Posted by on August 23, 2021 9:50 pm
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FBI joins DA criminal investigation into Colorado county voting machine password leaks

FBI joins DA criminal investigation into Colorado county voting machine password leaks

Originally appeared on the Washington Examiner:

Officials in Mesa County, Colorado, confirmed Tuesday that local prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into the county clerk’s office after a breach in security protocol resulted in elections equipment passwords being published online.

Republican Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubenstein and his office “obtained and executed search warrants” to process evidence as part of the investigation into how the sensitive information was accessed, a county spokesperson told the Washington Examiner.

The district attorney’s office is “in the process of identifying and interviewing potential witnesses,” the spokesperson added.

The FBI is also involved in the investigation, a spokesperson for the agency’s Denver office told CNN Tuesday.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who announced her own investigation into the security breach on Aug. 9 after the passwords appeared on the social media site Telegram, implicated County Clerk Tina Peters and two others on Monday as responsible for the security breach.

Griswold’s office said her investigators determined the online images revealing election equipment passwords were taken from a county election server on the evening of May 23 “outside of normal work hours” by Peters and an employee in her office who was initially unnamed. The secretary’s office on Tuesday identified the employee as Sandra Brown.

Griswold’s office identified the third person accused of accessing the county equipment as Gerald Wood, who attended the county’s trusted build installation on its Dominion Voting Systems machines on May 25 despite not being unauthorized to be there.

The Washington Examiner contacted Peters for comment.

As a result of the investigation, Griswold issued an order “effective immediately” on Tuesday appointing Mesa County Treasurer Sheila Reiner to supervise the county’s elections and also established a three-person advisory committee to include state Rep. Janice Rich, Ouray County Clerk and Recorder Michelle Nauer, and former Secretary of State Bernie Buescher to advise and assist Reiner in the role.

Peters and her staff “will take any and all lawful direction from Ms. Reiner and any other Secretary of State designee on any and all election matters,” Griswold’s office said in announcing the order.

The announcement added it was necessary for Griswold to appoint someone to a supervisory role quickly to ensure the county could purchase and certify new equipment before Aug. 31, a deadline she gave when she issued an order prohibiting Peters and the county from administering future contests with the elections equipment involved in the leak incident.

Griswold said in the Aug. 12 order that investigators found video surveillance of the voting systems was turned off before May 25 and not turned back on until August, which prevented them from using footage to confirm the equipment’s chain of custody to determine the source of the leaked passwords. The order said the evidence suggested Peters’s office directed the surveillance cameras to be turned off.

Peters, who has publicly asserted it is simple to over-tabulate votes fraudulently in favor of a preferred candidate, has been propped up as a whistleblower by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, whose own accusations of 2020 election fraud have subjected him to a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems. That was followed by Lindell filing his own lawsuits against Dominion and another voting machine company , Smartmatic.

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