Cheryl Cook: How Vladimir votes
Clear the room. I have a disturbing theory. It has to do with how Donald Trump may have defied the national election polls by defeating Hillary Clinton in the last election by a very small margin.
Turns out you don’t need a fake voter ID to vote illegally.
President Obama alerted the media to Russian cyber attacks one month prior to the election on Oct. 7, 2016. The media covered the story from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Then the Trump Access Hollywood tape was suddenly leaked with the voice of candidate Trump bragging about his sexual assaults on women.
Less than one hour later, WikiLeaks published more than 2,000 emails from the Clinton campaign with all the synchronized subtlety of a 400-pound hacker wearing a bear-skin cap and holding a bottle of STOLI falling out of his fur-lined bed and spilling Beluga caviar all over the bearskin rug.
In the summer of 2016, the Obama administration realized the paw of the Russian hacker bears was more far-reaching than dumping hacked data and tossing around fake stories about Clinton. It made a political mess, but wasn’t enough to satisfy Putin Bear.
Putin’s hacker units under the code names of Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear had begun probing the voting infrastructure in several states.
The voting infrastructure!
Russians efforts to interfere in the 2016 election were more far reaching than publicly revealed. It included intrusions into voter databases and electronic voting machine software systems in almost twice as many states as previously reported.
In recent times, sites have converted to electronic voting machines, and even internet voting. Both systems are not secure and vulnerable to attack. Electronic voting machines are vulnerable because most have no backup paper trail in case of a compromised breach.
Hackers have publicly demonstrated how these electronic voting machines can be penetrated. But without paper verification, there is no evidence that there was Russian manipulation of voting machine tabulations, for example, in Michigan where Trump won by a .03 percent margin or in New Hampshire with a .04 percent margin.
In March of this year, Secretary of Homeland Security Nielsen warned the Senate Intelligence Committee, “We recognize the 2018 mid-term and future elections are clearly potential targets for Russian hacking attempts.”
She conceded hacking of electronic data was “absolutely a national security issue” and without backup paper ballots, there was no way to audit an election.
Nielsen said DHS was working with state and local authorities to ensure the integrity of election infrastructure. But in a swing state like Pennsylvania, where Trump won by a mere 1.2 percent of the vote in 2016, 50 out of 67 counties still use machines with no paper audits.
On Aug. 2, national Intel officials met with the president for under an hour and held a news conference.
Nielsen said, “Democracy is in the cross fires.”
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said, “We are doing everything we can to have a legitimate election.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray said, “The scope of this foreign threat is broad and deep.”
What did President Trump say?
“I have spoken with Mr. Putin regarding the overwhelming evidence from our U.S. intelligence services that Russian hackers interfered in our last election. I have asked him to prevent it from happening again. I assured him that the United States will take swift and serious action if there is interference in any future American election.”
He said, “Fake, fake disgusting news who report on the Russian hoax.”
At a rally in Pennsylvania, four hours after meeting with Intel officers, Trump threw air punches and said Democrats wanted him to have a boxing match with Putin. Then he assaulted the FBI with a left jab. He took out the free press with a right hook, and sucker-punched his own cabinet members with whom he had just met by dismissing their briefing and calling the Mueller investigation a “Russian hoax.”
Why would a president want to give aid and comfort to the enemy that attacked our democracy and not reassure the American voter? Why would he want to defend the man responsible for ordering the cyber attacks and not defend our free and fair elections?
At the news conference, Dan Coats warned of the continuing and pervasive Russian messaging campaign that seeks to weaken and divide the country. Then President Trump repeated his continuing and pervasive campaign of weakening and dividing this country at the Pennsylvania rally.
Trump’s message directly conflicts with the following: Secretary of Homeland Security. Director of National Intelligence. Director of the FBI. National Security Advisor, and Commander, U.S. Cyber Command and Director, National Security Agency/Chief, Security Service.
All are Republicans who serve this country.
We need to return to election systems secure from outside manipulation and insure a legitimate election result. This means paper ballots or voting machines with voter verified paper audit trails. No internet voting.
In the meantime, this president needs to refrain from interfering and obstructing the course of a very important investigation.
Those leaders with moral strength and deep belief in our institutions and laws will be the ones to lead us through any and all findings that result from the Special Counsel’s investigation.
If Goldilocks got into bed with Putin Bear and conspired against the United States to defraud our democratic right to a free and fair election, ‘We the People’ have the right to know.
Cheryl Cook lives in Penn Valley.
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