Monday, December 06, 2004

The Smoking Code? 

Via Zemblan patriots K.Z. and J.D.: Stories that seem too good to be true usually aren't, and so we suggest that you proceed with all due skepticism through the following item. But for what it's worth, John Byrne of Raw Story is reporting that Clinton Curtis, an ex-programmer for a NASA contractor in Florida, has filed a sworn affidavit in which he claims to have developed an "undetectable" vote-rigging program at the behest of a former state representative from Volusia County:
While working for Yang Enterprises in Florida, the 46-year-old programmer says he was instructed by then-Republican state representative Tom Feeney to “develop a prototype of a voting program that could alter the vote tabulation in the election and be undetectable.”

Feeney, a former failed running mate of Gov. Jeb Bush, is now represents Florida’s 24th district in the House of Representatives. At the time, he was serving both as general counsel and lobbyist for Yang Enterprises and the Florida state congressman.

Feeney’s office in Orlando told RAW STORY they would check with the congressman and hoped to provide comment later today.

The programmer, Clinton Curtis, said that he was told the program needed to be “touch-screen capable, the user should be able to trigger the program without any additional equipment, [and that] the programming was to remain hidden even if the source code was inspected.”

Curtis asserts that he told Feeney it would be nearly impossible to write a code to change the voting results if anyone were able to view the source code.

“However,” he added, “if the code were compiled before anyone was allowed to review it then any vote fraud would remain invisible to detection.”
Raw Story's information originated at Brad Friedman's The Brad Blog. That site appears to be down temporarily, owing to excessive traffic, but we managed to pull a few excerpts before it went offline:
Curtis says that Feeney "was very specific in the design and specifications required for this program."

"He detailed, in his own words, that; (a) the program needed to be touch-screen capable (b) the user should be able to trigger the program without any additional equipment (c) the programming to accomplish this needed to stay hidden even if the source code was inspected."

Though there was no problem with the first two requirements, Curtis explained to the Congressman that it would be "virtually impossible to hide such code written to change the voting results if anyone is able to review the uncompiled source code"

Nonetheless, he was asked at the meeting by Mrs. Yang to build the prototype anyway.

Curtis, "a life-long Republican" at the time, claims that it was his initial belief that Feeney's interest was in trying to stop Democrats from using "such a program to steal an election". Curtis had assumed that Feeney, "wanted to be able to detect and prevent that if it occurred."

Upon delivery of the software design and documentation on CD to Mrs. Yang, Curtis again explained to her that it would be impossible to hide routines created to manipulate the vote if anybody would be able to inspect the precompiled source code.

Mrs. Yang then told him, "You don’t understand, in order to get the contract we have to hide the manipulation in the source code. This program is needed to control the vote in South Florida" [emphasis in affidavit] . . . .

In May of 2001, while at FDOT, Curtis and another FDOT employee, Mavis Georgalis, discovered and then reported several allegations to the Inspector General at FDOT concerning over-billing by YEI -- who had been an FDOT contractor -- and software that was never delivered by the company. Allegations also included the employment of a suspected illegal alien, Mr. Hai Lin Nee, who worked as YEI's "quality control" manager.

Both Curtis and Georgalis were reportedly harassed after filing their complaints about malfeasance at YEI and pressure mounted on the FDOT -- purportedly from the powerful Feeney who was still working with YEI -- to have them both fired . . . .

In April of 2002 -- on the very same day -- Curtis and Georgalis were both fired by FDOT without explanation.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported extensively in 2002 on the case. They reported at the time that Curtis had written to the Inspector General at FDOT to inquire why no investigation had yet been made into YEI. As well, Curtis had contacted the Florida Bar, since Feeney was a member, to inform them that "Feeney has used his position to promote the profits of Yang Enterprises, from whom he received compensation under the guise of lobbyist and attorney" . . . .

Curtis discussed in detail, during our interviews, Mr. Nee having placed "wiretapping modules" into software code created by the company. The secret "wiretapping modules", Curtis claims, were to download information from programs built by YEI for contractors, and then either copy or send that information via Email back to YEI. Such software, Curtis claims, was created for companies such as NASA with whom YEI held substantial contracts.
Some of Curtis's allegations have also been covered in a long piece by Wayne Madsen that appeared last night at Online Journal. The Madsen imprimatur, you should know by now, is no guarantee of the story's veracity, and The Brad Blog offers the following caveat:
While Madsen's article was independently researched and reported -- and offers some very good detail in relation to Curtis, YEI, FDOT and Feeney, much of which that we can confirm -- he then ties those stories to a much grander CIA/Bush family conspiracy.

While we have looked somewhat cursorily over the last several weeks into some of the larger matters which Madsen discusses, and has been reporting on for some time, we cannot confirm any of those grander details as playing any part in this particular story. While his claims may be true, The BRAD BLOG has seen no evidence to support them as being related to the Curtis story at this time.

Frankly, we find the information related in Curtis' sworn affidavit, and via our interviews with him and others directly related to his story to be rather stunning as is, and we will stand by our reporting of those matters at this time.

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