Mike Connell: A Trail of Questions At the End of the Road

[ed. - bumped on preliminary NTSB report - luaptifer]

The crash of Michael Connell's single-engine Piper last Friday leaves a somber Christmas season ahead for his wife and four children and ends the career of an information technology pioneer.  Connell's expertise drove the Republican Party onto the infotech highway of the Internet era in time to seat the most famous of his three Bush clients in the country's top office.

His death should mark the beginning of a thorough examination of his political role inside the technology infrastructures that elected and that supported an Administration so widely recognized for politicizing the machine of Federal governance and justice.   

For the Bush dynasty's RNC, Connell embodied a paraphrase of his favorite place -- he ~was~ the cutting-edge, not just at it.  His partnership with the Party and its most powerful operatives (now known as DCI Group among other names) gave its political and corporate leaders the Internet edition of mass communication 'astroturfing' tools by which to engineer the consent of the public.

His rapid rise in the Party as the Internet also transformed the RNC's ability to coordinate its operations meant that, as the Republican revolution asserted control over a Washington morphing into "dot gov", Mike Connell knew more than most about what can be done embedded inside of government IT systems. 

Over decades, Mike Connell has been more than a cybersurfer of government IT systems.  He engineered wires and operating systems and websites into the governments of Florida, Ohio, Texas, and the offices which regulate the most sensitive of each branch of US Federal government. 

But Mike Connell was nothing if not a partisan.  Even as most of the nation exulted in the change that Barack Obama's election signalled, Bob Fitrakis and Henry Wasserman report that Connell lamented:

"In our 230 year history, our democracy has suffered worse fates. It's just that none come to mind right now."

His important legacy still seems poignantly illustrated by the simple line image that we thought might focus the right attention to his work.

 http://intelligence.house.gov/images/ohgop_index_nline.gif  - 


(click to display a live copy of the gif image in a new browser window.)

Nearly two years after our report, the image misplaced by 'non-partisan' GovTech Solutions into the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence during website development for the Ohio GOP by partisan NewMedia Communciations (in 2004), is still greeting visitors to the Democratic majority-controlled bipartisan website.

After nearly a decade in which Karl Rove politically engineered the policy machine of Federal government, the death of embedded information engineer and Bush operative, Michael L. Connell, adds new questions to those already proven difficult to answer but that must still be asked.

Towards answering those questions, we've tried to make a comprehensive and chronological list of the reports by ePluribusMedia researchers and writers from our first report of how Mike Connell's two companies bridged the political firewall between GeorgeWBush.com and Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell's election.sos.state.oh.us Election Night reporting service benefitting the citizens of Ohio in the elections of 2004 and 2006. 

Please cross the line for more

The most recent item, at bottom, includes links to current articles from other sources, we hope to update this note with new reports.

Note: on March 26, 2010, we'll still be wondering whether the security lapse symbolized by this link ( http://intelligence.house.gov/images/ohgop_index_nline.gif ) will ever have been considered by House security analysts.  The reminder is still there almost three years after we first tried to make it obvious.

 [UPDATE: 12/24/08 - minor edits to include hyperlinks and clarify discussion of House Intelligence image - luaptifer]

[UPDATE: 01/14/09 - added new hyperlinks - luaptifer]

[UPDATE: 01/29/10 - added new hyperlinks - luaptifer]

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To any posters, please do not post any conspiracies about his death unless they are supported by facts.  Irresponsible "journalists" are spreading rumors that are insensitive and counter productive.  Ask any pilot and they will tell you he was landing in very tight conditions.

McClatchy's report on the deposition by Mike Connell (kudos to Greg Gordon: Computer expert denies knowledge of '04 vote rigging in Ohio) the day before the November election marked possibly the only time that commercial media has dared to consider the Connell story after we first tried to bring it to public attention. 

McClatchy's will to dare had drawn our respect in earlier work and Planet Washington has once more trodden where only they have gone before (Plane crash feeds conspiracy buzz),

Now, CBSNews.com's CBS Investigates has arrived a little late to the show (Republican IT Guru Dies In Plane Crash) and happened to miss ePluribus' entire body of work (see above) in what's otherwise a worthwhile consideration of important aspects of the story. 

RawStory is on the ground in Ohio with Former president of GOP IT guru's firm dismisses allegations of foul play where Randy Cole, GovTech President between 2005 and his run for office this year, says Connell never intimated exposure to threats despite a Cleveland television news report of what's now the third claim of risk to Connell.

Bradblog has coverage of Ohio Attorney Cliff Arnebeck's reaction to the death of the witness.  While mentioning that his request to 'the top career organized crime guy at Justice' didn't establish a spotlight of protection around Connell,"however it was caused", he considers Mike Connell's death a tragic event. 

Arnebeck's experience with Mike Connell in court was summarized simply, "Connell was a man of conscience" and anticipates that election fraud litigation will build upon his testimony.

 Attorney Arnebeck is scheduled to appear on Lou Dobbs show, tonight, December 23.

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

Just time for verbatim quote:

NTSB investigator Mitch Gallo examined wreckage and talked with witnesses on Tuesday, agency spokeswoman Bridget Serchak said on Wednesday. The agency still needs information from the air traffic controller, weather details and a radar study, she said. So far the investigation shows that the plane had no issues with flight control and there was no icing, Serchak said. The plane's propeller had damage that indicates the engine was operating when the crash occurred.


Indications are Connell died from massive traumatic injuries. Although the wreckage burned following the crash, Connell's body wasn't burned, the spokeswoman said.


"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson


I wish to thank-you for all the great work done on Mr. Mike Connell  death.

My open question to the press ,is why no statement from the white house ?

Did they not work with Mr. Connell for eight years.

Please keep up the good work


I can't get that image to open. A new window opens with a blank page.

The link still works on my browser but the image is tiny, of dimensions only 176 x 1 pixels. 

In fact, the two  lines shown in the original post, above, are loaded directly from intelligence.house.gov.  When they disappear is when we'll know that they've changed the image reference.

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

It was curious to read the Huffington Post's treatment of the Connell story and the dismissal of Luapt's and Todd's work(and others) as so much tin foil.  Even with the "update" that sort of apologizes for painting ePluribus ,Raw and others with such a broad brush, I still find myself puzzling over Edsall's comments. Being the student of human behavior that I am, I am want to question WHY? And a cursory query to Mr. Google gives me more than a whiff of possible journalistic taint to Edsall's egregious broadside.

Edsall may overcompensating for his monumental failure to cover the real story --and , in fact, he and his WAPO pals  ran down the alley of accusing Gore of trying disenfranchise the GI Joes overseas in order to win one of the elections that Connell was "in the middle" of , replete in his fervor to further the Republican cause as evidenced by his own words as has been well documented in these pages.  Edsall has extensively attempted to be the "voice" of authority on the Bush /Gore election through the "Deadline"series at the WAPO and also his "definitive" book on the subject--which ,somehow ,don't seem to mention any of the angles ePluribus has brought to light. He has an agenda and he is not interested in our facts.  I don't care how many awards he has--he could have been bought and sold just like Judy. MUST. CONTROL. SPIN. NOW.

This is an interesting interview with John Dean: http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20070309.html that demonstrates to me ,at least, that Edsall is rather taken with exploring the Republican party and is very concerned, as well he should be, about its viability.  But he hardly emerges in this and his other writings as a paragon of unbiased, fact-based reportage.  With all the funny business in the Ohio vote,  he and his colleagues in the Deadline series choose to highlight( regarding vote suppression) is that Gore was interested in restricting the absentee ballots?  Not exactly comprehensive in his scope.  And the assertion by some that Connell was a devout man of the Catholic faith and that is offered as some kind of evidence that he could never be involved in the "man in the middle" scheme is ludicrous.  I take the opposite tack --that is more on the side of evidence FOR a motive to engage in illegal vote rigging, e-mail destroying etc because he believed that what he was doing was ordained by God.  He would not be the first,  nor would he be the last religious zealot who does irreparable harm impelled by his "faith". "Nice", religious men with families do bad things every day.  I take the faith angle of defense as a "How DARE you assert that?" dodge, hoping to use the emotional plea to change the subject.
In my opinion, Edsall comes off like a GOP troll  attempting to manage this story by diminishing the validity of the reporting by accusing us to be tin foil hatters. It is a "Oh Piffle--those wacky libruls are at it again" dismissal.  Or at least it was an attempt at it until the push back. If any of the Connell story gets main streamed  then he looks like a chump who missed the story--despite his "definitive" version , or else he becomes Gannonesque in his posing and whoring to spin an official version for the Republicans under cover of " award- winning journalism".  And HE's who Huffpo has for a political editor?  Well, A.H. does like shiny things...like awards to give herself credibility.  Can someone point me to the Bat Boy Update page on HuffPo? It must be there somewhere. There are some fine writers on HuffPo but there is an increasing backwash of nonsense only worthy of the supermarket tabloids.


I was baffled by Edsall's need to just completely dismiss ePluribus Media ironically with not so much as an example to back up his claim. I wondered what truth was inconveniently nicked. 'Conspiracy' must be the new 'shrill.'

apology now at the same original story link.