate Intelligence Committee just released the first volume of a five-volume report cataloguing Russian interference in the 2016 election. https://www.npr.org/2019/07/25/745351734/read-senate-intelligence-report-on-russian-interference-in-the-2016-election It found that the Russians had infiltrated inside the election machinery in all 50 states, and in some cases had penetrated very deeply. https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6214170/Senate-Intel-Report-On-Election-Interference.pdf It found that a large number of states were simply resistant to the Department of Homeland Security’s warnings and efforts to assist them in preventing Russian incursions into their election systems in the lead up to the 2016 elections. It found that the systemic vulnerabilities at the local level had not been fixed by the end of 2018, and recommended that all systems have a paper trail and the ability to audit the election results. A number of election and voting systems are subject to infiltration and vote changing without any ability to assess that they have been hacked. “As of November 2018,however, there were still four states in which every single county relied on DREs (Direct Recording Electronic Voting Machines) without voter verified paper audit trail printers (VVPAT) and, in an additional eight states, there were multiple counties that relied on DREs without a VVPAT.” In layman’s language, these voting systems can be hacked and votes can be changed without any one knowing or even noticing the difference.
“In addition, 16 states have no post-election audits of any kind, while many others have insufficient or perfunctory audits.” So any Russian electoral interference would be unlikely to be prevented at the front end or detected at the back end. The House has passed multiple bills to assure election security in advance of the 2020 Presidential election; all are being bottled up in the Senate by Senator Mitch McConnell, who is blocking consideration of multiple Senate bills to assure 2020 Presidential election security as well. https://www.apnews.com/693436f36ca04995bf66f07bd4d7b4e4
Prepared by: Lucien Wulsin