Friday, August 18, 2023

Sidney Powell and the 'Coffee County Breach'

Sidney Powell graduated from Broughton High in Raleigh in 1973 as some kind of whiz-kid brainiac. She became famous later, after getting that law degree at UNC, for taking on high-profile clients with high-profile negative energy. She represented company executives in the Enron scandal and got more famous marching like a parade float into court with her client General Michael Flynn. She came off as formidable, almost majestic. Plus that voice of hers implied an implacable force. 

When you got to know her a little better, however, Sidney Powell seemed nutty.

She plays a prominent role in the latest Fulton County indictment, mainly involving what became known as the "Coffee County Breach," one part of Powell's apparent portfolia of snooping done for Trump in at least three states including Georgia, that involved hiring a computer forensics firm, Atlanta-based SullivanStrickler, to go in and take where possible (steal) elections data in order to prove ... fraud?

Powell signed the contract with SullivanStrickler on December 6th, 2020. A month later, SullivanStrickler had successfully (and illegally) taken "ballot images, voting equipment software, and personal voter information" from Coffee County machines and uploaded it to a SullivanStrickler server where it was further accessed and shared by persons known and unknown -- many people with connections to the Trump campaign.

It's unclear to me what specifically they were fishing for, but it's perfectly clear that they never found anything useful, or we would surely know by now.

So why Coffee County? Dunno. It's hardly urban and certainly not strategic for Trump's turning his fortunes around in the state of Georgia. Coffee County was already indisputably "Trump Country," with an elections supervisor already predisposed to be helpful. Which is probably why Coffee County elections supervisor Misty Hampton was indicted, along with Sidney Powell and a few others who invaded the elections office in tiny Douglas, Ga., and pulled off a heist.

How did Misty Hampton become so helpful to Sidney Powell's agents from SullivanStrickler? On January 7th -- curiously, the day after the January 6th insurrection in DeeCee -- a delegation of Trump operatives showed up at Misty Hampton's office, and she allowed them not only into her office but into the computers that held all the files. The resulting theft went on for days after that, even weeks, as SullivanStrickler agents hung around and returned again and again -- all detailed in the indictment.

Video surveillance of Coffee Co. elections office
on January 7, 2021. Cathleen Latham is center, facing camera, 
with white hair; Scott Hall is to her right in the dark blue jacket;
Misty Hampton is to Latham's left in the blue T-shirt.
SullivanStrickler operatives are unnamed

Coffee County Republican Party Chair Cathleen Latham -- a well known personality to Misty Hampton -- fronted the January 7th delegation and took the lead with introducing the SullivanStrickler agents to the office (for this and other overt acts, Latham was also indicted). 

Also present in the January 7th delegation was an interesting character named Scott Hall, a local bail bondsman who also seems to have doubled as a kind of freelance P.I. and bagman for the local Republican Party. Hall, according to the indictment, was hot to get in on the action. He volunteered his services to SullivanStrickler -- via Cathleen Latham. The indictment says that Hall escorted SullivanStrickler "engineer" Alex Cruce on a flight from Atlanta to the local Coffee County airport and got him to the courthouse, where they were soon joined by a whole team of SullivanStrickler operatives, identified in the indictment only as "unindicted co-conspirator" individuals 25, 26, 27, 28, and 29, whose identities have been sussed out by various reporters. The following is according to the Washington Post:

25, Doug Logan, somewhat famous as the CEO of Cyber Ninjas, the conspiracy hounds hired in Arizona for the feverish and fruitless search for any evidence of fraud;

26, Todd Sanders, who had been a Sidney Powell data miner already in Michigan and Nevada;

27, Conan Hayes, who was also active for Powell in other states, primarily Colorado, where three officials in Mesa County have been indicted after allegedly allowing Hayes into their offices to copy sensitive data in May 2021;

28, Jim Penrose, a cybersecurity consultant from Laurel, Md., who spent much of his career as a spook at the National Security Agency (according to his résumé obtained by the WashPost). After the 2020 election, Penrose spent Thanksgiving with numerous Trump allies at the South Carolina estate of attorney L. Lin Wood Jr.

29, Jeffrey Lenberg, 67, of Tijeras, N.M., a former employee at a laboratory operated for the National Nuclear Security Administration. "On a podcast called Conservative Daily, Lenberg said in September that he and Doug Logan directed elections supervisor Misty Hampton to carry out tasks on the elections equipment and “didn’t touch” it themselves.

Misty Hampton, Cathleen Latham, and Scott Hall are together named in the indictment for six individual acts to further the conspiracy (and isn't it obvious that the un-indicted individuals 25-29 are probably cooperating with the prosecutor?):

1. "Tampering with electronic ballot markers and tabulating machines."

2. Unlawful possession of ballots.

3. Computer theft.

4. Computer trespass: "Using a computer with knowledge that such use was without authority and with the intention of removing voter data and Dominion Voting Systems data."

5. Computer invasion of privacy.

6. Conspiracy to defraud the state.

So when you get right down to it, the Coffee County Breach looks a little wacko, not to mention useless for all the good it delivered (not) to Sidney Powell and her boss. One of the strangest episodes of the conspiracy, with plenty of local damage done.

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