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Facebook Rightwinger Has 'Questions' for 'American Leftists' on 'Voter ID'
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Huffington Post Picks Up the Cause...
Please take action!
By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2006 10:36am PT  

Last week we briefly discussed Stephen Heller who, out here in Los Angeles, is now facing three felony charges for exposing the illegal scheme by Diebold to use uncertified software on their voting machines in the state several years ago. The LA Times coverage is here.

Heller blew the whistle on the company's plan to defraud California voters when he exposed documents he saw while working as a temp worker at Diebold's California law firm, Jones Day. The courageous act, from which Heller stood to gain nothing (he, in fact, was fired for it) led to the decertification of Diebold in the state by former Sec. of State Kevin Shelley, and then to the eventual settlement between the company and the state of California for $2.6 million in 2004.

Today, several Huffington Post blogger take up on Heller's behalf, along with issuing some calls to action to contact the LA District Attorney's office to encourage tell them to drop this appalling case of punishing the patriot, Heller at the behest of the the bullies at Diebold.

Peter Soby Jr.'s coverage is the most complete. Here's a snippet:

Let's make this clear, folks. The docs Heller is accused of exposing were important evidence. First, they show that Diebold and their attorneys, Jones Day, conspired to mislead the California secretary of state, and that the lie they told was material, and resulted directly in the disenfranchisement of voters. Second, another document demonstrates that Diebold lied to the secretary of state when it represented that certain problems with its software were "fixed." This document, the release notes for the new software, showed that the problems were not fixed. Third, the documents showed that Diebold had been advised by Jones Day that what it had been doing with its uncertified software was illegal. Fourth, the documents show that Jones Day advised Diebold that it was subject to criminal prosecution. So in a nutshell, Diebold was defrauding the state government and taxpayers of California, and disenfranchising the voters of California. And the documents PROVE it.

And for allegedly exposing Diebold's felonious behavior (which led directly to Diebold being de-certified in California), for allegedly helping protect the taxpayers and voters of California, for allegedly helping to keep elections clean and fair, what happens? Diebold, the true criminal in this case, and their powerful international law firm Jones Day, press the L.A. District Attorney's office to hammer Heller, a whistleblower. Three felonies! Diebold was (and probably still is) screwing California voters, Heller is alleged to have seen the smoking gun evidence of Diebold's crimes, and, like a true patriot and whistleblower, allegedly exposed that smoking gun evidence, and now HE'S the one facing jail time. Only in Bush's America!

Soby goes on to offer some talking points and helpful contact information for the LA District attorney. Please check them out and take action.

As well, Lyn Davis Lear (Norman's wife), speaks up in support as well.

...CONTACT...
District Attorney's Office
County of Los Angeles
210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000
Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210

Email: lada@co.la.ca.us

Telephone: (213) 974-3512
Fax: (213) 974-1484
TTY: (800) 457-7778 (8:30am - 5:00pm M-F)

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By David Edwards on 2/27/2006 7:51am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


Video in Streaming Flash format...
Video in Windows Media format...
Audio in MP3 format...

Thanks to a heads-up from Larisa at The Raw Story, we were able to captured this broadcast of CNBC's Tim Russert show. Russert interviewed James Risen and Robert O'Harrow, Jr. The video contains about 24 minutes of clips from CNBC's Saturday broadcast.

James Risen broke the NSA warrantless domestic spying story for the New York Times. He also has a new book out, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA And The Bush Administration. Risen is known to have sources within various intelligence agencies and has recieved information from several NSA whistleblowers. One of those whistleblowers, Russell Tice, recently testified before congress that NSA domestic surveillance programs may be much more widespread than the "limited" program that the Bush Administration has admitted. Tice has said that some programs could be monitoring "millions of Americans".

Robert O'Harrow, Jr. is an award-winning reporter for the Washingon Post with an expertise data mining and privacy issues. His recent book, No Place to Hide: Behind the Scenes of Our Emerging Surveillance Society, describes "a surveillance society that's less centralized and more a joint public/private venture".

Together, Risen and O'Harrow paint a picture of an enormous partnership between U.S. intelligence agencies and private data collection firms. Spying agencies like the NSA can leverage its' massive computing power to mine data collected by these private firms. The result is a mind-boggling domestic surveillance capability with access to nearly any information imaginable. Phone calls, email, video as well as financial, criminal and other personal records can all be searched at the same time. The NSA's powerful computers can mine the data to find otherwise imperceptible links for profiling groups and individuals.

Russert calls it a "sobering" discussion. The interview only scratches the surface of how extensive the scope of Big Brother's monitoring of Americans may be. The surveillance programs are a dramatic departure from what the public has come to believe. It's easy to see why the Bush Administration has avoided legislation and oversight.

It's quite possible that the American people would not stand for Bush's spying policies if they had a sense of the true nature of the government's surveillance.

UPDATE 5/8/06: Luke has now posted a text transcript of this Russert/Risen/O'Harrow interview.

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Lots of Electoral Stuff in One Neat Package...
By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2006 10:00pm PT  

Notable news around the nation in regard to Electronic Voting, Election Reform and Voting in general is coming now at a more and more frenetic pace. We've got much more we're personally working on, but today there were a few other small-ish, yet notable-ish stories worth mentioning. Here they are --- wrapped into one single, user-friendly, BRAD BLOG item...

1) California May Want to Get Ready for Diebold Related Lawsuits
Voter Action --- the group who has successfully received a Temporary Restraining Order against the purchase of Sequoia voting machines in New Mexico while they enjoy unprecedented "discovery" on such machines --- has turned their eye towards Diebold in California, given the latest developments/shenanigans concerning SoS Bruce McPherson's re-certification in apparent violation of state laws and regulalations. The Voter Action press release issued today indicates that litigation in California, similar to that in New Mexico, might be very appropriate. Stay tuned.

2) Greens/Libertarians Demand Reinstatement of Federal Ohio '04 Recount Suit
Yes, they're still fighting for your vote to be counted. A Federal judge recently dismissed their lawsuit charging that the 2004 Ohio Presidential Recount was gamed. The reason for the dismissal: The point was now moot, since the 2004 recount procedures would not be used again. But, according to 2004 Green Party Presidential Candidate David Cobb, what the judge didn't know when he dismissed the case, was that Ohio's SOB SoS, J. Kenneth Blackwell, recently announced that recount procedures would be the same in the future. Game back on, says Cobb in his motion to re-instate the case.

3) Diebold Whistleblower Charged With Three Felony Counts
The LA Times reports today (link above) that Stephen Heller, the man who released internal memos from Diebold's California law firm in 2002 showing they were aware of a number of election law violations pled "not guilty" to the charges. Says his attorney, "Certainly, someone who saw those documents could have reasonably believed that thousands of voters were going to be potentially disenfranchised in upcoming elections." Diebold fought to keep the docs from being published. They lost. Eventually it all led to a multi-million dollar settlement with California and BlackBoxVoting.org, who has more on this...

4) TV News Waking Up to Election Reform Issues!
WGAL in Philadelphia covers the Electoral mess hitting their state. The second of their two-part report takes a look into the unsavory legal backgrounds of virtually ALL of the American Voting Machine companies. From ES&S to Sequoia to Danaher to Diebold, etc. Here's to more local news outlets jumping into the game where the national media is failing!

5) George W. Bush Acts Like He Gives a Damn About the Voting Rights Act
A few years ago, he didn't know what it was. Now, with it coming up for renewal in 2007, after his Dept. of Justice has all but gutted it, Bush has the temerity to call for its renewal as if he cares about it. Says Bush in this short video today (thanks David Edwards!): The VRA is a "milestone in the history of civil Rights. Congress must act to renew the Voting Rights Act of 1965." Like he could give a shit.

6) Parallel Universe: Election Reform as Covered by Fox "News"
A preview of how the MSM (led as usual by Fox) will likely cover Election Reform as soon as they notice the massive crisis. Which is to say, they'll report on everything that doesn't matter, but that which Fox and the GOP tells them is important. In their article, Fox, of course, puts the emphasis on States that haven't implemented HAVA fast enough, Photo ID requirement laws, the non-existent problem of "Voter Fraud" (yes, all the Baker/Carter Commission cretins, including our friend, the unrepentant Robert Pastor make unsurprisingly Fox-friendly cameos) and finally, at the end --- the very end --- a brief nod to a few concerns about Electronic Voting. The biggest concern there? "Inexperienced poll workers" having problems with the "new technology." Hey, it's the "#1 Name in News" for a reason, baby!

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DeLay's #1 Supporter Unapologetic About Money Taken from Duke Cunningham, Abramoff-Funded Golf Trip to Scotland, Foreign Agent-Funded Trips to Asia and More...
Clint Curtis' Campaign Gets Some Florida Ink in the Bargain...
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2006 12:32pm PT  

Looks like our old friend, the indefatigably corrupt Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL), is making news again.

St. Petersberg Times takes a front page look at the "allegations pil[ing] up" against Feeney. Here's some highlights:

Three members of Congress went on a golfing junket to Scotland with lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Two of them are under investigation.

The third is Rep. Tom Feeney of Florida.
...
Feeney, 47, has tried to move past the allegations but, in typical fashion, has shown little regret or caution.

He kept patronizing Abramoff's Washington restaurant, Signatures, long after others stopped. He defended former majority leader Tom DeLay even after the Texas congressman was indicted. He let a private group pay for his trip to China last month, even though many in Congress are avoiding such travel because of bad publicity over questionable trips.
...
Feeney, usually one of the most accessible of the state's congressional delegation, refused to answer questions. His staff described questions into his relationship as a "fishing expedition" and said he has done nothing wrong.

So will Feeney disclose who paid for that trip to China last month, in which he visited the Chinese Space Agency and called for more cooperation with them? Perhaps he should, considering that NASA, where his wife also works, is in Feeney's district. Even more notably, Feeney spent years as the general counsel and registered lobbyist for the firm Yang Enterprises, Inc. --- which harbored an illegal Chinese alien eventually found guilty of espionage charges related to sending military missile guidance chips to China --- a firm that currently has lucrative contracts with NASA.

Full disclosure on this matter would seem to be particularly important, given the revelation of Feeney's lies regarding his continuing relationship with the Yangs and their company.

On a related point, here's an unfortunate little tidbit from the article:

Feeney...has been infatuated with politics since he dressed up as his childhood hero Richard Nixon in a mock grade school election

The list of allegations against Feeney continues in the article, along with some ink for Clint Curtis' run for Congress against him:

Feeney was immediately taken with DeLay, to whom Feeney sometimes is compared, and voted with him almost all the time. Later, Feeney became a prominent defender of DeLay, giving $5,000 to his legal defense and supporting a Republican move to allow him to keep his leadership post if indicted.
...
He received $5,000 from former Rep. "Duke" Cunningham's PAC before Cunningham resigned last year amid a bribery scandal.

"My concern about him is that he seems to view the rules are optional," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a group that has primarily criticized Republicans. "Rules are there for a reason."

In September, Feeney was named one of "the 13 most corrupt members of Congress" by Sloan's group. The Congressional Accountability Project demanded that the House ethics panel investigate Feeney and others for their ties to Abramoff.

"No one likes being attacked but he still continues with his daily routine," said Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, a Brooksville Republican who served in the Florida Legislature with Feeney. "This hasn't changed him at all."

Feeney did not face opposition in 2004 but this year already has two opponents, veterinarian Andy Michaud, a Democrat, and computer programmer Clint Curtis, a lifelong Republican turned Democrat. Both Curtis and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee question Feeney's ethics.

Here's a complete list of Reps who received money from Duke Cunningham. Feeney is among those accepting the most, but has not returned the money at this time.

Hat-tip to Jesselee from Stakeholder, who has more on the St. Pete Times article.

Clint Curtis' campaign website, where he needs much financial and logistical support if he's to have a chance of taking on Feeney and the Florida Republican Machine is right here.

For more info on The BRAD BLOG's continuing investigative series on
The Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises Vote-Rigging Scandal series, please see:
- A Quick Summary of the story so far.
- An Index of all the Key Articles & Evidence in the series so far.
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Eavesdropping Programs Monitoring 'Millions of Americans'
By David Edwards on 2/16/2006 10:49am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards


Video in Streaming Flash format...

On Tuesday, a former NSA employee, Russell Tice, testified before the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations. Tice told the committee that he was concerned that undisclosed domestic spying programs were far more widespread than the recently exposed Bush/NSA warrantless wiretap program.

One or more still classified "Special Access" surveillance program may be monitoring the communications of "millions of Americans". While Tice could not share classified details of the program(s), he believes that the Constitution and FISA laws are being violated.

An article published by UPI has more information about the widespread domestic surveillance programs.

The hearings focused on protection for whistleblowers and a pattern of retaliations by the Bush Administration. This article from the Christian Science Monitor provides an excellent summary of testimony from whistleblowers appearing before the committee.

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Former Republican turned Democrat says: 'I'm Purple with a Blue Tint'
On Opponent Tom Feeney and Friends: 'The values of the Republican party have ceased to exist', Will Ask Feeney to Take Polygraph!
By Brad Friedman on 2/15/2006 1:03pm PT  

NOTE: In his first broadcast interview since the news of his potential run against Tom Feeney has been made public, Clint Curtis will be one of our guests this evening on The Young Turks radio program, where I'll be sitting in as Guest Host. Tune in via Sirius Satellite Channel 146 or at www.TheYoungTurks.com to listen, watch and call in from 6p-9p ET!

On Monday, we broke the story that vote-rigging whistleblower Clint Curtis is exploring a run for the U.S. Congress in Florida's 24th district. He hopes to challenge Rep. Tom Feeney, the man who Curtis alleges asked him to create a vote-rigging software prototype back in 2000 when they both worked at the same firm. Curtis was a software programmer, Feeney was the company's general counsel and registered lobbyist, even while he served as speaker of the Florida Legislature.

Curtis has now officially set up a website to support the campaign and raise much needed funding to take on both Feeney and an opponent in the Democratic primary race (Curtis was previously a life-long Republican until his experience with Feeney and friends left him with a distaste for Republican party politics).

See our previous item for more details on Curtis' extraordinary story and Feeney's alleged corruption and continuing failure to tell the truth about any number of things. If you're not familiar at all with Curtis' story, it's a remarkable one, and worth the read. A Quick Summary is available here.

I have been talking to Curtis for a while about running against Feeney since not long after The BRAD BLOG broke his story. In fact, I first brought up the notion with him back in January of 2005 when I met him in person for the first time at the Freedom Cinema Festival in Park City, UT where I was interviewing him on stage for a live festival event.

In hearing about Curtis' decision to finally go ahead and announce an exploratory campaign in hopes of running against Feeney --- and first against primary opponent Dr. Andy Michaud --- I sent several questions to Curtis via email last weekend. Here are those questions and his answers --- on his reasons for running, his chances of winning, how he plans to take Feeney head-on and confront him directly about corruption from the vote-rigging allegations to Feeney's cozy relationship with Tom DeLay. And of course, whether or not he'll ask Feeney to take a polygraph test, as Curtis himself has successfully done on questions relating to these matters...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Whistleblowing Computer Programmer Seeking to Challenge GOP Congressman Charged With Asking Him to Create Vote-Rigging Software!
Exploratory Campaign Website Created, Public Announcement to be Made Wednesday in Florida
By Brad Friedman on 2/13/2006 2:01pm PT  

In what could be one of the most interesting campaigns for the U.S. House in 2006, The BRAD BLOG can now reveal that computer programmer turned electronic vote-rigging software whistleblower Clint Curtis is officially planning a run for the U.S. Congressional seat in Florida's 24th District.

The 24th Congressional District seat is currently occupied by Rep. Tom Feeney, the very man who Curtis has alleged once asked him to create a vote-rigging software prototype program back when both men worked for the software firm Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI) in Oviedo, Florida.

Curtis' startling allegations that then-State Senator Feeney had sought to have such a program built was first broken nationally by The BRAD BLOG in a story based on his sworn affidavit [PDF] which "rocked the vote from Tallahassee to Capitol Hill" when it was originally published in early December of 2004. Indeed, it was so popular that it took down our blog entirely for four straight days.

Since filing his original allegations, Curtis has given stunning sworn, video-taped testimony about the matter to members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in a public hearing, and later, successfully passed a polygraph test in regard to the charges.

Feeney, who was once Jeb Bush's running-mate during his first ill-fated run for Governor in 1994, was also the Speaker of the Florida Legislature who infamously promised to award Florida's electoral votes to George W. Bush during the 2000 Election Debacle --- no matter what the state Supreme Court would ultimately decide about the matter. He later went on to run for the U.S. Congress in 2002 in Florida's conservative 24th District, which is said to have been carved out expressly by Feeney for himself during his time in the statehouse.

Rep. Feeney now sits on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee and continues to face charges of ethical transgressions concerning his conduct during his tenure as a U.S. Congressman where was recently reported to be Tom DeLay's #1 supporter. Said Feeney at a "Salute to Tom DeLay" last May, "Tom DeLay is the most effective leader the House has seen in 50 years."

Curtis, in preparing for a run his against Feeney, (who has been caught by The BRAD BLOG in more than a few "contradictions" over the time we've been covering this story,) has set up a campaign website to support his potential run at www.ClintCurtis.com where he is currently welcoming much-needed contributions and supporters.

In addition to the vote-rigging charges, Curtis also alleged that YEI employed an illegal Chinese alien involved in placing "wire-tapping" modules into software created by the company who had top-secret security contracts with NASA, the Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT), amongst other clients. Feeney was both general counsel and registered lobbyist for YEI for years during that time, even while he was Speaker of Florida's Legislature, where he also faced ethics charges during his tenure.

One of the illegal aliens at YEI reported by Curtis to the Florida's Inspector General's office in 2001 as working at the company and said to have been placing the "wire-tapping" modules into software before it shipped, was arrested in 2004 after a four-year sting, and has pled guilty to charges related to espionage in attempting to illegally ship Hellfire anti-tank missile chips to China. Feeney himself just returned from yet another trip to Asia, this time touring China's space facility where he reportedly called for "more balanced relations" with the Communist nation.

Charges that Curtis had made concerning over-billing of YEI contracts with FDOT have also since been confirmed by the Florida Inspector General's office who finally completed their report on Curtis' case in early 2005.

Feeney, who claimed, as late as February of 2005 that he had ended his relationship with YEI once he reached the U.S. House in 2002, was revealed by The BRAD BLOG to have been the honoree at a private party/reception given by company owners --- and continuing large contributors to Feeney's campaign --- Dr. and Mrs. Yang in 2003. As well, Feeney's campaign headquarters for his 2004 campaign, during which he ran unopposed, was housed in YEI's main headquarters building in Oviedo. Feeney's campaign website still lists YEI's address --- 1420 Alafaya Trail --- as the place to contact his campaign.

Unlike Curtis, Feeney has not taken a polygraph test in relation to his denial of Curtis' charges.

Many of those denials have since been debunked by The BRAD BLOG.

As our coverage of the Clint Curtis story has been extensive over the last 14 months, we'll refer you to this Quick Summary of the main points in his extraordinary story, as well as this Index of Key Articles, for more details in the continuing saga. We promise there is more stunning revelations to be found there, including some startling details of the mysterious death of the original Florida Inspector General's investigator assigned to Curtis' case.

Beyond the Curtis-related allegations, Feeney has been described as one of the "13 Most Ethically Challenged Members of Congress" in light of his lobbyist and foreign-agent sponsored trips such as his Tom DeLay/Jack Abramoff golf junket to St. Andrews, Scotland (yes, he was right there along with them) and elsewhere. Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo described Feeney just last month as a "bamboozler" for his attempts at playing both sides of the field concerning his vote on new rules which DeLay was pushing through the House Ethics Committee. When asked how he voted on the new rules, as attempted by DeLay, Feeney tried to avoid giving an answer to the media by saying there was no actual vote on the matter. Despite the fact that there was.

Feeney's history as a bamboozler seems to be becoming legendary.

Curtis, formerly a "life-long Republican," became a self-described "Conservative Democrat" after his various disturbing dealings with Feeney and friends. He will be making his first public announcement about his intentions to form an exploratory campaign at a local Democratic party gathering at the Cocoa Civic Center in Brevard County this Wednesday evening.

Before facing Feeney directly, however, Curtis will have to survive a primary race against Dr. Andy Michaud who has reportedly pledged to spend quite a bit of his own money in order to face one of the most effective fundraisers in Congress.

We also imagine Michaud will be seeing a sudden influx of financial support in the days ahead from the many supporters of Feeney who, we have a feeling, would rather not have to face Curtis in the General Election next November.

Therefore fundraising from across the nation, Curtis tells The BRAD BLOG as part of a "Campaign Q&A" with him which we will publish here tomorrow, will be key.

"As with most battles of good vs. evil, good can only win if it receives sufficient help," says Curtis. "If my campaign does not receive both unprecedented financial support as well as huge volunteer efforts, this could be a very difficult quest to fulfill."

Difficult indeed. Curtis who, unlike both Michaud and Feeney, has never participated in a political campaign before, will have his work cut out for him. But he's faced more daunting --- and terrifying --- fights in the past. His tireless years-long effort to hold accountable those who he sees as having committed wrong-doing against this country has not come at a small cost. But that struggle may serve him well in his "good vs. evil battle."

Curtis explains that he feels he has little choice at this point but to enter the battle, and in discussing it, he expresses a sentiment heard all too rarely from Democrats these days: "I am now convinced that fearing a loss is not a valid reason for never entering the fight."

And so the fight begins...

###

BRAD BLOG's exclusive Q&A with Candidate Curtis is now published here. Contributions to Curtis' exploratory campaign may be made via his website at this link.

For more info on The BRAD BLOG's continuing investigative series on
The Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises Vote-Rigging Scandal series, please see:
- A Quick Summary of the story so far.
- An Index of all the Key Articles & Evidence in the series so far.
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By Brad Friedman on 2/13/2006 2:45am PT  

This could be fun.

Until it's good to go, if you're not familiar with the Clint Curtis story, see this Quick Summary or this Index of Key BRAD BLOG Articles on the matter from the last 14 months of reporting the amazing saga. It's well worth diving into if you're not familiar with it.

If you're already up to speed on Curtis, distract yourself until we break the new story with Sunday's "Live Blogging" of Deadeye Dick...

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The Former FBI Translator Destroys the Current CIA Director's Latest Attempt at Misleading America...
By Brad Friedman on 2/11/2006 3:32pm PT  

On Friday, CIA Director Porter Goss wrote an op-ed for the New York Times claiming that national security whistleblowers are harming U.S. intelligence interests. That, as a "pre-emptive" attack on next week's U.S. House sub-committee hearings on the need for new whistleblower protection litigation.

Today, Sibel Edmonds, the former FBI translator turned whistleblower --- who knows a thing or two about what protections are and aren't available to patriots who wish to reveal unlawful behavior inside America's intelligence agencies --- posts a reply to Goss which cleans his clock. I mean: Cleans. His. Clock.

Read it in full to learn what's really at stake in this issue. But as a tease, here's her closing graf:

Mr. Goss, I cannot attribute this misleading op-ed to your ignorance, since you were a member of Congress until recently and are surely aware of the lack of meaningful protection for national security whistleblowers; so I won't. I will not attribute it to your stupidity, since obviously our Congress confirmed your position and I do not intend to insult their wisdom and intelligence. Thus, it must be your arrogance, nurtured and fed by your boss on your purported inherent and limitless authority and power, leading you to treat us, the American Public, as stupid.
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'Gag Ordered' FBI Whistleblower Gives Statement to BRAD BLOG Questioning Letter to Vanity Fair by House Speaker's Legal Counsel
Calls on Hastert to 'Come Clean' on $500k in Un-Itemized Campaign Donations, Relationship With Turkish Interest Groups
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2006 10:43am PT  

In the September 2005 issue of Vanity Fair, a lengthy feature article on former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds discussed a number of claims that Edmonds has by and large been disallowed from expressing publicly.

Her attempts at whistleblowing on the malfeasance and cover-ups she alleges to have witnessed during her time at the bureau in late 2001 and early 2002 --- during which she translated covert wiretaps recorded prior to 9/11 --- have been silenced by the U.S. government. An arcane "states-secret privilege" has been applied to her which effectively "gag orders" her from discussing her claims including allegations which the Dept. of Justice's own Inspector General found to be "credible" and "serious" and "warrant[ing] a thorough and careful review by the FBI," according to a declassified version of their investigation into her claims.

One of the allegations discussed by reporter David Rose in the VF article concerned FBI intercepts out of Chicago that Edmonds claims to have listened to. Reportedly, those intercepts suggest that U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), may have been bribed by a large number of small "donations" emanating from shadowy Turkish interest groups. Such donations, $199 and smaller, are not required to be itemized in public filings according to Federal Election Commission rules.

Rose's article reports that Hastert's campaign received nearly $500,000 in such "un-itemized contributions" between 1996 and 2000. By contrast, Tom DeLay (R-TX), one of the House's best fundraisers, received just under $100,000 in such contributions. Only one other congressman, Clay Shaw (R-FL), received more in such contributions than Hastert, bringing in just over $550,000, during that same period.

In late 2000, Hastert announced he would support a resolution in the House declaring the killings of Armenians in Turkey from 1915 to 1923 to have been a "genocide". Armenians have long been pushing for such a resolution in Congress to little avail until Hastert's sudden interest in the effort. The Turkish government has long opposed such a resolution.

The VF article claims the reported content of one of the Chicago wiretaps is of "a senior official at the Turkish Consulate" claiming that "the price for Hastert to withdraw the resolution would have been at least $500,000." After Hastert was able to see the resolution through the House International Relations Committee, he withdrew it just minutes before the full House was to have voted on it, citing a plea from President Bill Clinton who is said to have warned the measure would harm U.S. interests.

The February issue of Vanity Fair finally offers a rebuttal of sorts from Hastert's counsel, Randy Evans, in the form of a letter to the editor. That letter, as printed in VF, is posted below, followed by Edmonds rebuttal which she submitted to us over the weekend for publication by The BRAD BLOG...

Edmonds' reply to Evans' letter, in which she calls on Hastert to fully disclose his un-itemized contributions and explain apparent contradictions in his claims about his relationship with Turkish interest groups follows...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Charges Remarkably Similar to Those Made Previously Under Oath by Clint Curtis!
Front Page WaPo Story Also Indicates IG Officer's 'Retaliation Against Whistle-Blowers'
By Brad Friedman on 2/3/2006 12:13pm PT  

Page one at WaPo today describes an inquiry, now underway, of the NASA Inspector General's failure to investigate several charges and his retaliation against whistle-blowers.

BRAD BLOG Readers familiar with the Clint Curtis story, however, will note a very interesting development here. Emphasized in bold in the quoted text below...

An FBI-led watchdog agency has opened an investigation into multiple complaints accusing NASA Inspector General Robert W. Cobb of failing to investigate safety violations and retaliating against whistle-blowers. Most of the complaints were filed by current and former employees of his own office.

Written complaints and supporting documents from at least 16 people have been given to investigators. They allege that Cobb, appointed by President Bush in 2002, suppressed investigations of wrongdoing within NASA, and abused and penalized his own investigators when they persisted in raising concerns.

The complaints are being reviewed by the Integrity Committee of the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency. The complaints describe efforts by Cobb to shut down or ignore investigations on issues such as a malfunctioning self-destruct procedure during a space shuttle launch at the Kennedy Space Center, and the theft of an estimated $1.9 billion worth of data on rocket engines from NASA computers.
...
IG auditor Carroll Tom Hassell described how "a person in a South American country" over three days in late 2002 logged into the Marshall Space Flight Center's supposedly secure computer system, stole space shuttle data valued at $1.9 billion and shipped it to a third country.

I have several meetings today, so I can't get into too much detail for the moment. But for those not familiar with Clint Curtis, among his allegations is that Yang Enterprises Inc. (YEI), his employer back in 2000 in Florida, was spying on NASA via their contracts with the space agency. He alleges, in a sworn affidavit, that YEI inserted "wire-tapping modules" into software they were contracted to write for NASA, and that an undocumented Chinese worker, Hai Lin "Henry" Nee, was in charge of the programming that pulled it all off.

Nee was charged, some years later, for attempting to send Hellfire anti-tank missile chips from YEI to China, eventually pleading guilty.

Curtis took his charges to Raymond Lemme, from the Inspector General's office in Tallahassee, FL. Lemme allegedly told Curtis that his investigation had traced these matters "all the way to the top"; two weeks later, Lemme was found dead in a Valdosta, GA hotel room. The police ruled the case a suicide, but several inconsistencies in their report remain unexplained, including the claim that the photos taken at the crime scene could not be developed --- those same photos were later found, and published, here at BRAD BLOG.

At the time, the general counsel and registered lobbyist for YEI was U.S. Congressman Tom Feeney (R-FL), who also served as the in-coming Speaker of the Florida Legislature, and who is most famous for his claim during the 2000 Florida Election Debacle that the electoral votes in Florida would be delivered to George W. Bush no matter what the Florida Supreme Court had to say about it. Feeney --- who continues to receive money from YEI and their attorneys, and houses his campaign headquarters in their building in Oviedo, FL --- now sits on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. Feeney also ran as Jeb Bush's running-mate for Governor in 1994, and has most recently been implicated in the Abramoff/Tom DeLay scandals for participating in one of the now-infamous lobbyist-paid golf trips to St. Andrews, Scotland.

Clint Curtis made his claims to members of the House Judiciary committee in sworn video-taped testimony, and has successfully passed a lie-detector test in regard to these charges.

And, oh yes, Curtis, a computer programmer --- who was a Republican at the time --- claims that Feeney asked him, while they both worked for YEI at the time, to create a touch-screen vote-rigging software prototype. But you'll have to read up on the quick summary of Curtis' story to catch up on that part of it.

We'll be keeping our eye on this one, naturally...

For more info on The BRAD BLOG's continuing investigative series on
The Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises Vote-Rigging Scandal series, please see:
- A Quick Summary of the story so far.
- An Index of all the Key Articles & Evidence in the series so far.
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Palm Beach Post Covers Software Programmer's Audience with Voting Technology Committee
By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2006 1:14pm PT  

The Palm Beach Post covers Clint Curtis in an article yesterday, headlined "Paper-trail advocate to air rigging concerns". The detailed article is occassioned by Curtis' "official audience this week with the committee advising Palm Beach County on voting technology."

Those not familiar with the extraordinary tale which we broke exclusively back in December of 2004, can read a short summary of the remarkable story here. It essentially concerns Curtis' sworn allegations that former Florida House Speaker, now U.S. Congressman Tom Feeney (R-FL), asked him to create vote-rigging software back when Curtis worked as a programmer for the Oveido, FL software firm Yang Enterprises Inc. (YEI). At the time, Feeney, in addition to leading the FL statehouse, was also the general counsel and a registered lobbyist for YEI.

The story also concerns Curtis' long-standing and now-verified claims that YEI was employing a now-convicted Chinese spy and was also engaged in massively overcharging on contracts such as the one it had with the Florida Department of Transporation. As well, there is the startling tale of the untimely, and unexplained demise of the Florida Inspector General, Raymond Lemme, who had been investigating Curtis' charges against YEI and Feeney. Curtis has since passed a polygraph test concerning these charges.

The Post piece covers much of the territory, of course, that BRAD BLOG readers familiar with our year-long plus Clint Curtis coverage will know well by now. Apparently, reporter George Bennett has spent quite a bit of time reading our work here, which we are happy to see.

The downside of the Post article, is the usual misrepresentation of information disquised as "balance" that we see so often these days, not just in coverage of Curtis, but in the MSM in general. Eg., Bennett feels it important, and properly so, to give YEI's attorney's rebuttal to Curtis' charges. But, of course, Bennett then fails to point out that YEI's attorney is also Feeney's old law partner dating back to just prior to his joining the U.S. Congress. Bennett also fails to point out that both YEI and their attorney continue to be large donors to Feeney and that Feeney has continued to lie about his ongoing relationship with the company.

That's just one example of the downsides. The upside, however, is hopefully the additional attention to Curtis' story at a time when a host of new questions are arising concerning Tom Feeney's corruption (he was, you know, on one of those now-infamous trips to St. Andrews to play golf, like Tom DeLay and Bob Ney, for example!)

In addition to this latest article, we have reason to believe there will be still more information and coverage elsewhere of the continuing Clint Curtis saga soon...

UPDATE 1/31/05: We were contacted today by George Bennett, author of the recent Curtis piece in the Palm Beach Post. He had the following reply to this blog item:

One small-ish quibble of my own. You wrote:

"Eg., Bennett feels it important, and properly so, to give YEI's attorney's rebuttal to Curtis' charges. But, of course, Bennett then fails to point out that YEI's attorney is also Feeney's old law partner dating back to just prior to his joining the U.S. Congress."

Actually, after I made a few calls to YEI, the person who returned my call and introduced himself as YEI's general counsel was named Charles Harrison, who has a law office in Winter Park. He does not appear to be connected to Feeney's old law firm. If O'Quinn or somebody from that firm had spoken on behalf of YEI, I would have noted the connection to Feeney.

The BRAD BLOG appreciates Bennett's clarification, and we're happy to post it here for the record.

For more info on The BRAD BLOG's continuing investigative series on
The Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises Vote-Rigging Scandal series, please see:
- A Quick Summary of the story so far.
- An Index of all the Key Articles & Evidence in the series so far.
ReddIt this story!



FBI Whistleblower on Necessity of Protections for Government 'Truth-Tellers'
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2006 12:11pm PT  

The BRAD BLOG has obtained a statement from "Gag Ordered" FBI Whistleblower, Sibel Edmonds, Founder and Director of the National Security Whistleblowers Coaltion, in response to Al Gore's just completed speech earlier today in Washington D.C.

Gore's address, sponsored by a bi-partisan coalition, warned that our "constitution is in grave danger" and called for, amongst many other things (highlights of speech here), the creation of new Whistleblower Protections for members of the Executive Branch and others.

Edmonds, due to a rarely invoked "State Secrets" privilege by the Dept. of Justice, is legally barred from discussing remarkable and troubling findings she made as an FBI translator after 9/11, in regard to a number of explosive matters of national security.

She emailed the following statement to The BRAD BLOG moments ago:

The National Security Whistleblowers Coalition applauds Mr. Gore for his nonpartisan speech which very eloquently and sincerely expresses our core American values based on the notions of liberty and justice.

As stated by Mr. Gore, without whistleblowers the public would never know of the many abuses of constitutional rights by the government. Whistleblowers, Truth-Tellers, are responsible for the disclosure that President George W. Bush ordered unconstitutional surveillance of American citizens. These constitutional lifeguards take their patriotic oaths to heart and soul: Rather than complying with classification and secrecy orders designed to protect officials engaging in criminal conduct, whistleblowers choose to risk their livelihoods and the wrath of their agencies to get the truth out.

We applaud the call by Liberty Coalition & Al Gore for congress to enact new legislation that would provide meaningful whistleblower protections, especially for those patriots who report abuses of Executive Branch authority in the sensitive areas of national security. Hundreds of national security whistleblowers, patriotic government employees, have brought to the public's attention cases of agency wrongdoing only to find themselves fired, stripped of their security clearance, and/or deprived of meaningful work, simply because they were courageous and patriotic enough to place the security of our nation above their own career security and interests.

Why should government employees have to choose between their livelihood and career, and fulfilling their highest duty of all: protecting the public's interest?

The answer is very simple, because our legislative branch has failed to provide these patriots with any protection.

Whistleblowers have served as a constant and valuable check on the federal government. Considering the fact that to perform its legislative & oversight functions, congress must depend on information from the executive branch, why is it that the congress refuses to provide a safe & protected channel to those who can provide the congress with information, thus enable it to exercise its oversight responsibility?

In a Guest Blog of her own here at BRAD BLOG in late December, Edmonds called for whistleblowers from within various national security agencies to step forward and reveal illegal activities by the agencies, as a "patriotic duty" to the country.

Several days later, NSA whistleblower, Russell Tice, revealed to ABC News that he was one of the New York Times' sources who had provided the paper with information concerning the alleged illegal, warrantless wire-tapping of U.S. citizens in apparent violation of the Foreign Intelligence Security Act of 1978. Tice is also a member of Edmonds' National Security Whistleblowers Coalition.

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And Other Hightlights from an Extraordinary Speech to a Bi-Partisan Audience...
Calls for Special Counsel, Exec Branch Whistleblower Protection, Comprehensive Congressional Hearings to Immediately Investigate Constitutional Crimes by the Executive Branch...
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2006 9:52am PT  

Al Gore's speech, to a bi-partisan audience, on our "Constitutional Crisis" has just concluded. UPDATE: We've posted extended video highlights from the speech here...

Gore was to have been introduced by former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA), but Barr's live video feed broke down at the last moment. We are told by the Liberty Coalition's Michael Ostrolenk (who jumped up to introduce Gore in an improvised statement), that Barr will be appearing on CNN's Situation Room later this afternoon.

An early highlight from Gore's address: "The President of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and persistently."

MORE HIGHLIGHTS...

A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government. Our Founding Fathers were adamant that they had established a government of laws and not men. Indeed, they recognized that the structure of government they had enshrined in our Constitution - our system of checks and balances - was designed with a central purpose of ensuring that it would govern through the rule of law.
...
The President and I agree on one thing. The threat from terrorism is all too real...Where we disagree is that we have to break the law or sacrifice our system of government to protect Americans from terrorism. In fact, doing so makes us weaker and more vulnerable.
...
It is this same disrespect for America's Constitution which has now brought our republic to the brink of a dangerous breach in the fabric of the Constitution. And the disrespect embodied in these apparent mass violations of the law is part of a larger pattern of seeming indifference to the Constitution that is deeply troubling to millions of Americans in both political parties.
...
This shameful exercise of power overturns a set of principles that our nation has observed since General Washington first enunciated them during our Revolutionary War and has been observed by every president since then - until now.
...
But the most serious damage has been done to the legislative branch. The sharp decline of congressional power and autonomy in recent years has been almost as shocking as the efforts by the Executive Branch to attain a massive expansion of its power.
...
The Congress we have today is unrecognizable compared to the one in which my father served. There are many distinguished Senators and Congressmen serving today. I am honored that some of them are here in this hall. But the legislative branch of government under its current leadership now operates as if it is entirely subservient to the Executive Branch.
...
In the 70's and 80's, the oversight hearings in which my colleagues and I participated held the feet of the Executive Branch to the fire - no matter which party was in power. Yet oversight is almost unknown in the Congress today.
...
It is the pitiful state of our legislative branch which primarily explains the failure of our vaunted checks and balances to prevent the dangerous overreach by our Executive Branch which now threatens a radical transformation of the American system.

I call upon Democratic and Republican members of Congress today to uphold your oath of office and defend the Constitution. Stop going along to get along. Start acting like the independent and co-equal branch of government you're supposed to be. [standing ovation received after this section]
...
Fear drives out reason. Fear suppresses the politics of discourse and opens the door to the politics of destruction. Justice Brandeis once wrote: "Men feared witches and burnt women."

The founders of our country faced dire threats. If they failed in their endeavors, they would have been hung as traitors. The very existence of our country was at risk.

Yet, in the teeth of those dangers, they insisted on establishing the Bill of Rights.

Is our Congress today in more danger than were their predecessors when the British army was marching on the Capitol? Is the world more dangerous than when we faced an ideological enemy with tens of thousands of missiles poised to be launched against us and annihilate our country at a moment's notice? Is America in more danger now than when we faced worldwide fascism on the march-when our fathers fought and won two World Wars simultaneously?

It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it is up to us to do the same.

We have a duty as Americans to defend our citizens' right not only to life but also to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is therefore vital in our current circumstances that immediate steps be taken to safeguard our Constitution against the present danger posed by the intrusive overreaching on the part of the Executive Branch and the President's apparent belief that he need not live under the rule of law.

I endorse the words of Bob Barr, when he said, "The President has dared the American people to do something about it. For the sake of the Constitution, I hope they will."

A special counsel should immediately be appointed by the Attorney General to remedy the obvious conflict of interest that prevents him from investigating what many believe are serious violations of law by the President.
...
new whistleblower protections should immediately be established for members of the Executive Branch who report evidence of wrongdoing --- especially where it involves the abuse of Executive Branch authority in the sensitive areas of national security.

Third, both Houses of Congress should hold comprehensive-and not just superficial-hearings into these serious allegations of criminal behavior on the part of the President. And, they should follow the evidence wherever it leads.
...
As I stand here today, I am filled with optimism that America is on the eve of a golden age in which the vitality of our democracy will be re-established and will flourish more vibrantly than ever. Indeed I can feel it in this hall.

As Dr. King once said, "Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us."

Much more in the extraordinary full speech, for which RAW STORY now has the complete prepared text.

UPDATE: FBI Whistleblower, Sibel Edmonds issues an exclusive statement to BRAD BLOG in reply to Gore's speech...

Crooks and Liars has video highlights.

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DoJ Attempts to 'Gag Order' Him as They Have Sibel Edmonds
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2006 6:41pm PT  

As you may know by now, on last night's Nightline, whistleblower Russel Tice admitted to being one of the sources for the New York Times story on the NSA's warrantless wire-tapping of U.S. citizens, as admittedly approved time and again by George W. Bush. He was one of a dozen, apparently.

Tice clarified that the program in question was not simply one of the government "listening in on a few calls made to al-Qaeda," as many have tried to minimize it, but an enormous effort that resulted in "millions" of Americans having their conversations listened to in violation of the law and the Constitution. At least in Tice's opinion.

He added that "millions" of Americans have most likely been spied upon, as anyone that placed a call from the U.S. to another country has a good chance of having had the call monitored. This is not a "limited" program as Bush has been attempting to color it.

Tice has written a letter asking Congress to allow him to testify on the laws that he feels have been broken by the NSA, where, until recently, the rules were always made very clear at the agency that you don't spy on American citizens inside the country without a court order to do so first.

And now, the Justice Department is attempting to "gag order" Tice under the same "state secrets" act that they've used to gag FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. Edmonds, in turn, has helped found the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition to support patriotic Americans like Tice, herself, and about 50 others in similar situations --- from both political parties.

ABC covered the Tice story at their website (with a link to Tice's letter) here.

The video of Nightline's complete report and interview with Tice is available in full here:


-- Video in Streaming Flash format...
-- Video in Windows Media format...

NOTE: Folks like Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and the other Administration apologists have been hard at work trying to conflate the cases of disclosure of classified information (Tice said he hasn't done any such thing, by the way) with that in the Valerie Plame case. Regular BRAD BLOG readers likely don't need this explained to them, but apparently O'Reilly and Rush and their trolling millions don't understand the difference in the two cases.

So to be clear --- Tice is reporting a crime being committed by a national security agency. Scooter Libby and Karl Rove, on the other hand, revealed classified material not to uncover a crime, but as a political weapon against someone they perceived as an opponent. Their crime was their revelation of the material itself. Period.

As James Risen, the author of the original Times piece pointed out recently to Jon Stewart (video available here from Crooks & Liars), the NSA matter is as "pure a case of whistleblowing" as one is likely to find, and the two different cases couldn't be more polar opposite to each other. No matter how much the wingnuts are trying to conflate the two.

Got it? Good! We'd rather not have to explain it again in the future. Though we have a feeling we'll have to anyway.

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