SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s Cyber Symposium concluded Thursday without producing the promised proof that China hacked the 2020 presidential election and switched votes to President Biden.
Mr. Lindell still claims to have 37 terabytes of “irrefutable” evidence that hackers, backed by China, broke into election systems, but he didn’t explain why his conference fell flat.
“I know you all got here and I don’t know what the expectations were,” Mr. Lindell said as the sun began to set on the three-day symposium. “Things really changed up and down through the three days. I hope you all were fed good.”
Mr. Lindell provided three free meals per day for the roughly 500 attendees.
No one from Mr. Lindell’s team conceded that they did not produce the key evidence backing his China-hacking claims. For months, Mr. Lindell trumpeted his cyber evidence and predicted that the revelations at his symposium would prompt Mr. Biden to resign and restore former President Donald Trump to the White House.
His story, however, began to unravel on Day Two of the symposium.
As first reported by The Washington Times, Josh Merritt, a cyber expert on the “red team” hired by Mr. Lindell to interrogate the data for the symposium, admitted that the packet captures are unrecoverable in the data and that the data, as provided, cannot prove a cyber incursion by China.
“So our team said, we’re not going to say that this is legitimate if we don’t have confidence in the information,” he told The Times on Wednesday.
Attendees had been promised an in-depth review of the proof.
By Thursday morning, the cyber experts hired by Mr. Lindell were raising alarms about the alleged cyber-sabotage of the data.
Phil Waldron, the head of the “red team,” said his team received credible information about a “poison pill” inserted into the data. He did not clarify what specific data the alleged poison pill is targeting and whether it is the specific data being analyzed by the experts in attendance.
Mr. Lindell has said he was approached in early January by multiple people who said they had intercepted network data or “packet captures” in real-time on Election Day. He said this data provides “objective proof” of a cyberattack. He hired a team of experts, who spent months validating the material and organized the symposium to present the evidence.
Leading up to the seminar, Mr. Lindell had displayed a video of scrolling, incomprehensible text, which he claimed were the packet captures he had received — proof, he claimed, of his China hacking theory. The video was featured in his documentary “Absolute 9-0” and was played on loop on screens throughout the convention center during the symposium.
Cybersecurity expert J. Kirk Wiebe, a former senior National Security Agency analyst and whistleblower, also said that Mr. Lindell did not have the actual data sets.
Mr. Wiebe said the scrolling text was likely meant to resemble what the packet captures would look like in the data set but were not actual packet captures, which are vital to prove the claims.
Mr. Waldron clarified Mr. Merritt’s remarks by stating that the team received only a small portion of the data that Mr. Lindell claims to have and that the remaining data could contain the needed elements to prove China hacked the election.
The symposium marked a culmination of months of Mr. Lindell’s highly publicized claims of election fraud. Those claims were widely discredited and cost him significantly financially and in terms of reputation.
Mr. Lindell has produced several documentaries outlining claims of election fraud that are posted on his website. Including “Absolute 9-0,” in which he outlined the specific claim that is the subject of the cyber symposium.
He livestreamed the full duration of the symposium on his website FrankSpeech.com and said he hoped to attract 1 billion viewers. Mr. Lindell said on Thursday that he reached 40 million viewers.
All walked away without the “irrefutable” proof they were promised.
As the symposium drew to a close, cyber expert Doug Gould, who is not on the Lindell payroll, told the crowd that it would take more time to investigate the data. Mr. Gould was one of the internet sleuths who attended the event and parsed the data over the three days.
He said it would likely take three weeks to find anything meaningful in the data.
“I’ve been working with the team here looking at the data,” Mr. Gould told the post-lunch crowd that was dominated by state lawmakers from all 50 states. “And I think one of the things that is perhaps a missed expectation that I want to explain to everyone.
Mr. Gould gave an analogy of someone bringing their defective car to a mechanic and asking for a repair within five minutes, which he said was unrealistic.
“So we need more time,” Mr. Gould said.
Joining Mr. Gould on stage, Mr. Waldron also walked back expectations for the big reveal that attendees had been promised. He said it might take a hand recount of ballots to get to the bottom of what happened at the polls.
“The data analysis is one piece. Then there’s, you know, what’s critical is doing the hand count of the ballots, and then comparing those batch files to the images,” said Mr. Waldron.
Other experts who had eyes on the data over the three days had a different take.
“The initial analysis takes time, it’s a lot of effort searching haystacks for needles,” Robert Graham, a cyber expert who attended the event said on Twitter. “But once you find a needle, it doesn’t take much time at all to confirm you’ve found one. Had we been given the packet captures, we could’ve confirmed it in a day.”
Mr. Graham remained vocal on Twitter throughout the event, calling out for the elusive evidence. He departed the symposium empty-handed.
“Final verdict of this ‘cyber expert,’” he said in a departing tweet. “Number of ‘packet captures’ or ‘cyber caps’ seen = 0. Amount of ‘Absolute Proof” seen = 0. Amount of any evidence seen = 0.”