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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Maryland Resident, Former NSA Contractor, to Run for NH Governor

By: Samuel Eaton Apr 8, 2014
We reported last week that Walt Havenstein, a resident of Maryland, has filed to run for Governor in New Hampshire. New Hampshire’s Constitution clearly states that (emphasis added):

[Art.] 42. [Election of Governor, Return of Votes; Electors; If No Choice, Legislature to Elect One of Two Highest Candidates; Qualifications for Governor.] The governor shall be chosen biennially in the month of November; and the votes for governor shall be received, sorted, counted, certified and returned, in the same manner as the votes for senators; and the secretary shall lay the same before the senate and house of representatives, on the first Wednesday following the first Tuesday of January to be by them examined, and in case of an election by a plurality of votes through the state, the choice shall be by them declared and published. And the qualifications of electors of the governor shall be the same as those for senators; and if no person shall have a plurality of votes, the senate and house of representatives shall, by joint ballot elect one of the two persons, having the highest number of votes, who shall be declared governor. And no person shall be eligible to this office, unless at the time of his election, he shall have been an inhabitant of this state for 7 years next preceding, and unless he shall be of the age of 30 years.

So that made us wonder: who is Walt Havenstein and why is he running for Governor of New Hampshire?

Havenstein is the former CEO of tech company SAIC. From SAIC’s website:
SAIC consults on the design, development, and use of products, parts, and programs for a diverse array of government and enterprise missions. We help optimize infrastructure, engineering processes, operational approaches, and logistics and supply chain management by offering a wide range of business and mission strategy services, including:
  • Analysis, reporting, and consulting on national policy and technical business issues.
  • International security, defense, and cultural advisory.
  • Implementation of organizational change processes.
  • Government contract project management and program support.
He retired in June of 2012, but not before securing $5.9 billion dollars in federal contracts. That ranks them 4th in companies that received federal contracts.

It is no secret that SAIC is awarded billions of dollars a year in contracts, but what are these contracts for? According to Slate, SAIC may have been contracted by the government to place malware on Tor networks and websites (sometimes referred to as “dark web”). Dark web is usually used by journalists and activists who wish to transmit information anonymously. Sometimes, just like the regular web, it’s used for criminal activity.

The malware was used to collect data on website traffic and visitor information and activity and send it back to a data collection center. The IP address the malware was sending the information to was traced back to an address near Reston, Va. Further investigation found that a SAIC IP address, that was alloted to the NSA, was receiving the malware information.

Is it a coincidence that Havenstein announced his run shortly after gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hemingway announced his “Privacy First” platform?

From Hemingway’s Privacy First platform:

Outline: The concept of privacy is paramount in the protection of individual liberties.  The degree to which the government, either federal, state or local, corporations or curious individuals have the ability to gather information on anyone for any reason is the degree to which our privacy has been invaded.  Therefore, it is paramount that government must do everything in its power to prevent this incursion.  Government’s job should be to protect citizens from this intrusion and not to be the purveyor of it.  The advancement of digital capabilities and technology without legislative protection has led to an “open season” mentality on information and data collection. Whether it is through our medical and health organizations, our schools, or the blatancy of metadata collection by the National Security Agency (NSA), it is incumbent upon all government and political leaders to develop ways to protect the privacy of Americans and specifically, Granite Staters.