I have been trying to get time off of the phone to answer many of the good questions that have been out there on the net about the Clint Curtis / Tom Feeney / Yang (YEI) / FDOT story. To put together a FAQ, if you will, since much of the speculation or attempts to debunk it that I've seen are very easily answerable by hard evidence.
There is much misinformation out there, and as I'm a primary source for much of the info that is out there --- having broken the story of Curtis' affidavit and having spent many hours interviewing him and others related --- I thought it would be wise to answer here to many of those questions.
I have been preparing a post on exactly that and hope to post it shortly.
However, since so many have sent me the Bev Harris (of BlackBoxVoting.org) article on her skeptical view of Curtis' claims, and it her article seems to contain so much misinformation, I thought it important to answer her questions immediately before their basis becomes "lore".
For the record, a perusal of the The BRAD BLOG (if you can get to it now, I can't) will show that I have been a supporter of Harris' efforts from very early on in all of this. I fervently support her continuing fraud investigations in Florida and elsewhere. I mean no disrespect in answering to some of her questions and suggestions, but it appears she may be working from a number of very incorrect assumptions about Curtis' claims.
That may be due to the fact that she is very busy, or --- more likely --- she is working off of some of the information that Wayne Madsen had posted in an article partly covering these issues.
One of the reasons I released my story when I did --- slightly earlier than I would have liked --- was because of Madsen's article which tied in a number of unevidenced wide-reaching elements to into the Curtis/Feeney/Yang story which --- all by itself --- had some very good and hard evidence to look into!
I was concerned that folks might confuse Curtis' story with the broader picture Madsen was painting, and I have seen no supporting evidence to suggest that the two stories are in any way related. Not to say they aren't. I just have seen nothing to suggest they are.
As well, I have never heard Curtis speak of the broader Bush Family / CIA stuff that Madsen attaches Curtis' story too. And there is no reference to any of it in Curtis' sworn affidavit.
So far, I have been unable to find any disparities in Curtis' story, or evidence that he is not telling the truth. Again, not to say it's not out there. I just haven't found it. And believe me, I have been looking!
Harris is correct in taking Madsen to task as well for his implications that Curtis' story is in anyway "proof" that voting-machines in Election 2004 (or any prior to it!) have been rigged! That is not what Curtis has claimed in his affidavit or to me.
As well, I have defended previous claims made against Madsen, to a certain extent , in a previous BRAD BLOG article. Inasmuch as the charges Kieth Olbermann had made, attacking him for not having made direct contact with "the primary object of his reporting". The issue on which I defended Madsen was that Olbermann himself hadn't bothered to check in with Madsen --- the primary object of his reporting --- for reply. Not crack journalism when one is accusing someone of doing same. I checked with Madsen however, and while some of his claims I still had trouble with, I believe that Madsen would have had answers to many of the questions Olbermann had asked in his article.
So I am taking no sides here! I am only trying to clear up the facts of the case.
But there are many facts that Harris seems to simply have wrong about Curtis' story --- wherever she may have gotten them from.
It does not seem as if she read my report on Curtis' claims, and I would strong suggest she do so. That report can now be found here on BRAD BLOG TOO since the original version is so hard to get to because of heavy traffic over there.
I will italicize her text, and include my replies to them below in regard to what I know, and in hopes of clearing some of the air in --- and the facts of --- the issues she raises...
BH: One of the most significant problems is that, while Clint Curtis describes a technique of writing a program, he never mentions HOW he supposedly got this program into the voting machines.
He never mentions "HOW he supposedly got this program into the voting machines", because Curtis has not claimed in his sworn affidavit --- or in hours of interviews with me --- that the program was ever placed into voting machines!
The claims in his affidavit --- and which he made to me --- claim only that he was asked by Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) to write a prototype or demo for such a program. He claims that he did so, and gave it to his boss at Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI), Mrs. Yang. And that is it.
BH: A second significant problem is that several of the Florida counties used different software in 2000 than they do now, and that various Florida counties use different manufacturers and different systems. Writing one program that would tamper with ES&S punch cards and Diebold optical scans at the same time is somewhat unrealistic.
Again, since Curtis didn't make the claim that his program was ever used in voting machines at all, Harris' point about the different types of machines one would have to write programs for isn't germaine for now.
BH: Clint Curtis says Feeney himself had meeting after meeting to directly discuss election rigging software. Could happen, certainly, but this seems unusual.
Curtis' affidavit speaks of only one meeting concerning "election rigging software". The other meetings that Harris may be referring to is where Curtis charges that Feeney had discussed plans for vote suppression and other tacticts in use, or planned, for the 2000 election.
BH: The author says that it will be difficult to write a program that will escape notice if the source code is examined. That's not quite true.
Writing a trigger into a program can involve a very small amount of code and there are several ways to do it. The idea is you write a very simple, hard to detect trigger with as little code as possible --- or you comment the code such that it looks like it is there for another purpose.
Curtis claims in the affidavit that he told Feeney in the October 2000 meeting that it [emphasis mine] "is virtually impossible to hide such code written to change the voting results if anyone is able to review the uncompiled source code."
I believe Harris would agree with that statement.
Her point seems to be that there are tricky ways to minimize or disguise the code so hopefully it doesn't get noticed if someone inspects the source code. However close inspection of such source code as she and Computer Expert Avi Rubin have themselves demonstrated make it very difficult for anything to be truly invisible when source code is closely inspected.
Curtis claims that it was the fact that he thought such a program could never be used --- since the code would likely be discovered --- that he didn't give much thought to the election-rigging issue, and was far more troubled by the various acts of espionage that he had witnessed at YEI.
He told me that it was not until a story last summer on CNN which mentioned that source code for electronic voting machines was not being inspected --- and was instead being given to states already-compiled in the machines --- that he sat up, took notice, and recalled what he claims that Feeney had asked him about in October of 2000.
None the less, Harris' main point about being able to minimize or disguise the code so it may not get noticed is valid and I agree with her. Particularly since so much of the E-Voting machines do not have their source code inspected before being installed. As well, I believe that statements from Curtis would seem to concur rather than dispute her on that point.
BH: Why write a whole software program anyway? You can do what needs to be done with a VBA script, which never goes through certification, never gets compiled, and enters the system like a virus. The program described by the author is not a VBA script, but a compiled software program.
A "whole software program" is what Curtis claims to have written, as a "demo", at the direction of his boss at YEI. If there is/was a better way to have done it at the time, he seems not to have come up with it. At least he has never discussed such an option with me, or in his affidavit.
I don't doubt there may be better ways to "hack the vote" than what Curtis claims to have done. The fact that Curtis doesn't seem to have come up with one is not, on it's own, evidence of his story being untrue. (Mind you, there is also not a lot of evidence to show that his story is true either --- at least in regard to the vote-rigging program incident. It is, in fact, the depth of evidence for virtually all of his other claims which are very well document in a years-long paper trail, along with his willingness to put the vote-rigging allegation into a sworn affidavit which give --- in at least my opinion --- his allegations enough weight that they warrant further serious investigation.)
BH: The originator of the story, Clint, says he has filed a "QUITAM" whistleblower suit, that is "pending." This is one of the least credible parts of the story. First, he doesn't spell it correctly. The correct spelling is two words, "Qui Tam." Next, Qui Tam cases MUST be filed under seal. If a Qui Tam is filed in Florida, both the evidence and the existence of the case must be sealed, and only the Florida Attorney General can unseal it.
The issue of the "QUITAM" or "Qui Tam" is one that, due to the pending publication of Madsen's article, as I mentioned in my original story, I was unable to look into as much as I might have liked.
Therefore, and since I am not a legal expert either, I can't speak to Harris' claims here, and I'd encourage others who can, to do so and see what might be made of them.
Harris finishes then with these three questions...
BH: To develop a more credible story, we'd like to see answers for the following:
1. How the program got into the machine. Not "theoretically" how it got in, but how Clint Curtis says he got it in there.
2. What systems were used (which manufacturers, and were they punch card, optical scan or touch screen) in each of the counties, during each of the years this manipulation supposedly occurred.
3. What's the deal on the Qui Tam, and how is he getting around the sealing of the case?
1. Curtis never made any such claim that "the program got into the machine". At least not to me in hours of interviews, or in his sworn affidavit. If Madsen reported that he did, I will let Madsen speak to that.
2. See answer 1 above in regards to this question. Same applies here in regards to the idea that any "systems were used".
3. As mentioned above, I cannot speak to that one, and hope that Harris' suggestion will be investigated and answered to.
I hope that this article can serve to clear up a good portion of Harris' concerns. At least in regards to Curtis' actual sworn story, which is a great deal different from the broader charges that Madsen has attached to them.
I'll be happy to answer any further questions Harris may have if she wishes to contact me via email. I will happily give her my phone number in return.
As I had feared, much of the confusion no doubt comes from unnaturally cross-pollenating Curtis' claims with Madsen's. I hope that Ms. Harris will take the time to look into the claims that Curtis' is making by himself. Those claims are serious and demand investigation (which they are now getting).
I'd hate to see a potentially "good" story get overlooked because of bad or unsupported information that may gotten attached to it by others --- or see the original story become misinterpreted because of it.
I would be happy if those in the blogosphere would direct Ms. Harris' attention to this article since I personally have no direct contact with her at this time, and I wish her continued luck in her personal investigation on behalf of BlackBoxVoting.org
UPDATE 12/10/04: Ms. Harris has now received and read my response above. Thanks for those of you who helped draw her attention to both it and my original story on Curtis. For more details on her response, and our joint appearance this morning on the Alex Jones radio show, please see this post.
UPDATE 12/11/04: Bev Harris' promised update/clarification/retraction mentioned in the story linked above is now posted at her site here. The BRAD BLOG wishes to thank her for her thorough reply to our response to her original concerns, and we will investigate the additional items she mentions in her update over the weekend.
Comments left by readers on the original article can be read at the above link.]
The Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises Vote-Rigging Scandal series, please see:
- A Quick Summary of the story so far. -
- An Index of all the Key Articles & Evidence in the series so far.