On Friday, October 1, Guy B. wrote in response to “Who edited the final Maricopa County final audit report?” Here’s what he said:
Please check the Gateway Pundit (http://tilnyurl.com/2mdj7akn) article where the head contractor of Cyber Ninjas, Doug Logan says the draft you quoted is a fake, and that the paragraph with the total numbers, etc., was never part of the report. I expect to see a correction from you.
Thanks for writing, Guy, but I really don’t think a correction is warranted here. Certainly an update and a rationale for what we said, but not a correction. And we also still have questions.
In fact, that’s how our commentary in the September 28 morning edition started out, with questions. As we later responded to another reader, Howard A., who said we’d been “trolled” by a fake report, we had not just swallowed this story as some conservative sites had. Since we didn’t know how much credibility to give it, we used obvious qualifiers such as “IF this is true...” and “It has been reported...”
We specifically said, “NO ACCUSATIONS [emphasis added here], just questions.” So there is nothing to issue a correction for. All we were doing was asking questions and, in this age of fake news, trying to find out if it was true. As we told reader Howard A., “If just calling for answers is going to be criticized, there is little hope for enlightening discourse in this country.”
Even the headline, “Who edited the Maricopa County final audit report?”, was phrased as a question and worded so as not to accuse anyone of altering the report. Whoever was in charge of the final edit either did or not leave something out. We were in no position to say, but we wanted to know who was in charge of that final edit as we continued our questioning of the process.
The one reason we were inclined later on to give the report some credibility is that we’d gone to Patrick Byrne’s own website and found it there. According to reports, Byrne is THE biggest financial contributor to the Cyber Ninjas for the forensic audit, having raised $3.5 million for that effort. You’d think he, of all people, would have seen that word “decertification,” known the auditors hadn’t called for that, and recognized a fake audit report. But no, he put it on his “Deep Capture” website and also on Locals.com. As of this writing, it is still there.
We tend to think of Byrne not taking down that report as Sherlock Holmes might think of the dogs not barking. In itself, it’s not evidence of anything, but it’s something we still want to look into. The Arizona Senate is saying the document is not real –- that there was never a draft that talked about decertification –- yet the major financier for Cyber Ninjas apparently still maintains it’s real. That seems odd, so, naturally, we have questions –- the biggest one being, if that earlier version of the report is indeed fake, who gave it to Byrne? (It looks as though he’s the one who provided it to THE GATEWAY PUNDIT.) And why has BYRNE not issued a correction or removed the post?
THE GATEWAY PUNDIT did indeed made accusations, starting with the headline “Arizona Audit Final Audit Report Was Watered Down.” So in that case, if the earlier draft is a fake, a correction on their part is appropriate. We quoted from the draft but allowed from the beginning that the document might not be real.
Here’s the story in the WASHINGTON EXAMINER about the Senate’s announcement that the document was not real. Rather than decertifying the vote in Arizona, what the Senate has actually done is turn the audit over to the state attorney general’s office for further investigation. State Attorney General Mark Brnovich says he will take all actions he has the authority to do if the evidence warrants it.
Rod Thomson, a spokesperson for Cyber Ninjas, said that “the exact origin of the false report is unknown” and that no such version was ever sent to the Arizona Senate for review. So, again, the mystery to us is how that “false” version ended up being posted by Patrick Byrne.
The Executive Summary of the audit by Cyber Ninjas –- the REAL one, as far as we can tell –- does not call for outright decertification but does say that the County failed to cooperate and even actively interfered with their audit research, to the point where “full audit results validating the 2020 General Election are necessarily inconclusive.” The auditors recommend that “several specific findings of our audit be reviewed by the Arizona attorney general for a possible investigation.”
So, what do you know? Both the fake report and the real report say the auditors can’t validate the election results. Conveniently, the story about a fake report and conservatives getting “trolled” is a great way to pull attention away from the seriousness of the real report.