The plane crash that killed Republican information-technology expert Michael Connell is increasingly being placed in context with corruption that has plagued the Bush White House and sullied recent presidential elections.
That does not mean that the crash is anything other than an unfortunate and curiously timed accident. But journalists, lawyers, and activists with national influence are asking serious questions. And evidence continues to grow that Connell and his family felt threatened because of his possible testimony in an election-fraud lawsuit in Ohio.
Scott Horton, of Harper's magazine, puts the plane crash into a broader perspective with a piece titled "A Troubling Black Box Death:"
Michael Connell was well-known to those who follow the “black box” voting drama. A voting technology expert from Akron, Ohio, Connell faithfully served the Republican Party, and in particular its chief electoral guru, Karl Rove–faithfully, that is, up until a few months ago. Under subpoena and court order, Connell was compelled to testify about his role in managing the 2004 election tabulations in Ohio. In that race, Connell both served as information technology consultant to the Bush-Cheney campaign and, under contract with the state of Ohio, managed the vote tabulation from servers he maintained in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He emerged as the focal witness in the current controversy over voting machine manipulation in Ohio. In 2004 exit polls put Kerry on top, but official results in black box districts, strongly at variance with the exit polls, gave the state, and the race, to Bush. After Connell was reportedly threatened by Karl Rove, an attorney for the plaintiffs in the litigation appealed to Attorney General Mukasey for protection late last summer. Now Connell is dead, the victim of a crash on the approach of his plane to the Akron airport on Friday.
Horton notes that Connell's role in Republican IT activity went well beyond the 2oo4 election:
Mike Connell set-up the alternate email and communications system for the White House. He was responsible for creating the system that hosted the infamous GWB43.com accounts that Karl Rove and others used. When asked by Congress to provide these emails, the White House said that they were destroyed. But in reality, what Connell is alleged to have done is move these files to other servers after having allegedly scrubbed the files from all “known” Karl Rove accounts.
A number of experts believe that these "side" e-mail accounts, which Connell created, might hold the answers to what really happened in a number of critical elections over the past eight years or so. And they might shine considerable light on events that have sullied the reputation of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Telegraph of London reports on the Connell plane crash and the troubling questions it raises about the Bush Administration.
As a resident of Alabama, I was amazed to learn that some local television stations still practice serious journalism. WOIO, of Cleveland, presents the following substantive report on the Connell case: