Cyber Ninjas’ emails touch on irony, deceit, challenge coins

By Robert Anglen and Ryan Randazzo | Arizona Republic

A “journalist” who raised money for the Arizona Senate’s election review tried to muzzle the media.

A fake elector from Pennsylvania ran the floor where ballots were being counted inside Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

An announcement partly crafted by Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan sought to trick supporters of an election conspiracy theorist.

These facts — along with encrypted communications, the planned purchase of challenge coins and a meeting at a swanky Philadelphia restaurant — were  all part of efforts to “audit” 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County’s 2020 election.

Newly released documents reveal a tangle of partisanship, irony and deceit involving the the people hired by the Senate to lead the election review, indicating it was anything but impartial.

The emails were released by Logan, whose company was hired by the Senate as its lead audit contractor and who has fought for months to prevent the records from being made public. 

Cyber Ninjas and its subcontractors were paid millions by nonprofits set up by Trump allies and prominent figures in the “Stop the Steal” movement. 

Logan in September confirmed the hand count showed Trump lost the election. But his reports to the Senate minimized the ballot counts and instead raised questions about the county’s election process and voter integrity that were later repudiated by election officials.

Cyber Ninjas CEO and audit leader Doug Logan testifies at the Senate hearing on the progress of the election audit in Maricopa County at the Arizona Senate in Phoenix on July 15, 2021.

The Arizona Republic last year requested emails, text messages and all other communications from Cyber Ninjas and the Senate. When they refused, The Republic and a left-leaning watchdog group called American Oversight filed lawsuits alleging violations of the Arizona Pubic Records Law.

A judge in January ordered Logan to turn over all records and communications related to the audit and fined his company $50,000 a day until he complied. The fines now total more than $4 million.

The few hundred documents released so far are only a fraction of the 60,000 or so the company estimated at one time were in its possession.

Many of the emails are partial conversations, with perhaps two or three emails between people involved in the review, but not the entire conversation. Sometimes the partial information being provided creates more questions than answers about the proceedings last year.

The emails also make clear that Logan was using an encrypted app to communicate with key figures in the audit, making it likely that no records exist of those conversations. 

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