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The DOJ/FBI Expands the Election Integrity Narrative With 2022 Election Day Program

While More Specific, the Inside Threat is Not Addressed In Election Day Program

 You might recall that last week, the FBI warned, and mainstream media quickly magnified, concerns of threats against election workers, volunteers, and officials, because according to the FBI, free and fair elections are the cornerstone of American democracy. Individuals who oversee and participate in the administration of elections, including poll workers, volunteers, and election officers, help safeguard the integrity of the democratic process.  Specific examples of election workers identified by the DOJ in the warning, it includes:

  • A Secretary of State or someone in their staff
  • An employee of a state or county’s board of elections
  • An individual volunteering at polling stations
  • Clerks handling and counting casted ballots

And according to the Department of Justice, the DOJ in close partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, established the Threats to Election Workers Task Force (Task Force) to identify, mitigate, and investigate reports of threats targeting election workers. The Task Force receives and assesses reports of threats targeting election workers to determine next steps, in consultation with the Department of Justice.

While the mainstream media pounced on the Election Integrity narrative with vanilla headlines and without asking a single question.  At first it appeared there were no takers.  As the day progressed, the media did pick up the story with the headlines designed to provide what their audience wanted to hear:  Like WVNCTV “Program ready to stop Fraud, protect rights.” Or KCRG’s “Election Day Program Seeks to Thwart Voting Discrimination and Intimidation.”  On closer examination, we noticed that the press releases coming from the Department of Justice announcing the Election Day Program all had similar headlines: United States Attorney Announces Election Day Program, except that the one coming out from the Southern District of West Virginia reads as follows: United States Attorney’s Office Implements Election Day Program to Stop Fraud and Protect Voting Rights. Why only Virginia uses a different hheadline? No, we faulted last week’s FBI’s  warnings for not addressing the higher risk vulnerability:  The Inside Threat

Vanilla Election Integrity Headline

Today’s 2022 Election Day Program advances the narrative and still falls short. It states that the DOJ  has an important role in deterring and combatting discrimination and intimidation at the polls, threats of violence directed at election officials and poll workers, and election fraud.  The Department will address these violations wherever they occur.  The Department’s longstanding Election Day Program furthers these goals and also seeks to ensure public confidence in the electoral process. Federal law protects against such crimes as threatening violence against election officials or staff, intimidating or bribing voters, buying and selling votes, impersonating voters, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes, and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input.  It also contains special protections for the rights of voters, and provides that they can vote free from interference, including intimidation, and other acts designed to prevent or discourage people from voting or voting for the candidate of their choice.  

Election Day Program Headlines – Different for Virginia

As the DOJ seeks to ensure public confidence in the electoral process, we get the news that no one involved in the Russia Dossier plot designed to interfere with the 2016 elections has been held to account. Just yesterday, Igor Danchenko accused of lying to the FBI about his role in the creation of the dossier was acquitted. This was the third case brought by Special Counsel John Durham as part of his probe into how the FBI conducted its own investigation into allegations of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Recall the FBI offered Christopher Steele $1 million to prove the dossier claims. Then there is the FBI’s tone-deaf ‘Trust In Me‘ Public Service Announcement.

 “Ensuring free and fair elections depends in large part on the assistance of the American electorate. It is important that those who have specific information about voting rights concerns or election fraud make that information available to the Department of Justice,” said United States Attorney Will Thompson.  He added  “The franchise is the cornerstone of American democracy,” Thompson said. “We all must ensure that those who are entitled to the franchise can exercise it if they choose, and that those who seek to corrupt it are brought to justice.  In order to respond to complaints of voting rights concerns and election fraud during the upcoming election, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, AUSA Goes will be on duty in this District while the polls are open.

In case of a crime of violence or intimidation, you are advised to call 911 immediately and before contacting federal authorities. State and local police have primary jurisdiction over polling places, and almost always have faster reaction capacity in an emergency.

As we like to say often, A Security professional’s worse nightmare is Insiders with Motive. Insiders with Motive have #MOM – Motive, Opportunity & Means to commit any crime, including voter fraud, A motive can be money, power, revenge, jealousy, political partisanship and so on. Earlier this year the FBI issued a warning titled “Mitigating Threats Posed by Russian State-Sponsored Cyber Actors’ Exploitation of Default Multifactor Authentication Protocol and “PrintNightmare” Vulnerability” encouraging all organizations to take enable, enforce, and properly configure MFA as well as prioritize patching of known exploited vulnerabilities. Yet Dr. Anna Gabrielian, Johns Hopkins anesthesiologist, and Major Jamie Lee Henry, US Army, Fort Bragg, NC., were indicted for trying to provide medical information about U.S. military members to the Russian Federation.  

The takeaway is that anyone in the election process, from United Postal Service Workers to, IT workers, Electoral Registration Forms Officials, if not monitored properly, can create the most damage and we do not see the DOJ/FBI actively protecting against this threat.

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