10 March 2005

Why do you think this hasnít this been investigated/reported on more widely?

A letter to Poynter Online wonders why this sworn affidavit by Florida software programmer Clint Curtis alleging his commission to create vote rigging software for Republican U.S. Congressman Tom Feeney hasn't received wider attention.

I alluded to this story in a comment within a previous article regarding the 2004 Ohio presidential voting, but I was unaware of the YEI (the company for which Mr. Curtis worked for) link to Chinese espionage and a dead inspector general:

Curtis also reported in his affidavit and to the Florida State Inspector General that YEI was employing an illegal Chinese alien by the name of Hai Lin "Henry" Nee who was inserting "wire-tapping modules" into sensitive database programs which YEI had built for NASA and other companies. Curtis also alleged that the brother of Mrs. Li-Woan Yang, the YEI CEO, had been a deported Chinese spy.

Since the time of Curtis' allegations, Hai Lin "Henry" Nee has been indicted, and pleaded guilty to charges of espionage related to attempting to send chips used in Hellfire anti-tank missile systems to China. The arrest was the result of a four year sting operation by the Homeland Security Office's Immigration and Customs Export (ICE) bureau. Although Nee admitted in his pleading to have sent such chips "ten to twenty times in the past year" to China, he was sentenced (10/2004) to just three years probation and a $100 fine!

Federal officials in the Florida Inspector Generalís report investigating claims by Curtis have confirmed that Nee was an illegal alien as of January 2000. Yet for reasons still unknown, Federal officials refused to disclose information on Nee's alien status to the Florida IG until after Nee's prosecution had concluded in October of 2004.

The original Inspector General assigned to the case, Raymond Lemme, had contacted Curtis in mid-June of 2003, after both Curtis and the other whistleblower on the case had been fired without cause Ė both on the same day. (Eventually, both of them would win their whistleblower cases against FDOT on the matter.) Curtis says in his sworn affidavit that Lemme had advised him in mid-June that he would be very happy about his upcoming report and he should keep his ears open for it because, he told Curtis, "this goes all the way to the top."

Two weeks later, Lemme was found dead in a Valdosta, Georgia motel room.

A lot of questions remain unanswered here, no doubt of that.

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