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Elections & Voting Last Updated: Jan 11th, 2006 - 02:28:03

Did the NSA help Bush hack the vote?
By Bob Fitrakis
Online Journal Guest Writer

Jan 11, 2006, 02:26

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What do we make of the president boldly proclaiming that he has "spy powers?" Does he have X-ray vision too?

When he and his cronies crawl up into Cheney's bunker with the sign on the door "He-man Woman-haters Club. No Girls Allowed (except Condi)," do they synchronize their spy decoder rings and decide what new absurd folly to unleash on the world?

Illegal invasion of Iraq, suspending writs of habeus corpus, secret CIA torture dungeons, or election rigging? Most people outgrow such childish games and fantasies by the time they're 10 years old. And by age 12, most understand that the president is not a king. Or a dictator. That U.S. citizens have inalienable rights.

That there are such things as search warrants. If the executive branch of government is going to conduct surveillance on the American people, they have to get a warrant from the judicial branch specifying what they're looking for and the reasons for the search.

The Bush administration's utter contempt for the U.S. Constitution and the specific information we now know about its use of the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance network should further call into question Bush's 2004 presidential "election." In a recent revelation, we have learned that the NSA shared the fruits of its illegal spying on behalf of Bush with other government agencies.

What are e-voting machines and central tabulators that pass the voting results over electronic networks from the Internet to phone lines? No more than data easily spied on and tapped into. The Franklin County Board of Elections, for example, tells us that it was a "transmission error" in Gahanna Ward 1B, where 638 people cast votes and Bush, the Wonder Boy, received 4,258 votes. It's not magic, nor is it an accident or an act of God. If the vote total wasn't so hugely illogical, no one would have caught it.

Bush and his cabal are notorious for collecting raw intelligence data and using it for their political gain. While many progressives accept the fact that our government manufactured an illegal war in Iraq and routinely violates human rights worldwide, many are reluctant to accept that they would spy on John Kerry and rig the election -- which is very easy to do when the NSA does your bidding.

What part of the headline in the Columbus Dispatch: "Diebold vote machine can be hacked, test finds" don't people understand? The electronic hacking and monitoring of votes by U.S. intelligence agencies has a long history, from mainframe computers in the 70s and 80s to DREs in the 80s and 90s. In fact, W.'s father appears to be one of the first beneficiaries of e-voting fraud with his victory over Bob Dole in the 1988 New Hampshire primary.

Most voting rights advocates are well aware of Al Gore's infamous loss of 16,000 votes in the 2004 Florida presidential election, which allowed Bush's cousin at Fox News to call the election for Dubya. How do we explain the bizarre "rob georgia" Diebold file that Bev Harris of Black Box Voting found on the Internet after the stunning upset of Senator Max Cleland of Georgia.

The recent revelations about hacking of Diebold voting machines and the findings of the General Accountability Office as to the insecurity of the e-voting networks cannot be separated from the president's criminal use of the NSA to spy on American citizens. As much as we rejoice in the resignation of Diebold CEO Walden O'Dell and the pending lawsuits by shareholders against Diebold, it should not obscure the massive continued potential to hack the vote.

Both Popular Science and Popular Mechanics magazines ran November 2004 cover stories on how easy it is to hack the e-voting machines and their communication networks. In one famous cartoon, a teenage hacker was announced as the president.

This is precisely the type of game George W. and his He-man authoritarian boy's club would engage in. Recently, Professor Steve Freeman of the University of Pennsylvania spoke at a New York election reform forum and told the audience that a third of the Kerry voters who showed up in exit polls in rural Republican-dominated areas simply don't show up in the actual vote tally. Not just in Ohio, but throughout the nation.

Would a president who believes he has spy powers, the right to torture, the ability to wage illegal wars based on bogus, manufactured intelligence reports, simply refuse to spy on Kerry and rig an election electronically? In Ohio, two burglaries occurred against the Democratic Party in Lucas County and Franklin County, just prior to the 2004 election, involving computer theft.

Congress must investigate whether Bush used the NSA for partisan political gain during the 2004 election, and whether any NSA Bush operatives or other members of the security-industrial complex had access to e-voting machines, central tabulators or the communication lines that delivered the voting results.

Bob Fitrakis is the co-editor of Did George W. Bush Steal America's 2004 Election? with Harvey Wasserman and co-counsel with Cliff Arnebeck in the Alliance for Democracy suit against the Hocking County Board of Elections.

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