New documents obtained by the media suggest that the Democrat National Committee played an integral role in the development of the sketchy vote tabulation app that malfunctioned last week during the still-inconclusive Iowa Caucus.
After the fallout from the failed caucus, the Democrat National Committee tried distancing itself from the app, with DNC chair Tom Perez seemingly laying the blame for the debacle solely on the Iowa Democrat Party.
What happened last night in Iowa should never happen again. We have staff working around the clock to assist the Iowa Democratic Party to ensure that all votes are counted.
— Tom Perez (@TomPerez) February 5, 2020
Enough is enough. In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.
— Tom Perez (@TomPerez) February 6, 2020
But according to contract documents reviewed by Yahoo News, that’s not the case.
“An unaffiliated Democratic operative in Iowa provided Yahoo News with a copy of the contract between Shadow and the Iowa Democratic Party,” the outlet reported Thursday.
“The contract, which was signed on Oct. 14, 2019, and refers to Shadow as the ‘Consultant,’ specified that the company had to work with the DNC and provide the national party with access to its software for testing.”
Available for review below, the contract explicitly states that the DNC would be provided with “continual access to review the Consultant’s system configurations, security and system logs, system designs, data flow designs, security controls (preventative and detective), and operational plans for how the Consultant will use and run the Software for informational dissemination, pre-registration, tabulation, and reporting throughout the caucus process.”
In other words, the contract granted the DNC “extensive oversight” over the app’s development, as reported by Yahoo.
“An email provided to Yahoo News also appears to show that Seema Nanda, the CEO of the DNC, and Kat Atwater, the national party’s deputy chief technology officer, were involved in drafting the contract and requested the addition of the provision that gave them access to Shadow and the app,” Yahoo News added.
But when questioned about this email, DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa reportedly disputed the notion that the committee was interested in supervising the app’s development.
“We requested access to the tool solely for the purpose of doing security testing,” she said. “The DNC drafted broad language to make sure whatever vendor IDP ultimately hired was required to work with the DNC’s cyber-security consultant.”
“We did not build the application, nor did we provide ‘oversight’ of its development — that’s the vendor’s responsibility. We only provided security assistance.”
Yet it now appears that this very same “security assistance” played a key role in engendering the “chaos” that erupted because of the app’s failed performance during the caucus.
“The reporting app that is getting a large share of the blame for the chaos surrounding Monday’s Democratic caucus results was working until the national party required the installation of a security patch less than 48 hours before the first-in-the-nation contest,” The Des Moines Register reported two days after the caucus.
“The update is believed by some Iowa Democratic Party staffers to be the reason for a mismatch between the app’s coding and the state party’s computerized verification system that caused omissions in the results.”
ProPublica further confirmed last week that it is plagued by “vulnerabilities.”
“The IowaReporterApp was so insecure that vote totals, passwords and other sensitive information could have been intercepted or even changed, according to officials at Massachusetts-based Veracode, a security firm that reviewed the software at ProPublica’s request,” the left-wing watchdog group reported. “Because of a lack of safeguards, transmissions to and from the phone were left largely unprotected.”
These findings were so shocking that even radical socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez felt compelled to take a shot at the DNC for its shoddy “oversight” work:
Candidate preferences aside, the integrity of our primaries are incredibly serious. We cannot afford to be pointing fingers- we need to pinpoint solutions.
If the DNC was responsible for security and there were security failures, we need to address that.https://t.co/ix4cK71v7W
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 13, 2020
What’s particularly concerning is that, according to Yahoo, the DNC had plenty of “opportunity to foresee some of the problems” that eventually arose.
“One provision in the contract says Shadow would provide ‘monthly written updates to the DNC regarding the Software status and timeline for implementation.’ It also required Shadow to work with outside consultants and cybersecurity specialists, which the DNC could ‘choose in its sole discretion,'” the outlet reported.
The DNC reportedly did force Shadow to work with an outside cybersecurity firm. And interestingly, that same firm has “blamed the DNC and its security consultants for some of the issues that took place with reporting the results on caucus night,” according to Yahoo.
“They had a lot of thoughts and feelings on how this app was supposed to function, and I think there was advice that was given that led to the difficulties you saw on caucus night with people being able to log in,” a source who worked on the caucus claimed. “The security steps that were taken made it difficult for an even technologically apt person to log in.”
As of Friday, Feb. 14, no winner had been declared in the Iowa Caucus, though the two candidates whom so many in the media had presumed stood the highest chances of winning the Democrat nomination — Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden — were in third and fourth place, respectively …
Meanwhile, the DNC has sparked further anger by purposefully changing its debate rules so that rising presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, can participate in future Democrat debates.
Learn more below:
DNC Chair @TomPerez has changed the pivotal 2020 debate rules midstream, after saying last month:
“We made the rules, they were very transparent, they’re very inclusive — and we can’t change the rules midstream.”
Our report tonight:https://t.co/hqSlpQqnbh
— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) February 14, 2020
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