Lindell v. Dominion/Smartmatic: Exhibits Breakdown Part 3

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  • Source: UncoverDC
  • 09/19/2023

This article breaks down Exhibit 8 and Exhibit 9 in the Lindell v. Dominion / Smartmatic case filed on June 3, 2021. In Part 1, we summarized Exhibits 1-4. In Part 2, we looked at Exhibits 5-7. We also published a separate article with a focus on Exhibit 12.

Exhibit 8: Report on Election Security from Pelosi Task Force

Exhibit 8 is a January 2018 report by the Congressional Task Force on Election Security then co-chaired by Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi and Robert Brady of Pennsylvania, joined by Representatives Zoe Lofgren of California, James R. Langevin of Rhode Island, Cedric L. Richmond of Louisiana, and Val Demings of Florida. The task force was "established to serve as a forum for Members from the House Administration and House Homeland Security Committees to engage with election stakeholders as well as cybersecurity and election infrastructure experts to ensure the health and security of our nation’s election systems" by House Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi along with Thompson and Brady.

The document summarizes a six month period of time when the Task Force met with "over twenty experts and stakeholders" and "state election officials and former national security officials," during which it says its members "identified policy recommendations to fortify our election systems, guard against future attacks, and restore voter confidence in our democratic institutions." The first sentence in the report states:

"The Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election called for swift and robust action by the United States government. While the Obama Administration acted with great urgency and determination to assess and address the Russian attacks on the 2016 U.S. election, the Trump Administration and Republican Members of Congress still refuse—a year later—to pursue the facts and defend our democracy."

The 'Executive Summary' portion of the report describes a "massive Russian cyber-enabled influence operation" that necessitated the formation of the Task Force and that Russian agents hacked then leaked sensitive information through "third-party intermediaries like WikiLeaks." It also claims that "Russia targeted voting systems in at least 21 states and sought to infiltrate the networks of voting equipment vendors, political parties, and at least one local election board." It says:

"The Kremlin spread misinformation and disinformation to the American electorate through more than 1,000 YouTube videos, 130,000 tweets, and 80,000 Facebook posts. The latter were viewed by approximately 126 million people on Facebook platforms alone."

Support for the claims of Russian interference rests largely on an Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) report from 2017. It is a "declassified version of a highly classified assessment" that tells public domain readers, "The Intelligence Community rarely can publicly reveal the full extent of its knowledge" to avoid revealing "sensitive sources or methods [that] imperil the ability to collect critical foreign intelligence in the future." The report goes to states, "the declassified report does not and cannot include the full supporting information, including specific intelligence and sources and methods."

The report drew from Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence information. It did not assess the impact of interference but instead assessed that "Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump's election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him." The report adds that all three agencies agree, stating, "CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence."

The Exhibit 8 Task Force report mentions North Korea, Iran, and China as having cyber espionage ability and incentive. It gives an overview of how elections are conducted in the United States, including the role of various State and Federal agencies in their administration.

One such agency is the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS). As this report points out, DHS was said to be created to defend against "invisible enemies that can strike with a wide variety of weapons” and to form “a single, unified homeland security structure." It explains, "The Homeland Security Act of 2002 established the Department of Homeland Security, in part, to centralize national efforts to harden the defenses of vulnerable U.S. infrastructure and assets that could be exploited by our enemies and to help create a robust information sharing environment to remedy the shortfalls exposed in the 9/11 attacks."

On January 6, 2017, Secretary of DHS Jeh Johnson designated U.S. election systems as Critical Infrastructure, which is the same day the ODNI released the election interference assessment. The Task Force report reviews the implications of that designation and discusses DHS's role in U.S. elections. It describes the landscape of information sharing through platforms under the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), such as the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) of the National Cybersecurity Communications and Integration Center (NCCIC). It also discusses access to priority government programs and services granted to "owners and operators" of critical infrastructure, such as cyber hygiene scans for Internet-facing systems by DHS. These programs and services have privileges such as protection from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests involving information considered to be about critical infrastructure vulnerability or deemed to be Protected Critical Infrastructure Information (PCII).

The report concludes that the election infrastructure in the United States is vulnerable, pointing out that "Forty-two states are using voting machines purchased more than ten years ago." It continues, "many of these aging machines are running unsupported software," and "many voting machines contain software or hardware that could be used to connect to the internet" or "use removable memory cards" that could be infected with malware to "crash a machine or alter vote totals." It notes that "20% of voters are casting their ballots on machines that do not have any paper backup," voter databases are at risk of exposure to hackers, and that 17 states do not require post-election audits of paper records.

Multiple vulnerability claims rest upon references from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University (NYU) School of Law, who is listed as having been available for on-site meetings and briefings for the Task Force and calls itself a "nonpartisan law and policy institute" that is "part think tank, part advocacy group, part cutting-edge communications hub." The Brennan Center has produced policy reports about elections and equipment, including June 2017 Securing Elections From Foreign Interference and 2015 America's Voting Machines at Risk, which is the document that is Exhibit 9 in Lindell's lawsuit.

To resolve what it calls National Security issues in Critical Infrastructure, the report in this exhibit recommends federal funds be disbursed to states to replace aging and vulnerable voting machines with paper ballots. It says replacing all Direct-Recording Electronic (DRE) machines is the "most urgent need." These are the machines that are typically touchscreen displays, record to memory devices, and produce post-election tabulations. Such machines include the Diebold AccuVote-TS and the Dominion ImageCast X systems in Exhibits 1-3.

Thus Exhibit 8 uses a report created during the Trump administration by a Task Force created by Nancy Pelosi and comprised of House Democrats to support Plaintiff's claims in the case.

Exhibit 9: Voting Machine Vulnerability Report from Soros Funded Brennan Center

Exhibit 9 is a 2015 report produced by the Brennan Center titled America's Voting Machines at Risk. The report acknowledges recognizable groups and individuals for their "generous support," including the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, who are primary donors to Public Broadcasting (PBS) in the U.S., George Soros' Open Society Foundations, and singer, actress, filmmaker Barbra Streisand.

The report also acknowledges that it "benefited from the review and insights of experts and advocates," including individuals from Verified Voting, Common Cause, Pew Charitable Trusts, the Open Source Election Technology Foundation, the Bipartisan Policy Center, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), and from several major universities.

The report outlines the dangers and vulnerabilities of antiquated election machines and extensively documents recent failures of elections that use them. The report concludes that funding to replace these old machines with new ones is essential, along with precautionary steps for jurisdictions that cannot purchase them. It provides contextual information for policy decisions on federal and local levels, including negotiating contracts for the new machines as well as recommended election administration best practices such as testing, maintenance, and contingency plans in the event of emergencies. It recommends reducing redundancies between State and Federal machine certification programs, reducing the cost and time of those certifications, and completely updating the federal guidelines for voting machines.

"Ultimately, if we are to avoid a new technology crisis every decade, all levels of government — federal, state, and local — must work to ensure that we develop long-term plans and sources of funding to support and regularly update our voting infrastructure, just as we budget and plan to maintain (and periodically replace) other critical infrastructure, from roads and bridges to fire trucks and police cars."

Thus Exhibit 9 uses a report funded and informed by individuals and groups across the political spectrum, including George Soros, in support of Lindell's claims against Dominion.

The next article in this series will summarize the remainder of the 17 exhibits in the Lindell v Dominion case.

*This article has been updated with exhibit titles.

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