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Monday, November 22, 2021

FBI Investigating Attempted Breach of Lake County Election Data Tied to Republican Commissioner

Posted By on Mon, Nov 22, 2021 at 9:51 AM

click to enlarge Data from the breach was shared at a summer conference hosted by Mr. MyPillow Mike Lindell - GAGE SKIDMORE/FLICKRCC
  • Gage Skidmore/FlickrCC
  • Data from the breach was shared at a summer conference hosted by Mr. MyPillow Mike Lindell

The FBI along with state and local officials are investigating an attempted breach of election data in Lake County, OH, the Washington Post reported this weekend.

The breach occurred on May 4, the day of the spring primary election, and involved a private laptop being connected to the county's servers in the office of Republican John Hamercheck, chairman of the Lake County Board of Commissioners. According to public records obtained by the Washington Post, Hamercheck used his county ID badge to swipe into the office during the six-hour stretch when the attempted breach was made.

Data from Lake County was shared at a conference touting election fraud lies in August hosted by Mr. MyPillow Mike Lindell with "research" provided by Douglas Frank, a one-time fringe conspiracy theorist who has in the last year has gone MAGA mainstream and been invited by Donald Trump to speak at rallies. Officials in Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose's office began investigating immediately after and subsequently referred the matter to state and federal authorities.

Lindell, when contacted by the Post, denied any role in the data breach in Ohio or one in Colorado that has also drawn attention from officials.

Franks, for his part, said he's met so many local officials in his quest to prove the 2020 election was rigged that he couldn't remember specifically talking with Hamercheck, but said, “Do I remember that call? No. Does it sound like me? Yes.”

"I deliberately protect my clerks. I don’t want anybody to know who they are,” Frank told the Post when asked how many local officials have bought into his claims about rigged voting.

Hamercheck told the Post he was advised not to talk about the investigation but said, “I’m aware of no criminal activity.”

The good news is this appears to have been not only an amateur job but also one that was stymied by IT defenses. Hamercheck's access to the county's servers, for instance, didn't include access to the board of election's server, which is behind a firewall, and cyber experts interviewed by the Post said the data that was captured contained "no sensitive information."

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose told the Post: “It’s concerning that somebody would — especially somebody in a government office, somebody who is an elected official, or somebody who’s part of county government — would not realize all of those safeguards exist and would try to engage in some sort of a vigilante investigation. The good news is that our system of cyber security in Ohio is among the best in the nation.”

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