Friday, April 13, 2007

Computergate, GovTech and SmarTech

A couple of posts down, I linked to a long piece published elsewhere in which I outline everything currently known about computergate (my preferred term) and the roles played by GovTech and SmarTech.

GovTech is a company that does IT work "behind the firewall" of government, even though it is run by a Bush family friend. I found that they once bragged about a project involving still-mysterious "complex internet communications" for the White House -- a gig they do not mention on their web site. This project potentially places GovTech at the heart of the growing email scandal.

SmarTech is the Chatanooga-based server that handles everything Republican. They were in charge of the GWB43 domain used by White House officials when doing shady business, in direct violation of the Presidential Records Act.

Rumor had it that GovTech and SmarTech were in some way linked. A tech-savvy reader named ViViDVeW has found a concrete link between the two firms:
Well Joe, if your looking for a connection between SMARTech and GovTech, here it is.

http://www.dnsstuff.com/tools/whois.ch?ip=64.203.97.226

Guess who's owns the IP that GovTech's web site is on. YUP. SMARTtech. It's in the same network block as all the servers that run gwb43, and for all the same reasons looks like its run from servers in the same datacenter in Chattanooga.
I hope someone passes this info along to congressional investigators.

The New York Times reveals the latest outrage: White House counsel Fred Fielding insists that official work done on private servers -- even though done in violation of the law -- is covered by executive privilege! So even if Congress finds the stuff, they cannot read it.
Mr. Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, issued a tart reply: "The White House position seems to be that executive privilege not only applies in the Oval Office, but to the R.N.C. as well. There is absolutely no basis in law or fact for such a claim."

Senator Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat who is spearheading the Senate inquiry into the prosecutors’ dismissals, said the Fielding letter "can be summed up in three words: ‘We are stonewalling.’"
Back to GovTech: The company is run by Bush family friend Michael Connell (technically, it is a "woman-owned business" in his wife's name). Connell, we learn, is part of a larger concern: A "specialized online advertising agency" called Connell Donatelli, Inc..

Take a look at their clients: Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth. The American Center for Voting Rights (the fake 'votER fraud" propaganda outfit exposed by Brad Friedman), Katherine Harris, FrontPage Mag and a host of others -- including the Friends of Mark Foley and the Log Cabin Republicans (!)

Mike Connell does this kind of work with one hand, while, with the other, he does IT work for Congress and, it seems, the White House. Something about this does not sit right.
Comments:
Joe, here's the chain in a nutshell.

Current White House Internet Director David Almacy came to the White House in April 2005.

Before that, Almacy used to work for GovTech.

We now know GovTech hosts its servers and mail with SmarTech.

We also know that gwb43.com and rnchq.com among others also host their servers and mail with SmarTech.

We also know that GovTech claims to have done work for the White House.

I'd like to know what work GovTech did for the WH, and if Almacy signeod off on it.

As an aside, we also learned from Citizens for Ethics in Washington (CREW) yesterday that the White House's own system (EOP.GOV) was not properly archiving and may have lost 5 million official e-mails.

Apparently this was brought to the attention of the White House in 2005, but nothing was done.

Did Almacy make this decision???

www.citizensforethics.org
 
Govtech Solutions, LLC filing with the Ohio Secretary of State was signed by Thomas J. Synhorst for DCI Group,LLC, member and Heather Connell, member. So, DCI Group, LLC is a member of the Govtech LLC.

Here's some stuff about DCI from Sourcewatch:

The DCI Group, LLC is top Republican lobby and public relations firm associated with telemarketing company Feather Larson & Synhorst DCI and the direct-mail firm FYI Messaging. The DCI group publishes the website Tech Central Station and has close ties to the George W. Bush administration. Incorporated in 1997 in Phoenix, Arizona, Timothy N. Hyde, Douglas M. Goodyear, and Thomas J. Synhorst are listed as the LLC's managers. In addition, Christopher A. Holt is listed as a member.

The DCI Group calls itself a “strategic public affairs consulting firm” and boasts that it handles corporate issues like political campaigns. “We are a political firm and all of our partners have political campaign experience. We thrive in competitive circumstances, and are used to fluid situations and tight deadlines,” their website claims. DCI Group offers services that include national, state and local lobbying; coalition building; and generating “grasstops” and constituent support for issues. The firm has been linked to several industry-funded coalitions that pose as grassroots organizations. Perhaps it comes as no surprise as DCI advertises its ability to provide “third party support” to clients. “Corporations seldom win alone,” the group’s website says. “Whatever the issue, whatever the target—elected officials, regulators or public opinion—you need reliable third party allies to advocate your cause. We can help you recruit credible coalition partners and engage them for maximum impact. It’s what we do best.”

It is interesting to note that an entity, DCI/New Media, LLC, was dissolved upon the 2001 merger with New Media Communications, Inc. (with New Media being the surviving entity). This is the New Media that is the sister firm to Govtech
 
You might be interested to read a bit of this (with signature page for the partnership between Connell and the then-DCI Group prinicpals including Synhorst to form DCI/New Media) and this short review of GovTech's earliest history in Tallahassee, FL and DCI's address in Washington.

I kind of like the fact that Ken Blackwell certified filings as the Secretary of State of Ohio.
 
According to someone at Coptix, the guys at this company might know something too:

http://episode49.com/portfolio/National-Republican-Senatorial-Committee.html
 



Oh yeah...in addition to Episode49, don't forget to look at the Bivings Group! They are mentioned here

http://episode49.com/portfolio/Republican-National-Committee.html


 
I would think "congressional investigators" might need help. Most of them I believe are just regular staffers.

You can find the name, position, & email of everyone on Henry Waxman's staff by going to the web site (sorry for the web site name...it isn't nice to Congress...but there is a utility there that is great for communicating with Congressional Staffers)www.outsourcecongress.org where someone has written a utility that looks up every staffers name!

Waxman's staffers, from that site are: Kim.Alfred@mail.house.gov,
Becky.Claster@mail.house.gov,
Patricia.Delgado@mail.house.gov,
Greg.Dotson@mail.house.gov,
Zahava.Goldman@mail.house.gov,
Karen.Lightfoot@mail.house.gov,
Amanda.Molson@mail.house.gov,
Karen.Nelson@mail.house.gov,
Phil.Schiliro@mail.house.gov,
Rachel.Sher@mail.house.gov

Simple huh? I'm going to stick my neck out & assume Henry's email is Henry.Waxman@mail.house.gov Just a hunch.

It looks like Phil Schiliro is his Chief of Staff...but heck...send the info to all his staff!

Do you really think the person assigned to firearms is busy with that topic this week? Probably not. Just get what you have to everyone!

Btw, SmarTech seems to have two colocated sites...they claim "Class A" operation & imply that they ave hot site failover/backup including electrical power. They're lying if they say they don't have copies of the emails. Looks like each email might even be traceable to PC Workstations by IP Address if the user chose to use the SQWebMail feature to authenticate via IP address. GO GET 'EM!
 
Executive privilage is claimed on a individual item basis not broadly, and it was waived when the information was sent to an outside server.
 
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