|Romney headquarters in Boston,
site of the ORCA servers
The failure of a Republican get-out-the-vote Web application called ORCA has been well chronicled in the post-election press. But the progressive hacktivist group Anonymous claims ORCA actually was designed to steal the election, and Anonymous says it erected a digital firewall that prevented the theft in three key swing states.
Does President Barack Obama owe his re-election to the electronic handiwork of a group that is known for its shadowy videos featuring the face of a character from the film V for Vendetta? It probably is too early to know for sure what happened on election night. But Anonymous issued a pre-election video stating that it would be monitoring any actions by GOP strategist Karl Rove to steal the election, and the group now has issued a press statement claiming it did, in fact, block an effort to change vote totals in three different states--presumably Ohio, Virginia, and Florida.
If those three states had gone Republican, Mitt Romney probably would have won the election. Did a progressive firewall thwart Rove's plan to steal the 2012 election? And if so, was Anonymous the group behind the white-hat cybersleuthing effort?
Details are murky at the moment, but a source tells Legal Schnauzer that progressive groups kept a watchful eye on ORCA and did communicate with representatives from Anonymous in the days leading to the election.
The story is gaining traction across the Web. Consider these words from a Truthout report by Thom Hartmann and Sam Sacks:
If this is true, then the implications are enormous and could take down the entire Republican Party and finally wake Americans up to the fact that our privatized vote system is shockingly flawed and insecure. . . .
In an era of internet lulz and digital false flags, we must demand proof for these sort of claims made by Anonymous. But given Karl Rove’s history with elections in Ohio and the known vulnerabilities with our corporate owned electronic voting machines, there may be both smoke and fire with these election night allegations.
The watchdog group Protect Our Elections says it received a letter from a group calling itself "The Protectors." It's the same letter that Truthout and Wonkette identify as being a press statement from Anonymous.
What is the key point in the letter? Here is how Truthout describes it:
The statement reads, “We began following the digital traffic of one Karl Rove…After a rather short time, we identified the digital structure of Karl’s operation and even that of his ORCA. This was an easy task in that barn doors were left open and the wind swept us inside.” The “ORCA” that Anonymous is referring to in the press release is a massive, high-tech get-out-the-vote system created by the Romney campaign this year that will keep tabs on potential voters and coordinate with operatives to target who has and hasn’t voted yet on Election Day. . . .
But, according to Anonymous, ORCA had nothing to do with getting out the vote and everything to do with rigging the vote.
“We coded and created, what we call The Great Oz. A targeted password protected firewall that we tested and refined over the past weeks. We placed this code on more than one of the digital tunnels and their destination that Karl's not so smart worker bees planned to use on election night.”
What impact did The Great Oz have on election night? Here is how Truthout describes it:
Anonymous alleges these “digital tunnels” were leading to servers in three different states. The release goes on to detail what happened on election night as Rove’s operatives attempted to access these tunnels. “We watched as Karl's weak corrupters repeatedly tried to penetrate The Great Oz. These children of his were at a loss--how many times and how many passwords did they try--exactly 105.”
“Karl’s speared ORCA whale was breached, rotting with a strong stench across his playground, unable to be resuscitated,” claims Anonymous.
Perhaps the defining moment of the campaign came on election night when Rove, acting as an analyst for Fox News, refused to go along with his own network's call that Obama had won Ohio, and thus, the election. Did Anonymous cause Rove's moment of disbelief by foiling his plan to steal the election? Truthout addresses the question:
So might this have really been the reason for Karl Rove’s shock on election night? Under the guise of sophisticated get out the vote operation, had Rove and the Republican Party actually built up a massive system to steal the Ohio election, just like in 2004, only to have it thwarted at the last minute by a group of computer hackers?
It might be months, even years, before all of the facts are in on Election Night 2012. But watchdog groups and members of the progressive press are taking the Anonymous story seriously. States Protect Our Elections:
We are not in a position to vouch for the contents of this letter any more than we can vouch for the video by Anonymous warning Karl Rove not to rig the election. However, we can analyze that content under the prism of Mr. Rove’s history and facts over the past few weeks. We do so in the hope that this will lead to an investigation of Mr. Rove’s entire operation ala General David Petraeus. In that spirit, we provided this information to the FBI prior to publication, and followed up after publication. For years, we have campaigned for a complete investigation of Mr. Rove, and we have provided extensive legal memos and evidence to the FBI to support such an investigation.
We urge others who have information to about election tampering or other criminal violations by Mr. Rove, including violations of campaign finance laws, to provide that evidence to the FBI. We also urge people who gave money to Mr. Rove and his organizations to contact the FBI if they were misled, promised things that did not happen, or were otherwise defrauded.