Investigation Shows Governor's Claims That Democrats Tried To Hack The Georgia Election Were Bullshit

from the another-unforced-error-by-Brian-Kemp dept

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is very involved with the electorate. Well, perhaps not that involved with the residents of the state, but he does seem to keep a very close — and very partisan — eye on election security. Election security is important, especially as more states move to electronic ballots, but Kemp has spent most of the last four years using election security as a political football to score points with.

When President Obama was still leading the nation, Kemp (while still Georgia’s Secretary of State) claimed the DHS had breached his office’s firewall during its security testing — something he had directly asked it not to do. Kemp claimed his state had already implemented the DHS’s recommendations and had asked to be left out of this nationwide testing. The DHS apparently ignored that, resulting in Kemp making lots of noise about an overreaching federal agency.

Kemp’s tune changed once Trump was elected. While running for the job of governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams, Kemp — a Republican — generated a lot of bad press for himself by allegedly engaging in voter suppression efforts. He capped this off with a bad judgment two-fer.

First, he insisted the Democratic Party was trying to hack the voter registration system. The only evidence Kemp had for this is that a hacking attempt had been made. He responded to this by opening an investigation into the Democratic Party based on apparently nothing more than his animosity towards it. This was capped off a few days later when Kemp released a ton of absentee voting info, including names, addresses, and the reason they voted absentee.

Two years later, ProPublica — using documents obtained from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) — has published the investigation’s findings. No surprise, GBI’s conclusions don’t agree with Kemp’s baseless and partisan assertions.

“The investigation by the GBI revealed no evidence of damage to (the secretary of state’s office’s) network or computers, and no evidence of theft, damage, or loss of data,” according to a March 2 memo from a senior assistant attorney general recommending that the case be closed.

Unlike Kemp’s 2016 assertion about DHS meddling (which was later shown to be routine checks of the state’s firearm database by law enforcement) where it wasn’t asked to, the alleged “failed hacking attempt” seen by Brian Kemp’s office was actually the DHS doing something the state had asked it to do.

The internet activity that Kemp’s staff described as hacking attempts was actually scans by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that the secretary of state’s office had agreed to, according to the GBI. Kemp’s chief information officer signed off on the DHS scans three months beforehand.

Kemp continues to be wrong about election security — something that only seems to concern him when it can be leveraged to (incorrectly in every case) target political opponents. The state’s election system still has security issues. The article points out the site where voters can check their information still contains a “significant vulnerability” that Kemp has been notified of, but refused to acknowledge.

All the bluster worked, though. Kemp was elected governor in 2018 and now has an even bigger platform to be wrong about election security issues. And he — and his former office — were completely wrong about this one. The other alleged hacking his office thought it was witnessing — other than the DHS’s pentest traffic — was nothing more than someone doing what anyone could do: altering site URLs to view other voters’ data.

That’s not hacking. That’s what anyone who knows how websites work can do at any time with zero skill or additional tools. And from that, an entire conspiracy theory was erected by Kemp’s office, resulting in thousands of tax dollars being wasted to pursue Kemp’s politically motivated accusations. There’s some hackery going on here, but it’s only of the partisan variety.

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Comments on “Investigation Shows Governor's Claims That Democrats Tried To Hack The Georgia Election Were Bullshit”

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This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Bloof (profile) says:

They knew that any electoral interference would likely benefit republicans, either by changing votes to benefit them, or cocking up so badly it would make it easier to justify future voter suppression efforts. By screeching partisan interference, he had an excuse to do nothing and a could make a baseless smear on his opponents, because that’s all the republicans have, taxcuts and smears.

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Rocky says:

Re: You got the metrics wrong

If you look at statistics going back to the 70’s, it seems that the Republican administrations have 89 times more people (current administration not included) being convicted in court compared to the Democratic administrations.

From those statistics we can only draw the conclusion that Republicans are vastly more likely to behave like organized crime.

Now, scamper off so the adults can have a conversation.

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Bloof (profile) says:

Re: Democrats are organized crime

Hmm, wonder which party had a president resign because they were caught bugging democrats? Wonder which side of the aisle groups like Project Veritas belong to, you know, the group who have been caught doing things like trying to bug the offices of Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu? Wonder which current Republican president has donated money to said group through their now defunct scam charity? I wonder which current Republican president’s charity was dissolved after it was revealed they were illegally using charitable donations for their own personal and political gain? I wonder which current Republican president has spent the past three years cosying up to dictators and criminals while alienating the democratic world? I wonder which current Republican president has called for foreign powers to hack and investigate his rivals?

So many mysteries we’ll never know the answers to unless we actually pay attention to reality… Damn those corrupt democrats for corrupting reality against Republicans! Damn them to heck!

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

The truth does not matter.
All that matters is saying something happened & our foes did it.

Democrats are trying to stuff the ballot box gives great cover to the base who refuses to believe the only people arrested & charges for voter fraud were Trump supporters.

This is suppressing the vote on a huge scale to keep themselves in power. If we closed polling places in red districts like they do in blue ones they would scream bloody murder, but its okay if they do it.

What a waste of a Republic… glad to see their savior finally decided to destroy it.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Toom1275 (profile) says:

Note: This is also the Kemp whose election officials deliberately destroyed hard drives containing evidence of how badly the election software was hacked days after being served.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/10/days-after-activists-sued-georgias-election-server-was-wiped-clean/?comments=1

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/01/a-georgia-election-server-was-vulnerable-to-shellshock-and-may-have-been-hacked/

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Anonymous Coward says:

Trump has twice based his election propaganda on the rallying cry
of law-and-order. This has led to a national reorganization of police forces,
greater police use of advanced counterinsurgency technology developed for
Vietnam, and greater centralization of police forces thru computers, training
and coordinating groups like LEA A.

Anti-crime legislation mobilizes racist fears in the white population.
It has been successful enough to undo many gains of the previous two
decades: to initiate preventive detention, undermine the jury system and put
into effect new mandatory death penalties. Two models are the special
police crackdown unit used in Detroit, called STRESS, which was
responsible for the murder of many Black people; and the new Rockefeller
drug law, which forces legal addiction by giving people a "choice" between
long prison sentences and lifetime parole, or mandatory methadone
maintenance.

If we do not create an anti-racist left, the masses of white people
being bombarded with these measures have little alternative but to resolve
these fears and these conflicts the traditional way —in complicity with
racism.

Oh wait, this is 1967, right? Am I lost again? Time travel is so exhausting.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Wrong party, but still...

When Republicans cry wolf about Democrats doing something abhorrent, it’s a good indicator that the Republicans themselves are the ones doing that thing.

It’s such a persistent pattern that I’m half-convinced that Trump is a secret Muslim born in Kenya.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Wrong party, but still...

"It’s such a persistent pattern that I’m half-convinced that Trump is a secret Muslim born in Kenya."

"His orange skin is the result of makeup to hide the fact he’s actually black" actually sounds about as convincing as the hypothesis that the unhealthy shade of sun-dried wrinkly orange would somehow be natural.

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