The Italian defense contractor switched American votes claim makes no sense

The latest conspiracy theory regarding fraud during the 2020 election involves a claim an Italian-based defense firm switched votes from soon-to-be ex-President Donald Trump to President-elect Joe Biden.

A breathless news release from Nations in Action vows arrested Arturo D’Elia teamed up with US Embassy in Rome officials to manipulate the vote. An alleged affidavit attached to the urgent release asserts D’Elia, who they claim is Leonardo SpA’s IT director, worked within the defense contractor’s Pescara firm in some sort of global plot against Trump. It vows the arrested worker is willing to provide a copy of the “original data and data switched” as long as he receives protection from Italian prosecutors. The late Robert Ludlum would be pleased with the creativeness, as would the developers of the Deus Ex video game series.

The problems with the allegations are plenty, however, as with many conspiracy theories, there’s a grain of truth.

Arturo D’Elia is a real person, formerly worked with Leonardo SpA, and under arrest in Italy on hacking accusations. The alleged hackings took place from 2015 to 2017 according to Naples prosecutors and involved sneaking out corporate data from Leonardo SpA. Most of it involved aircraft design and the personal information of employees. Leonardo SpA promised classified or strategic data wasn’t compromised and that they were cooperating in the probe.

Here’s where the ‘affidavit’ becomes fantasy. D’Elia is not the head of Leonardo SpA’s IT department. He’s a non-executive, according to Leonardo SpA, and listed as a security manager by Italian prosecutors. D’Elia’s alleged crimes involved Pomigliano D’Arco on the western side of the peninsula. Prescara is on the eastern side, however, there is no listed Prescara location on Leonardo SpA’s website meaning whoever created the fake legal document failed to do their research, hoped no one would care, or both.

Another issue is the ‘affidavit’s’ construction. There’s a special notary policy with Italian authorities something this document provided by Nations in Action fails to follow. It also features the region of Lazio, where Rome is located, but D’Elia is accused of hacking in Naples. Also, the professor/lawyer listed in the ‘affidavit’ appears to work out of Southern Italy and nowhere close to Rome or Naples. It would make more sense to get an attorney in Naples to serve as D’Elia’s witness, not four hours away. There is video from someone claiming to be D’Elia’s attorney reading the affidavit, but something about it doesn’t make sense.

One last concern involves the group Nations in Action allegedly worked with: Institute of Good Governance. It exists but is based out of Trinidad and Tobago with a North Carolina phone number. It also claims to focus on “organizational design,” “appraisal interviews,” and “Drafting Effective Jobs Descriptions.” Not exactly a group focused on exposing election fraud.

Why push this easily debunked conspiracy theory, then? The desire to make a quick buck? Hoping to keep Trump supporters enraged over the 2020 election for future electoral success? Destabilizing the Republic by making up stuff? Just plain fun? It’s just odd to propagate this sort of idea without an overlying motive.

Perhaps the worst part is how quickly this theory took root among some Trump supporters. Someone at the cigar store I visit discussed it over the weekend. Another person mentioned his wife was all over the theories on why Trump lost last year. It’s a bad look, especially considering Democrats spent four years complaining there was no way Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 without foreign interference.

Sometimes a loss is just a loss. Accept it, move on, and stop listening to quacks and grifters who have no other agenda but to cause trouble.

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