As controversy once again surrounds Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles with bombshell whistleblower allegations, West Orlando News has obtained a copy of a $10,800 cybersecurity investigation check signed by Cowles himself.
The check from Bill Cowles, Supervisor of Elections (Orange County, Florida), was issued on June 21, 2022 to RedBeard Intelligence & Investigations. The amount of tax dollars used for this investigation is serious, and a whistleblower said it was Cowles who later ordered this investigation to be stopped after receiving some of the information. See the signed check below.
This third party security investigation company allegedly confirmed that pirated software was found on Orange County Supervisor of Elections office systems and confirmed unauthorized access of HR, Legal and Supervisor of Elections Cowles’ emails as well as improper access to employees’ computers, according to the whistleblower. The third party investigation found downloading and accessing of multiple mailboxes (some of which included PCI, PII, HIPAA and financial information of employees).
The report was shared with Supervisor Bill Cowles in June, according to the whistleblower. Apparently, Supervisor Cowles allowed the Elections Manager to resign with full benefits after one month of paid administrative leave, the whistleblower added.
West Orlando News has requested a copy of the RedBeard investigation, and a copy of the executive summary or any portion stating the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office was clear of any threats, but Cowles blocked any further related records from being released. Supervisor Cowles’ office is exempting the records as “confidential” and cites Florida’s cybersecurity act.
“The record requested is confidential,” the Records Department at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections said.
Per information received by West Orlando News, the Elections Manager insisted during the course of their exit interview that it was a previous director who instructed him and the Technical Services Manager to download sensitive election data on various thumb drives and that they were just following orders. The internal investigation allegedly found reports of anywhere from 1 to 6 thumb drives that were lost over the years under Supervisor Cowles. Each thumb drive contained the data base with voter information for ALL voters in Orange County. The exact number is unknown because there was no tracking or management of the thumb drives, according to the whistleblower.
The thumb drives were allegedly given to temporary employees days before the election and they were allowed to take them home with them. West Orlando News has been told the thumb dives were created by temporary employees reporting to the Technical Service Manager. The password for the database had not been changed for many years (5+ maybe as many as 10). Because there was no tracking or management of thumb drives created by temporary employees, there is no way of knowing how many may have been lost or stolen.
However, the topic of the RedBeard investigation is clear, as the reference note on the check clearly states “CYBERSECURITY” by the Orange County Supervisor of Elections.
Here’s a copy of the check obtained by West Orlando News through public records requests:
This is a developing story, stay tuned for more breaking updates regarding the whistleblower elections information.