Voting Machine Fiasco:
SAIC, Bohemoth Military Contractor,
Wants to Be inside Every Voting Machine; Three Way Scam on Diebold Review?
by Lynn Landes OpEdNews.Com
The voting machine wars are heating up and the implications of vote
fraud in America are even more ominous.
Computer scientist Avi Rubin, whose Johns Hopkins University team found
serious flaws in Diebold Election Systems software abruptly resigned from
VoteHere, another election software company.
In a related story, on August 6th Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.
(R) gave a contract to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)
to review the Diebold Election System's software in preparation for
elections in Maryland. The report is due in four weeks.
Avi Rubin announced today his resignation from VoteHere, an elections
systems company. (Avi
Rubin's statement) His statement reads: "Effective immediately, I
am resigning from the Technical Advisory Board of VoteHere, and I am
returning all stock options, which have never been exercised, and which
are not entirely vested." Unexercised stock options may be the least
of Rubin's problems.
Rubin's relationship with VoteHere was a surprise to many.
He does not list the affiliation on his website that features an
extensive and detailed listing of his work. In fact, Rubin's announcement
appears to be in response to an interview with this reporter regarding
questions about his affiliation with VoteHere.
In his statement today, Rubin says, "...I had not had any contact
with VoteHere since I signed on to their board over 2 years ago, and I
simply did not remember nor think about it. In hindsight, that is very
And that, as they say, is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
VoteHere is being sued by its former engineer, Dan Spillane, for
wrongfully firing him in retaliation to his repeated warnings of potential
defects in voting software applications and in the certification
SAIC is a behemoth military defense contractor with a shadowy, if not
tarnished, reputation, while former SAIC executives also have ties to
VoteHere. Why is that important? VoteHere is a growing company, which
aspires to provide cryptography and computer software security for the
electronic election industry.
Former President, Chief Operating Officer, and Vice Chairman of SAIC is
Admiral Bill Owens, who is now Chairman of the Board for VoteHere. Owens
also served as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was a senior
military assistant to Secretaries of Defense Frank Carlucci and Dick
Cheney. Carlucci's company is Carlyle Group, while Vice President Dick
Cheney's former employer is Halliburton.
Another former SAIC board member, also on the board of VoteHere, is ex-CIA
director Robert Gates, a veteran of the Iran/Contra scandal.
VoteHere is already benefiting from the Diebold debacle, as it will be
partnering with Sequoia Voting Systems, "to provide a new level of
electronic ballot verification to customers of the AVC Edge touch screen
voting system," according to the VoteHere website.
SAIC, which is supposed to vet Diebold's elections software, is itself in
the elections business.
On a webpage of Diversified Dynamics (recently purchased by Northrop
Grumman), a 1998 legal notice states, "Diversified Dynamics has
brought the election process to the technological level of the new
millennium by designing the world's most advanced electronic vote
recording and election management system. We were supported in this effort
by the engineering and software capabilities of Science Applications
International Corporation (SAIC), a world leader in systems development
All of the above companies are military defense contractors as well as
information technology (IT) firms, whose clients include state governments
and federal agencies.
Is it a conflict of interest when an industry insider reviews the software
of a competitor?
Yes. However, these conflicts of interest may not necessarily discredit
the Johns Hopkins report. The basic tenet of the report is true, say many
computer experts who have reviewed Diebold's software. It is riddled with
back doors that can be easily opened, an "open door" so to speak
to vote fraud. It does, however, bring into question some of the
conclusions of the report.
For example, computer voting expert Dr. Rebecca Mercuri has made it clear
that although a machine may be used to produce a paper ballot, the ballot
itself must be voter-verified and "hand counted" in order to
ensure integrity to the voting process. In an interview with this
reporter, Rubin said that he's "against" electronic voting.
However, in the Hopkins report, the authors use language that indicates
that they believe that paper ballots should be used for audits or recounts
It should be also noted that the handicapped are being used by the
election services industry to push for mandated electronic voting, and the
Hopkins report strongly supports this strategy, "A voting system must
be comprehensible to and usable by the entire voting population,
regardless of age, infirmity, or disability."
That's code for "electronic voting is the only way to go." Tell
that to the Canadians and other countries around the world that hold
elections, which include the handicapped, without a Pandora's Box of
Meanwhile SAIC is a piece of work all by itself.
"The federal government, its main customer, often doesn't want the
public to know what the company [SAIC] is doing and, as one of the
nation's largest employee-owned corporations, it escapes investor
scrutiny," writes AP correspondent Elliot Spagat, in a July 26, 2003
J. Robert Beyster founded SAIC on February 3, 1969, "with a couple of
consulting contracts, one from Los Alamos and one from Brookhaven National
Labs," according to the SAIC website. Today, SAIC has racked up more
than $5.9 billion in annual revenues.
Bev Harris and her investigative team have dug up some interesting facts
about SAIC. It seems that SAIC has had its share of legal troubles.
In a 1995 article in the Web Review, editor Stephen Pizzo paints a
disturbing picture of SAIC. "In 1990 SAIC was indicted by the Justice
Department on 10 felony counts for fraud in its management of a Superfund
toxic cleanup site. (SAIC pleaded guilty.)
In 1993 the Justice Department sued SAIC, accusing it of civil fraud on an
F15 fighter contract.
In May 1995, the same month SAIC purchased NSI (Network Solutions Inc.),
the company settled a suit that charged it had lied about security system
tests it conducted for a Treasury Department currency plant in Fort Worth,
According to a January 1994 article in the highly regarded Crypt
Newsletter, edited by George Smith, "In 1992 one of Scientific
Applications (SAIC) government projects blew up in the firm's face when it
was charged with fabricating environmental testing from toxic waste dumps.
SAIC eventually conceded to false claims and paid $1.3 million in
penalties, a small sum compared to the estimated $1.5 billion the firm is
expected to earn in 1994.
The Los Angeles Times cites government officials declaring Science
Applications (SAIC) guilty of the "largest environmental fraud . . .
we've had here" and an example of "corporate greed."
On November 15, 2000, a joint venture between SAIC and Bechtel (Bechtel
SAIC Company, LLC) was awarded the contract from the Department of Energy
(DOE) to manage and operate the Yucca Mountain program and support
extensive DOE studies of Yucca Mountain's geology, hydrology, and climate.
In a Nov 24, 2002 Associated Press reported, "Some workers at the
Yucca Mountain Project said there were flaws in the process scientists
used to determine whether the site was suitable for disposing the nation's
nuclear waste. At least two workers claim they were either fired or
transferred after raising concerns about the project's safety, the Las
Vegas Review-Journal reported in its Sunday editions. Susana Navarro said
an audit by a prominent law firm found "among other things, that Mr.
Mattimoe's conduct as a program manager for SAIC was inconsistent with a
safety conscious work environment."
SAIC is perhaps most notorious among Internet aficionados for buying the
company, Network Solutions Inc (NSI), which received the no-bid no-compete
monopoly contract to privatize the government agency which registered
John Dillon reports in MediaFilter.org, "Initially, the service was
subsidized by the government. But, in May 1993, the National Science
Foundation privatized the name registry (InterNIC - Internet Network
Information Center) and paid NSI $5.9 million to administer it. In
September 1995, NSI instituted the fee system. A few months earlier, it
had been bought out by Science Applications International Corp (SAIC)."
SAIC's control over internet domain names set off alarm bells.
"The shadow ruling-class within the Pentagon," describes SAIC to
a tee, according to the Crypt. SAIC has strong business ties to the
military and intelligence communities.
Dillon quotes James Warren, an Internet civil liberties activist, "I
don't want a spook corporation, particularly a private spook corporation,
to be anywhere near a control point on the global cooperative
It should be remembered that the CIA has a decades-long track record of
assisting in the brutal overthrow of democratically elected governments
around the world.
Recently, SAIC got the contract to assist other corporations, including
Northrop Grumman, in training of the Iraqi Army.
The specter of corporations, littered with ex-CIA types, that both control
the voting systems and train the armies of countries around the world, is
an emerging and frightening reality.
"Currently on SAIC's board is ex-CIA director Bobby Ray Inman,
director of the National Security Agency, deputy director of the CIA, and
vice director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. According to the OC
(*Orange County) Weekly, "Inman worked at the highest levels of
American intelligence during an era (President Ronald Reagan) when it
displayed a stunning lack of it. Inman's achievements include: failing to
predict the peaceful collapse of the Soviet Union; prolonging violent,
useless civil wars in Central America; and giving arms to terrorists in
exchange for hostages (Iran Contra)."
"During the Bush administration, Inman, Perry and Deutch - while
directors of Science Applications (SAIC), were also members of the
National Foreign Intelligence Board (NFIB), an advisory group reporting to
the President and the director of Central Intelligence, which deals with
production, review and coordination of foreign intelligence," reports
the Crypt. Both Inman and Deutch were former Directors of the CIA. William
J. Perry was also a former Secretary of Defense during the Clinton
SAIC proudly lists DARPA in its annual report as one of its prime clients.
DARPA is the controversial Department of Defense (DOD) subsidiary, which
until recently employed Admiral John Poindexter of Iran-Contra fame.
Poindexter was forced to resign when it was revealed that DARPA was
prepared to trade "futures" in terrorist attacks. DARPA has also
developed a program to spy on American citizens, which has civil
libertarians in an uproar.
So, what should Maryland's Governor Ehrlich do? Cancel the contracts with
Diebold and SAIC, throw out all of the voting machines, and order a new
batch of paper ballots. And most importantly, let the people count the
Lynn Landes is publisher of Ecotalk.org.
Formerly she was a talk show host and regular commentator for a BBC talk
radio show and environmental news reporter for DUTV in Philadelphia. Her
many articles and reporter's notes on the voting systems industry can be
found at the website. She can be reached at 215-629-3553 for interviews or
comments. This article is originally published at opednews.com.
Copyright Lynn Landes, but permission is granted for reprint in print,
email, blog, or web media so long as this credit is attached