Hacker group attempts to take credit for Project ORCA failure

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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A mysterious hacktivist group called The Protectors says it is responsible for Project ORCA’s technical failures on Election Day, even though it has offered no proof to support the claim.

Velvet Revolution and Justice Through Music, both activist organizations founded by convicted bomber-felon Brett Kimberlin, had offered a million dollar bounty to tech savvy people prior to Election Day to prove instances of tampering with voting machines.

Kimberlin, who has been extensively profiled by The Blaze and Time, made his foray into election-reform politics in order to prove that Republicans stole the 2004 presidential election.

The Protectors are claiming credit for ORCA’s failure, stating in a letter to Velvet Revolution — dated Nov. 8, and allegedly received by Velvet Revolution on Nov. 12 —  that the group sabotaged the Romney campaign’s efforts to win the presidency.

The timeline The Protectors offered in the letter to Velvet Revolution, however, contradicts accounts from both the Romney campaign and ORCA volunteers.

The hacktivists claimed that that their ORCA-killer program was launched at 10 a.m. EST on Election Day.

The Romney campaign, however, had told The Daily Caller that ORCA went down at 9:30 a.m. that morning, due to a high volume of traffic that resembled a hacker attack. The server stayed down for approximately 90 minutes.

ORCA campaign volunteers, including John Ekdahl and several others, attributed the server crash to a lack of proper pre-launch testing.

Another campaign volunteer who tried to access ORCA via an iPad told TheDC that the service was inaccessible until 5 a.m. on the morning of the election.

The Protector’s alleged firewall — The Great Oz, designed to block information coming from Ohio, Florida and Virginia — was supposedly turned on at 8 p.m.

The polls in Virginia and Ohio closed later than they were supposed to, but only because they were kept open due to long lines.

Internet speculation has led to attempts by netizens to attribute a possible connection to hacktivist group Anonymous, despite the situation lacking the usual fanfare for which Anonymous is known.

A video by Anonymous, published to YouTube on Oct. 22, has been presented as proof of that connection. Project ORCA, however, was not mentioned in the video.

Neal Rauhauser — left-wing activist, former Democratic consultant, and the enemy of numerous conservative bloggers, including Robert Stacy McCain — also postulated on his own blog as to The Protectors’ possible connection to Anonymous.

Velvet Revolution did not respond to TheDC’s request for comment.

TheDC has reached out repeatedly to the following top Romney officials with simple questions about who built Project ORCA for the campaign and how much it cost.  To date, the officials have either refused to comment, denied involvement, professed ignorance or become unreachable. Officials contacted include:

Matt Rhoades, Campaign Manager
Rich Beeson, Political Director
Dan Centinello, Director of Voter Contact
Kevin Rewkowski, Director of Technology
Zac Moffat, Director of Digital Strategy
Andrea Saul, Press Secretary
Lenny Alcivar, Director of Online Rapid Response
Justin Hart, Director of Special Digital Projects

Please send tips about Project ORCA to josh@dailycaller.com.

This article was updated after publication to clarify that The Protectors are not attempting to claim the $1 million reward Velvet Revolution offered.

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