Re-Counts and Forensics in 2016
Since the election I have taken a break from the insanity as much as I could. I blocked off Trump on Twitter but he keeps leaking through the blocks anyway. I have been reading though on the usual source sites like the New York Times and other news sites and with each day I am seeing the utter unravelling of America. Thinking about it though I have to wonder if the unravelling happened long ago and this is all just an echo of the failure finally reaching us all like a radio wave from a distant dying pulsar…
Anyway, I wanted to write today about the current debacle concerning the vote and the calls for an audit of that vote. Since the Green’s have gotten the ball rolling and the Clinton camp finally agreed to look at the vote it seems to be happening and that is a good thing. In an election where blatant tampering through hacking and information operations (DISINFO and IFO-OPS) by the Russian state one can have some sense that perhaps the same adversaries ‘might’ have tampered with the actual votes as well. Now, had it been just troll propaganda wars I might say; “Ok we have been played, they did it, we lost because we as a people are unable to comprehend real news from fake news” but that is not all that happened here. We saw actual hacking campaigns carried out on our voting infrastructure and one of the parties outright and still no one is clamouring for a re-count AND an audit of the systems that are already known to be security challenged?
It is incomprehensible to me at times how our government works at all. The group think and the lackadaisical attitudes towards information security are staggering but this whole episode takes the cake. You mean to tell me that the DHS and the government, the ones who brought us the OPM hack and other massive data breaches are going to tell us that the vote could not have been hacked and it is silly to even consider a forensic audit? This is what I keep hearing in the media and out of the government as calls for the votes to be re-counted and audited. It is also what I am hearing post Halderman’s paper and blog post that says: “I’m not saying the vote was hacked but there is evidence enough to say maybe we should look into it” What the fuck? We know things went down so why all the reticence to check?
Well let’s look at it another way shall we? let’s say the government, ya know the one who keeps claiming we have “cyber superiority” in fact is shown to have such a poor state of security (like OPM isn’t enough to cast doubt on that one) that the election systems, the ones that the security community has been warning about as insecure for years now, was in fact manipulated as part of a larger operation to fix the election for Putins puppet regime? What exactly would the outcomes be from that revelation?
- The system would not be trusted
- The country would be in chaos
- The government would be seen as incompetent
- Putin wins.
It seems to me that most of these things have already come to pass. Sure, we have not actually proven that the systems in key Electoral College states were tampered with by malware or added code yet. That code could have been put in the supply chain easily by infecting the key systems the polling places use (see Halderman’s paper *think USB and ballot templates*) but all it takes is a real forensic evaluation to determine if something was amiss right? Yet I still don’t hear a clamour to get this done. Why is that really? We have been sold the idea on many occasions that it is too hard to hack the election but really, with a limited target and a goal of manipulating it subtly one would not see it blatantly would they? I mean fuck, look, Clinton has what like 2 million more popular votes and this fuckwit wins the college? It is either fantastic strategy on the part of his campaign (I mean Putin’s campaign) or, given all of the other evidence of tampering and obfuscation that something could be amiss with the known insecure systems we vote with right?
Really what I am saying here is this; “We have been played. We have been played and now we have this kleptocrat in office who’s been placed there, whether or not you want to hear this, by the Russian governments intelligence apparatus. The least you can do now is do the due diligence to see if something more happened than the hacks and disinformation operations we already know about.” I suspect though that the government does not want to do this because it would call everything into question. It would openly call out the fact that a nation state fucked with us in such a fundamental way that the only real response would have to be, well, war? I mean what is the response to something of this scale anyway right?
Weigh the evidence.
Occams Razor this shit.
DO THE FUCKING FORENSICS.