August 29 - Could Putin Hack the Election For Donald Trump?; The Vulnerability of America's Voting System; Growing Awareness of America's Toxic Ties to Saudi Arabia

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Full Program


Part 1

We begin with the alarming possibility that a hostile foreign government has already hacked into the election databases in two states and could do so again on a larger scale in November, possibly swinging the election for Donald Trump. We begin with the President of Verified Voting, Pamela Smith, who is the co-author of “Counting Votes 2012: A State by State Look at Election Preparedness”. She joins us to discuss the FBI warning that foreign hackers believed to be Russians penetrated the election systems in Illinois and Arizona months ago, extracting information on 200,000 voters in Illinois while inserting malware into Arizona’s voter registration database. We examine the vulnerabilities of the various state voting systems, more and more of which are adapting to verifiable paper ballots, and assess whether, given that Donald Trump has already said the November election will be rigged, Trump’s supporter in the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin, could rig the election for him by hacking America’s 2016 election.

Part 2

Then we investigate the hacking of voter rolls further with Dan Wallach, a professor in the systems group at Rice University’s Department of Computer Science who manages Rice’s computer security lab. An expert on the security of electronic voting machines who was part of the team at Princeton University who demonstrated the vulnerability of electronic voting machines, he joins us to look into how easy it is to hack the touchscreen DRE machines and, since a provision of the Help America Vote Act passed after the Florida 2000 debacle was to put voting rolls online, how easy it is for hackers, foreign or domestic, to manipulate the voting rolls.

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 Part 3

Then finally, following a major article in The New York Times and an editorial in Sunday’s New York Times that looks into the growing ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, we get an update on the growing awareness in the Press about the pernicious role America’s so-called ally Saudi Arabia has played in promoting its radical and reactionary Wahhabi sect of Islam. An expert on Wahhabi Islam, Saudi politics and Saudi-American relations, Ali Al-Ahmed, the founder of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, joins us to discuss a growing awareness of this troubled if not toxic relationship between the U.S. and the family-run government of Saudi Arabia.