In Hilarious Statement, Company Claims Documentary --- Which They Haven't Seen --- Has Facts Wrong...But They're Referring to a Completely Different Documentary!
Feature Article on Film Should Be Published by ComputerWorld Tomorrow...
By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2006, 10:32pm PT  

I've written a feature article for ComputerWorld on HBO's upcoming Hacking Democracy, the superb documentary on the many insidious lies of Diebold scheduled for airing beginning Nov. 2nd. We posted a preview article on the film's release several weeks ago. That article should be posted in full Wednesday morning if the continuing delays are worked out (CW had said they'd hoped to publish it Monday).

In the meantime, Diebold seems to be embarrassing itself yet again by issuing a statement calling for HBO to pull the documentary, or at least run disclaimers before, after, and throughout the film. I've seen it. If I were them, I'd try to do everything I could to keep America from seeing the film, as well.

"Truth and accurate reporting are the biggest casualties of the film," Diebold Election System President David Byrd is quoted as saying in the media release.

But ironically, as The Hollywood Reporter is reporting tonight, Byrd has not only never seen the film, but his claims that the film is "Riddled With Errors and Slipshod Reporting" apparently refer to a completely different film!

Confusing a different film called VoterGate with the short film called VoterGate, which was an early version of the film now known as Hacking Democracy, Byrd writes a two page letter [PDF] to HBO refuting several points in the other film!

While Diebold's letter from Byrd claims that the film is "so egregious that HBO should pull the documentary," the letter itself is not only riddled with errors and slipshod reporting, it also makes a sad attempt at playing the partisan card, which Diebold has been trying to deny for years! Note this graf...

"Hacking Democracy" is directed by the directors of "VoterGate" and contains much of the same material. "VoterGate" was produced with special thanks to Susan Sarandon and The Streisand Foundation.

Never mind that the VoterGate Diebold refers to is the wrong VoterGate, but what the hell do either Susan Sarandon or The Streisand Foundation have to do with Diebold's claim that the film is inaccurate?

Not disingenuous enough for you? Byrd has more...

Harri Hursti is shown attacking a Diebold machine in Florida. But his "attack" proved later to be a complete sham. Hursti was invited by California Secretary of State's office to demonstrate his supposed ability to "hack" a Diebold optical scan system. He declined...

Of course, we know that Byrd never saw the Hursti Hack in Hacking Democracy (it hadn't occurred by the time either VoterGate film was released), the disingenuous claim that it "proved later to be a complete sham" is itself a complete sham:

Not only did the California Secretary of State's own technical advisory board at UC Berkley write that "Harri Hursti's attack does work" and that it was "definitely real" in their report [PDF] on the hack, but they also found "more serious vulnerabilities...that go well beyond what Mr. Hursti demonstrated, and yet require no more access to the voting system than he had. These vulnerabilities are consequences of bugs–16 in all."

We would later learn that the invitation to which Diebold refers, from the CA SoS "inviting" Hursti to try his hack out in California, was drafted by a Diebold employee and disinformation operative by the name of Rob Pelletier, and sent to Hursi on CA SoS stationery!

As revealed by this investigative report [PDF] released over the Summer by BlackBoxVoting.org (one of the film's main subjects) entitled "The Diebold Pursuasion Machine," it appears that Pelletier drafted the letter for CA SoS McPherson's office. The "invitation" would later come to be regarded as a "setup" using special Diebold machines and designed for Hursti to fail.

In the same report, it was revealed that Diebold employee Pelletier had been spreading disinformation under several phony names at various Internet sites, as well as here at BRAD BLOG as a commenter using the name "Wally O'Diebold."

As Barney Gimble wrote yesterday in a terrific piece on the history of Diebold in Fortune, about a "five-step plan guaranteed to make an obscure company absolutely notorious":

First get into a business you don't understand, selling to customers who barely understand it either. Then roll out your product without adequate testing. Don't hire enough skilled people. When people notice problems, deny, obfuscate and ignore. Finally, blame your critics when it all blows up in your face.

Hey Diebold: It's blowing up in your face. Stop blaming the critics. You're just making a continuous jackass out of yourselves. And, trust me, you've got far worse problems coming your way that you ought to be worrying about.