Officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, are refusing to turn over electronic devices subpoenaed by the Arizona State Legislature this week, arguing that complying with the legislature’s lawful order would pose an unspecified “security risk” to “law enforcement data,” National File reported.
In a letter sent to Ken Bennett—the Republican-led state Senate’s audit liaison—Maricopa Deputy County Attorney Joseph La Rue wrote:
“While the County was delivering the subpoenaed material to the Senate’s custody on Thursday, April 22, 2021, MCAO was notified that delivering routers, or ‘virtual images’ of routers, posed a significant security risk to law enforcement data utilized by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office as well as numerous federal agencies.’”
“We had previously believed that the risk would be eliminated by redacting the law enforcement data on the routers and not producing it,” the letter elaborates. “But we were informed that redaction did not eliminate the risk. We also learned that if criminal elements or others gained access to this data, it might compromise county and federal law enforcement efforts and put the lives of law enforcement personnel at risk.”
“For the past week, we have attempted to find a solution that would allow the County to provide virtual images of the routers as we had planned. But we have been unable to find a way to eliminate the significant risks to MCSO and its state and federal law enforcement partners,” the letter continued.
Bennett told Just the News, the Senate’s subpoena requested “access or control of all routers and tabulators … used in connection with the administration of the 2020 election,” along with “the public IP of the [routers].”
Bennett said, “I don’t know why the routers in a tabulation and election center have anything to do with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office or numerous federal agency.” He added that “the sheriff’s department and the Maricopa County tabulation and election center aren’t even in the same building.”
According to Maricopa spokesman Fields Moseley, county IT professionals have determined that information stored in the routers “can be used as blueprints to intercept sensitive county data” across more than 50 different departments.
“The routers the Senate subpoena commanded the county produce support all of these departments, not just elections operations. This includes critical law enforcement data that, by law, cannot be disclosed, as well as Maricopa County residents’ protected health information and full social security numbers,” the spokesman said.
Moseley further explained that “providing the routers, or even virtual images of routers,” could endanger “sensitive data and the lives of law enforcement personnel,” then confirmed that “routers remain in the county’s custody for the time being.”
The audit came following a legal dispute between Maricopa County and the Republican-controlled state Senate, during which a judge ruled that the Legislature’s subpoenas for voting materials and equipment were “legal and enforceable.”
The audit, which began on April 23, is focused on the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. It comprises a recount of about 2.1 million ballots cast, a forensic audit of the voting machines, and follow-up interviews with voters. Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based firm, was assigned the task.
The hand recount, which focuses on the 2020 presidential election and the United States Senate race, will not affect the outcome since state officials and others have already certified President Joe Biden’s victory. Still, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann insisted that the audit is intended to restore confidence in the system and impact future legislative changes.
Democrats contend that two previous audits performed for the GOP-majority Maricopa County Board of Supervisors found no anomalies in the county’s 2020 election, branding it a “dangerous fishing expedition” that could fuel conspiracy theories about the election.
Arizona Democrats have attempted to stop the audit in Maricopa County and have recently reached a settlement with Cyber Ninjas. The audit firm would cease verifying the signatures on early mail-in ballots with the signatures on the voter registration file.