/’Never heard of them’: Arizona GOP audit firm unknown even in home state – POLITICO

’Never heard of them’: Arizona GOP audit firm unknown even in home state – POLITICO

“Doug Logan? Cyber Ninjas? No. I don’t know these guys. Never heard of them,” said Christian Ziegler, vice chair of the Republican Party of Florida and a resident of Sarasota, echoing a dozen top Florida Republicans and elections professionals interviewed by POLITICO.

The firm’s relative anonymity is a curious anomaly in Florida, one of the nation’s biggest battlegrounds, where top political players are typically familiar with companies that provide election services and technology.

In a state like Florida — a place synonymous with razor-close elections and recounts for more than two decades — Cyber Ninjas’ absence of name identification and its lack of experience in election audits among insiders stands out. And it calls into question Arizona Republicans’ claim that the company is right for the controversial job of auditing the 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County, which encompasses the Phoenix metro area. The 2020 presidential results there have drawn national attention as a result of baseless claims of election fraud.

The Cyber Ninjas website does not indicate it has experience in election audits but instead markets itself to clients who want to be protected from hackers.

“While it often seems like [hackers] must be utilizing some dark ninja magic to accomplish their amazing feats; the reality is that most security breaches are conducted utilizing types of security vulnerabilities we’ve known how to prevent for over 10 years,” says the website, which features stock photos of ninjas and people at generic business meetings.

The Cyber Ninjas-led audit is being pushed by the GOP-led Arizona Senate — leading dubious Arizona Democrats to refer to it as a “fraudit.” It’s being largely conducted out of the view of reporters or independent observers. Cyber Ninjas asked a judge to keep the procedures of the process secret and also wanted to bar the press and public from the courtroom Monday for a hearing on the subject.

The so-called audit is one of the last dying gasps of Donald Trump’s supporters who continue to cling to the fiction that widespread fraud cost him the presidency in 2020. That conspiracy theory was advanced on the social media accounts of Cyber Ninjas and Logan himself before the posts were stricken.

The new audit will not change the 2020 election results in the state or nation, but it stands to further fuel claims of fraud in the Arizona election results.

In recent days, Trump has repeatedly hyped up the review in written statements that have also attacked Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, whom the former president hasn’t forgiven for his refusal to call the state’s election results into question. Official results reported Trump lost the state by just over 10,000 votes.

The state has been an obsession for Trump ever since Election Night when Fox News was first to project that Joe Biden would win the once-red state — a result in sync with pre-election polling that showed Biden with a narrow lead.

Maricopa County, which is controlled by a majority-GOP board of supervisors, released a forensic audit in February showing no irregularities were found.

Nevertheless, the GOP-controlled Arizona state Senate subpoenaed the ballots to do another review and hired four private firms to conduct the “audit,” which began Friday. Cyber Ninjas leads the team.

“These guys are well qualified, well experienced,” Arizona Senate President Karen Fann said of Cyber Ninjas, according to the Arizona Republic.

If the firm or Doug Logan gained that experience in Florida, it’s news to top Republicans there.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever stumbled across him or the company,” said Republican consultant Jamie Miller, a former state GOP executive director who lives in Sarasota.

“I’ve never heard of it,” said Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan, who first won his office in a squeaker of an election in 2006 marred by touchscreen voting machine problems. The state went on to ban the voting machines as a result of the congressional election.

Ben Gibson, a Republican attorney who represented Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in Florida’s 2018 senatorial and gubernatorial recounts, also hadn’t heard of Cyber Ninjas until now. Same with the top Florida Republican consultants Roger Stone, Ryan Tyson and Anthony Pedicini.

Top Republican election law attorneys Tim Baker and Dan Nordby also told Politico that Cyber Ninjas rings no bells. Florida’s top Democratic election law attorney, Mark Herron, said he only heard of the company when Rachel Maddow mentioned the name on her MSNBC show.

Barry Richard, who represented George W. Bush in Florida’s famed 2000 presidential election recount, and J.C. Planas, a former Republican lawyer and veteran of recounts, also knew nothing of the company.

Logan did not return calls or an email for comment. It’s unclear why his firm was chosen for the job.

According to the independent Arizona Mirror, Logan authored a document, bristling with conspiracy theories surrounding voting machine companies, that was posted on the website of lawyer Sidney Powell. She is now being sued by those voting machine companies, Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, along with a host of other Trump supporters for defamation.

The Arizona Republic newspaper also found social media posts from Logan and Cyber Ninjas that call into question their impartiality.

“The parallels between the statistical analysis of Venezuela and this year’s election are astonishing,” Logan wrote on Twitter in December, before deleting his account, according to the Republic.

In a statement issued to local press in Arizona, Dominion criticized Cyber Ninjas as a partisan audit.

“The firms selected to conduct this audit are beyond biased,” the statement said. “Publicly available information shows they are led by conspiracy theorists and QAnon supporters who have helped spread the Big Lie. Dominion supports all forensic audits conducted by independent, federally accredited Voting System Test Labs — but this is not that. Over a thousand independent audits and recounts have taken place across the country since Election Day, and they all demonstrated the accuracy and reliability of our voting systems.”

In Florida, a few GOP insiders couldn’t help but chuckle at the Cyber Ninjas name or its low-production-values website, which features stock photos of ninjas and people at generic business meetings.

“They’re ninjas,” said David “DJ” Johnson, former Florida GOP executive director. “When they snap their fingers, they just disappear. They need to get a special stone to do it, the absentee ballot stone. Once they have that stone, they can just fade into the wind.”

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