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.