From rural Florida to Trump allies' inner circle: Who is the Cyber Ninja leading Arizona's audit?

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.
Jen Fifield Zac Anderson
Arizona Republic

Doug Logan lives out on the Sarasota County line, a half-hour's drive from Florida's Gulf Coast and more than a dozen miles down a two-lane road.

Cows and horses graze in fields. Hand-painted signs inform travelers that "Jesus is coming" and ask, "Where will you spend your eternity?"

Trees and shrubs, overgrown with Spanish moss, block the view from the road to Logan's wooden ranch house, set in the fecund soil. A rope swing dangles from the branch of a giant oak tree. An American flag hangs from a front porch post.

On a sultry July day, a man in a plaid shirt and khakis standing in the long macadam driveway says that Logan isn't there.

Down the road, a neighbor said that Logan's wife asked her to pray for his work while he's away.

Cattle graze in rural Sarasota County near the residence of Doug Logan, the CEO of Cyber Ninjas.

More than 2,000 miles from rural Sarasota, across the Gulf of Mexico and into the Sonoran Desert, Logan spent most of his spring and summer inside an aging coliseum in Phoenix.

"Tens of thousands" of people, Logan later would say, prayed for him as he led a review of Maricopa County's 2020 general election results — an unprecedented partisan undertaking made possible by subpoenas issued by just a few Republican state senators well outside the realm of normal election procedures.

Logan prayed, too.

In times of stress, Logan leaned on a wall inside Veterans Memorial Coliseum out of public view and closed his eyes. On the wall, workers had taped up a white sheet and scribbled dozens of scriptures and prayers.

"Father, please protect Doug Logan," one message on the wall read. "God bless Doug Logan" read another.

The prayer wall that was out of public view at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix during Cyber Ninjas review of Maricopa County's 2020 election results.

It's murky how exactly this religious, rural family man — a cybersecurity expert and owner of a tiny firm called Cyber Ninjas who had no prior election experience — found himself leading efforts to find fraud or votes allegedly stolen from former president Donald Trump. Even Rod Thomson, his longtime friend and spokesperson, said he doesn't know. 

When votes were being counted in November, though, and in the weeks stretching to the Jan. 6 insurrection, Logan was working closely with prominent Trump allies and lawyers who pursued ways to block Joe Biden from setting foot in the White House as president, according to e-mails, texts and videos obtained by The Arizona Republic.

The communications show that in mid-November, Logan was supposed to be in a meeting with a group, including Trump attorney Sidney Powell.

By December, a "Doug Patriot" was working on subpoenas under Powell, former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn as they attempted to get access to voting machines across the country. 

The next month, Logan was helping them try to persuade Congress not to certify Biden's presidential win.

After Biden took office, the Trump allies switched from lawsuits, which had proved unsuccessful, to audits that they hoped would lead to decertification of election results at the state level. By at least early February, nearly a month before a judge granted the Arizona Senate access to the county's ballots, Logan was talking to Senate President Karen Fann. 

Fann announced Cyber Ninjas would lead the Arizona audit in March, and Logan went into it knowing his company would be paid by others far more than the $150,000 the Senate promised. The same Trump loyalists Logan had been working with would pay his company and its subcontractors nearly $6.7 million.

The Senate's lack of control and influence was clear days into the audit as it spun into an attempt to prove the most far-flung fantasies about the election, with ever-changing procedures and a lack of bipartisan oversight. Counters shined ultraviolet lights on ballots and hunted for bamboo fibers.

While Fann billed the audit as a nonpartisan legislative activity to try to improve election laws, the team of Trump allies had a much different idea, and their advice and support were "pivotal" to the audit, Logan said in a statement as the audit wrapped up in July.

Even though Trump loyalists guided his work, Logan maintained the goal of the audit is not to overturn the election but to bring Americans back together. “It has always been about election integrity and re-establishing trust in the election systems,” he said in a statement.

Through Thomson, he declined several requests for interviews during the audit and for this article.

Logan's longtime friends tell The Republic that Logan is a smart and logical man and a skilled cyber expert. Thomson paints Logan as honest to a fault.

At the same time, Logan and his team have released false statements about the county's ballots, elections and voters. Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, a Republican, and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, have debunked and discredited the ballot review process.

It might not be that Logan is lying, his friends say, but that he just doesn't know any better since he doesn't know elections. But he does know how to pick apart complicated systems, they say, and raise questions about what could go wrong, or what doesn't look right.

Cyber Ninjas' report on the ballot review is expected soon, and all eyes will be on the enigmatic Florida man behind it.

He's a businessman who stepped away from his core business late last year. A family man who spent months away from his wife and children. A man previously quiet about politics who thrust himself into the most partisan political challenge imaginable. 

Cyber Ninjas finds a niche

Logan’s life before Nov. 3 was centered on growing a business and a family — a big family.

Logan, 41, and his wife have 11 young children. Neighbors say his wife homeschools them.

Logan is a Christian conservative, and his religious beliefs are fundamental to everything he does, Thomson said.

Logan “tries to live out his beliefs as ardently as any Christian I know tries to live their beliefs out,” Thomson said. “This isn’t like a Sunday morning thing, and he tries to live it with his family and with his business.”

Logan founded Cyber Ninjas in 2013. By then, he had worked for about a decade in information technology and network security, after earning degrees in business and accounting at Guilford College, a small liberal arts college in Greensboro, North Carolina.

A knack for cybersecurity prompted him in 2010 to participate in the U.S. Cyber Challenge, a national program once sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security to develop new cybersecurity talent.

Logan was one of the top scorers in that year's competition, which cemented his career path in cybersecurity, according to Randy Marchany, an information technology security officer at Virginia Tech who has worked for the challenge since its inception.

From the start, Logan impressed Marchany. The two have been friends since. Marchany calls him a “straight-arrow guy.”

“Good to work with,” he said. “He has the chops."

In 2011, Logan was hired by software firm Cigital to develop a team to assess web and mobile vulnerabilities, in part through ethical hacking. 

Logan found a niche in the market when creating Cyber Ninjas, which specialized in helping companies ensure the applications and forms on their websites are secure.

A year after starting Cyber Ninjas in Indiana, Logan moved to Sarasota in 2014. It's not clear how many employees he had at the time, but he announced he planned to add eight to 10 employees in two years.

He became ingrained in the Sarasota technology community, often participating in cybersecurity workshops and seminars.

He continued volunteering and working with Cyber Challenge, too. SANS, a cybersecurity organization, awarded him with a “difference maker” award in 2015, saying he spent “significant amounts of his own time advancing the program.”

Logan’s involvement with Cyber Challenge caught the attention of Tony Summerlin, an information technology and cybersecurity expert who worked for the federal government and helped Logan get Federal Communications Commission contracts.

“He is basically just really smart and could figure things out really quickly,” said Summerlin, now a good friend of Logan's.

Also, Summerlin said, Logan is just a very agreeable guy.

“He is great to be around,” he said. “He is just the most cheerful, never has a bad word to say about anything or anyone. Doesn’t swear. Doesn’t really drink. I thought he was a Mormon or something, especially with all the kids.”

By 2017, Logan had handled cybersecurity projects for the FCC, its affiliate Universal Services and Administration Corporation, and many major banks, according to an online biography.

Marchany visited Logan in Sarasota around that time and said his company seemed to be doing well, with five or so employees and a new office.

In April 2020, Cyber Ninjas received about $98,000 in a federal PPP loan, the paycheck protection program launched in the pandemic. He listed five employees.

By then, Logan had become Cyber Challenge’s chief technology officer, helping to arrange camps. He was a well-respected part of the program, according to several people who knew him through his work there.

Around the same time, in spring 2020, months before the November election, Logan resigned from Cyber Challenge.

Cyber Ninjas moved out of its office and started using an address that leads to a mailbox in a Sarasota UPS Store.

The UPS store at 5077 Fruitville Road in Sarasota that Cyber Ninjas lists as its corporate address.

Logan's attention would soon turn elsewhere.

The 'Bad News Bears'

It's unclear exactly how Logan met up with analysts interested in another type of technical sleuthing: investigating election results. But he soon was connected with people claiming election fraud.

The core analyst team that worked under Trump lawyers began claiming U.S. elections were being manipulated long before 2020, and long before Logan got involved.

Its leader was Russell Ramsland, the co-founder of a Dallas-based company called Allied Security Operations Group, or ASOG. Even before the November 2020 election, Ramsland pushed the unfounded claim that election results are sent from U.S. voting companies to foreign companies allegedly connected to them, which then switch votes and send them back, according to videos of him speaking at the time.

As far back as 2018, ASOG officials and Laura Pressley, an elections activist in Texas working with them at the time, began meeting with politicians and government officials to try to convince them of the fraud, Pressley told The Republic.

Powell — who represented the Trump campaign for a time, as well as Flynn  — saw a presentation, Pressley said. 

Sidney Powell, standing with Rudy Giuliani at a news conference on Nov. 19, 2020, was part of Donald Trump's legal team for a time, unsuccessfully challenging the results of the presidential election last year.

In the months before the November 2020 election, ASOG was building the case that voting machines would be hacked. That summer, its executives talked to the top federal officials who oversee election security.

ASOG presented its claims of voting machine vulnerabilities to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the request of Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, said Matt Masterson, who previously led election security for the agency. Homeland Security field staff in Texas heard a similar presentation from ASOG, Masterson said.

The takeaway, Masterson said, was “nothing actionable” — they were shown no evidence even worth investigating. 

But Byrne, the former Overstock CEO, saw something.

Byrne had previous interest in election security. In 2018, when he was CEO, Overstock provided seed money to a company called Voatz through a subsidiary investment firm. Voatz is an elections app, not yet widely used, that allows people to cast votes on their smartphones.

Byrne would eventually publish a book on the 2020 election, writing that he is a libertarian who didn't even think about voting for Trump. But he did think the election was stolen.

Byrne, in his book “The Deep Rig,” talks about meeting a team of analysts in summer 2020 that had studied “irregularities” in the 2018 Dallas elections. ASOG employees told Byrne their theories about the vulnerabilities of voting machines, and soon they met up with Powell.

Patrick Byrne and Michael Flynn's brother Joe Flynn share laughs next to movie producer Steve Lucescu, Phil Waldron and Joe Oltmann at "The Deep Rig" movie premiere at Dream City Church in Phoenix on June 26.

Byrne has said repeatedly that, to rig an election, conspirators have to cheat in six key swing states — one being Arizona.

In “The Deep Rig,” he claims that vote counting paused on election night in those states and large quantities of presidential votes were “switched” to Biden. This hasn't been proven in any of the court cases or audits. 

This idea is vague enough to capitalize on the common trope among Americans who say they have a general feeling that the election was stolen from Trump but they don’t know how the cheating happened.

Using these broad ideas from ASOG, Powell filed her infamous “Kraken” lawsuits in at least four states. Powell claimed they would introduce irrefutable evidence of fraud and "release the Kraken." These lawsuits were dismissed, the official Trump legal team distanced itself from Powell, and now she and the lawyers working alongside her face possible sanctions in several states, including Arizona. 

Byrne, Flynn and Powell's grand plan, though, was to make something happen outside of the courts, according to Byrne in his book. Flynn had started pushing election fraud claims after Trump pardoned him in November. The retired Army general had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian ambassador before Trump's inauguration.

Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn is involved in organizations funding the Arizona Senate's review of Maricopa County's 2020 election.

The trio eventually got a meeting with Trump in late December in which they presented their plot: Trump would declare he had seen enough problems in the six swing states to send in the U.S. National Guard to recount the votes and examine the machines.

“Open up the paper ballot backups and recount them on live-streamed TV,” Byrne wrote in his book, in a description that sounds strikingly similar to how the ballot review unfolded in Arizona. “Ideally, they would also image the hard drives of the election equipment in those counties, for forensic examination.” If discrepancies were found, Byrne said, “then more aggressive course of action could be countenanced.”

Trump’s top advisers ultimately dissuaded him from going along, according to Byrne’s book and media reports about the meeting, which has since been described as one of the craziest meetings of the Trump presidency.

Byrne, Flynn and Powell’s team didn’t back down, though. The team of analysts, which labeled itself the “Bad News Bears,” according to Byrne's book, was trying to get access to voting machines through local election clerks and court cases. And they succeeded in at least one place.

The team found out somehow — the how is not mentioned in Byrne’s book — that they could get access to election records in Antrim County, Michigan.

When they got there, Byrne wrote, they found a “mildly cooperative 75 year old lady working in a public building that had acted as a voting precinct.” He said the woman gave them access to audit logs from the election, which were fed to Michigan lawyer Matthew DePerno, who had filed a lawsuit about Antrim County’s election.

Shortly after the team's first expedition to Antrim County, the judge in the case granted DePerno access to the voting machines.

Byrne flew the Bad News Bears back to get the data.

Among the analysts involved, court records would reveal, was Doug Logan. 

Neighbor: ‘They were pretty vanilla’

Down the road from Logan lives Mary Grady, who described her neighbors in glowing terms.

“They’ve got a wonderful family,” she said of the Logans. “They’re just nice people. They’re good neighbors. They’re good Christians. They’re people I like.”

Grady said she mostly talks to Logan’s wife and children. She's the one who said Logan's wife asked her to pray about the audit. And she believes the audit is "smart."

“Somebody’s got to open something up somewhere,” she said. 

Grady said she trusts Logan to do the right thing. “I trust him very, very much."

Before the Logans moved out here, they lived in a three-bedroom house in Colonial Oaks, a suburban neighborhood closer to downtown Sarasota.

Rick Briefman lived next to the Logans and remembers how large the family was, for that small of a house. Briefman recalled the Logan family being very religious and said that was one of the reasons they homeschooled their children. They dressed up and went to church every Sunday.

Briefman said Logan and his family are “very nice people. The kids were good kids.”

“Honestly, he was just a guy next door and very quiet, didn’t really know what he did,” Briefman said, adding: “I knew he had his own little company.”

A view down a road in rural Sarasota County near the residence of Doug Logan, the CEO of Cyber Ninjas.

Briefman said it’s surprising that Logan has become embroiled in one of the biggest political stories in the country. He had no sense of the Logans’ politics. “They were pretty vanilla,” he said.

Top Sarasota County Republicans say they had never met Logan or heard his name before the audit gained attention. One of Logan’s only known political connections is to Thomson, a prominent Republican consultant in Sarasota County who had served as the president of the Sarasota Republican Club and is deeply connected in Sarasota GOP circles.

But that relationship was never based in politics, Thomson said.

Thomson met Logan in 2014. Thomson had long been involved with the Sarasota County Economic Development Corporation, and said that’s how he heard about Cyber Ninjas, which received help from the EDC when the company relocated to Sarasota from Indiana.

A public relations professional and former newspaper reporter, Thomson said he contacted Logan asking if his company needed public relations help.

The two men discovered they had a lot in common.

“Like me he’s a Christian, a Bible-believing Christian,” Thomson said. “So we ended up going to church together for many years, too, and so I knew him from church and I know his family.” 

Thomson says he doesn't know how Logan originally got involved with the election — he just knows Logan asked him for help once he was.

'You’re going to ruin your life'

Attorney Lin Wood, member of President Donald Trump's legal team, gestures while speaking during a rally on Dec. 2, 2020, in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Many assume Logan got involved with the Byrne, Flynn and Powell team through one of his contacts in the cybersecurity world, perhaps through his federal contracting work.

Byrne and Flynn also have Sarasota County connections. Flynn bought property there in April, and Byrne followed suit in June. Joe Flynn, Mike Flynn’s brother who is involved in the nonprofits funding the Arizona audit, has owned property there since 2018. 

In “The Deep Rig,” a movie Byrne made based on his book that Logan is featured in, the Bad News Bears talked about coming together at a property to start to analyze the November election.

This may have been at the South Carolina property of attorney Lin Wood, who worked with Powell on her Kraken lawsuits. 

The first decipherable sign of Logan’s involvement is in mid-November.

Jim Penrose, a cybersecurity expert working under Flynn, was to bring Logan to a Nov. 15 meeting at Wood's place about election fraud that involved Powell. Plans for the meeting were described in text messages shared by Dave Hancock, who previously worked for Wood’s organization FightBack.

Logan was at Wood’s property in late November, according to texts between Logan and Hancock that Hancock provided The Republic.

At the time, Hancock was ending his work with Wood. He had previously set up Wood’s home security system and internet network, and Logan first texted him on Nov. 25 to find out details about the systems to transfer them out of Hancock’s hands.

Doug Logan texts Dave Hancock, who was working for Lin Wood, about helping Wood with his cybersecurity.

Wood, who has supported the QAnon movement and pushed conspiracy theories, told Talking Points Memo in April that he housed Logan and others working on election security issues. Wood told the news and opinion website that he was letting Logan and others stay at his property as they investigated the 2020 election. The cybersecurity work was a favor, he told the publication.

Wood did not return The Republic's call and email seeking comment.

By early December, Logan was part of the Bad News Bears, examining copies of Antrim County’s voting machines for DePerno's court case. And he wasn’t just part of this team: He helped organize it.

Greg Freemeyer, of Dallas-based data management company Sullivan Strickler, said Logan called him in early December as Logan was “organizing the team” to go to Antrim County. Freemeyer said he didn’t know Logan previously, but he thought Logan found his company because of its work in the tech field. 

Freemeyer said that Logan later asked them to help with Arizona’s audit, but Sullivan Strickler decided against it because “it became too political,” he said.

The final Antrim County report, signed by Ramsland of ASOG, ultimately claimed that machines from Dominion Voting Systems were set up to foster widespread voting fraud, and claimed that the machines had a 68% error rate. The Michigan lawsuit was later dismissed and the report's claims were further debunked by a Republican-led committee of state lawmakers. 

About this time, in December, Logan was sharing tweets with wild claims of widespread election fraud, surprising a few of his longtime friends who didn't know he had gotten involved.

Summerlin called Logan when he saw his tweets, and Logan insisted he was just trying to do the right thing.

"I called him up and said, ‘What are you doing?’” Summerlin said. “He said, ‘Well, Tony, if I can get 10 percent of people to believe in elections with my work.' I said, ‘You aren’t going to do anything of the sort.’ I said, ‘You are full of s---. One, you don’t know anything about elections. Two, the machines weren’t hooked up to the internet. Three, You don’t know anything about coding. Four, You’re going to ruin your life.’”

Summerlin said hearing of Logan's involvement "scared the s---" out of him.

“Doug is such a reasonable, intelligent and level-headed guy,” he said. “If he could be pushed over the edge with these lies, then who else could?”

Doug Logan retweets QAnon conspiracy theorist Ron Watkins about Arizona's 2020 election.

'Doug Patriot' involved in Arizona subpoenas

On Dec. 14, Logan retweeted a tweet from known QAnon conspiracy theorist Ron Watkins indicating that Trump got “200k more votes than previously reported in Arizona.”

Just a few days before, a text message indicates "Doug Patriot" was wading into Arizona's elections, and possibly gaining access to voting machines.

Some of the Bad News Bears had been looking at Arizona even before the election. The demographic and political makeup of Maricopa County, in particular, made it a key place to study, Phil Waldron, who has worked with ASOG, explained in one of his many interviews with Prescott conservative Lyle Rapacki of ePrescott News. 

Waldron is a former manager for pharmaceutical companies and retired colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, according to a biography sent to the state Senate.

Left to right, host of Steel Truth Ann Vandersteel moderates a panel with Patrick Byrne, Joe Flynn, movie producer Steve Lucescu, Phil Waldron, Joe Oltmann, film director Roger Richards and Bob Hughes at "The Deep Rig" movie premiere at Dream City Church on June 26.

In late November, Waldron came to Phoenix with Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani for a 10-hour meeting with residents and some Republican lawmakers in a downtown Phoenix hotel, where false claims about election fraud were tossed around. It was one of three such meetings Giuliani held across the country.

As Giuliani and Flynn's teams gathered what they considered to be evidence of fraud in Arizona in mid-November, that's when Staci Burk, a former Gilbert school board member who had filed a lawsuit claiming the election had been rigged, said they reached out to her.

On Dec. 11, Burk thought the judge might give her access to voting machines. (She was wrong; her case out of Pinal County would be dismissed shortly after.) She texted her contact on Powell's team, Carissa Keshel. "I was granted ‘reasonable’ discovery to inspect ballots and machines,” text messages she provided to The Republic show.

“No way!” Keshel responded in the texts. “I should hook you up with Jim and Doug!! They are from our team and are experts in that!!!”

Keshel texted others on her team and told them about Burk's case, according to screenshots of the group chat she later shared with Burk.

In response to Keshel, someone labeled “Sharon Patriot” texted back, “Okay! Send her contact and I will have Jim and Doug reach out to her also. They were up working forensics all night.”

That’s when someone labeled “Doug Patriot” weighed in: “Sweet! We should give her sopeonas to use," misspelling subpoenas.

"Doug" and "Jim" had no last names in the texts. But Burk said she had heard Logan's name before.

Logan did not respond when The Republic sent him copies of the text for comment.

Text message between Carissa Keshel and Staci Burk shows a "Doug Patriot" indicating he is working on election subpoenas just days before the Arizona Senate submitted its original subpoenas to Maricopa County.

If this is Logan, as Burk surmises, the texts place Logan working on subpoenas for voting machines — including requests for many technical documents and materials related to the election — in Arizona at a critical juncture in the audit timeline.

A few days later, on Dec. 15, Fann and former Judiciary Chairman Eddie Farnsworth issued sweeping subpoenas to Arizona's most populous county, Maricopa. They sought all 2.1 million ballots cast in the county's election, all machines used to tabulate the ballots, and other election information and materials. 

State GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward said in a December tweet the plan was to give the materials sought by the state Senate to Giuliani , according to a deputy county attorney's statements in court. Giuliani reinforced that in a Dec. 17 interview with Glenn Beck, saying that his team would be the ones to get access to the machines through the subpoenas.

Around that same time, Fann told a constituent in an email that she had been in “constant contact” with Giuliani, and Trump had personally called to thank her for her efforts.

But in order for the subpoenas to stand up in court, they couldn't be aimed at finding fraud or at overturning the election. Legislative subpoenas in Arizona are only valid for legislative purposes. Senate attorneys said in court the audit was aimed at learning how the state's elections could be improved.

The county argued in court that Ward and Giuliani’s statements alone proved otherwise.

In late December, as the court battle continued, Marchany got a text from Logan. They hadn't spoken for months, but Logan wanted to know what he thought about the Maricopa County election.

Marchany said he was honest with Logan, telling him to look at the dismissed court cases and the fact that there wasn't any evidence that would indicate fraud. "I said, 'Stay away from it.'"

Logan asked Marchany whether he knew of any experts in voting systems.

It appears Logan was trying to build out another team.

The proof for the insurrection

President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani listens to presenters at a public meeting where Trump supporters disputed his defeat in the 2020 election, citing election fraud and other concerns, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona, on Nov. 30, 2020.

As state and county leaders battled over subpoenas in Arizona, the nation was moving ever closer to a Biden presidency as deadlines for transferring power loomed. Congress was to certify election results Jan. 6, and Logan weighed in with national security concerns about the voting machines. 

In early January, the Byrne, Flynn and Powell team was building a case to persuade Congress to delay certifying the presidential election results so "irregularities" they insisted they had found could be examined further, according to Byrne's book. 

To do his part, Logan produced a document that was posted on Powell’s website outlining broad claims about Dominion’s ties to foreign countries — all in line with ASOG’s theories.

The document claims that “the core software utilized by Dominion … originates from intellectual property of Smartmatic,” and that Smartmatic was founded in Venezuela with links to Hugo Chavez. It references papers claiming that Smartmatic rigged Venezuela elections. It also references a claim made without proof that a Dominion executive had rigged the 2020 election.

Doug Logan responds to questions about his work for Sidney Powell.

Dominion and Smartmatic are two separate companies, Dominion has said in response to similar claims, and Dominion does not use or license Smartmatic software.

Logan worked on the document, he told Fann in an April email, to help U.S. senators who “wanted to either object to the certification of the election; or get evidence into the official record to show some of what had been found.”

He said he was specifically asked to include "any evidence that could support a national security concern,” he said.

Logan didn’t say who asked him to write it, but he did say that he gave the document to “a former NSA friend who I had been working closely with in researching all of the election integrity issues." Penrose, the man who brought Logan to the meeting at Wood's house in the week after the election, worked for the agency for 17 years and was a senior-level defense intelligence official, according to his biography. 

That friend then "gave it to an attorney who is on the Sidney Powell team," Logan told Fann.

On Jan. 5, Byrne wrote in his book, he, Flynn and “a few of our scientists and dolphin-speakers” took their evidence into a meeting with U.S. senators, delegates for senators, and delegates for Vice President Mike Pence to try to make their case that election certification should be delayed.

On the morning of Jan. 6, he wrote, they were scheduled by Women for Trump to speak on the South Lawn of the White House. As history shows, the day went awry and the protests turned bloody. But Biden's election was still certified.

Logan said he stood by his document. "I think you’ll find that all those claims are supported,” he wrote in the April email. “Just because a company has foreign connections doesn’t mean that those connections were used inappropriately; but if that company creates voting equipment, those connections most definitely should be looked into.”

Logan reiterated one of the lines he says often, that there “are a lot of election anomalies that need a proper explanation for the American people to have confidence in their elections."

He noted he's worked with many people with opinions or beliefs he doesn't agree with. "You don't get things done by focusing on what you disagree with," he wrote in the email to Fann.

Choosing the Ninjas and the Bad News Bears

Logan first came to public attention in Arizona in the spring after Fann backtracked on a plan to use ASOG, the Dallas-based company trying to show fraud, to work on the audit.

In early February, Fann said she was just considering ASOG. She later said that the Senate would not hire the company because Waldron's involvement with Giuliani gave a perception of bias. More recently, she said it was because "the media had trashed the company."

When Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason upheld the Senate's subpoenas in late February, the next month Fann made her announcement: Cyber Ninjas would lead the audit.

Subcontractors under Cyber Ninjas would include Wake TSI, CyFir and Digital Discovery.

Senate President Karen Fann is seen during a meeting about the audit at the Arizona state Senate in Phoenix on July 15, 2021. Fann was holding a press conference with Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, CyFIR founder Ben Cotton, and Arizona Senate's liaison for the Maricopa County election audit Ken Bennett.

Fann told The Republic this month she first talked on the phone to Logan about his proposal around the same time she decided not to use ASOG, in early February. A log of documents the Senate has refused to publicly release shows that Fann and Logan began texting on Feb. 5. 

Fann says she does not remember who gave her Logan's name, but she said it was not ASOG or Byrne or Flynn's team.

"I'm sure his name probably came up for the first time talking to people in other states," she said. 

But when Fann selected Cyber Ninjas, she essentially picked everyone else who had been working with ASOG.

These were Bad News Bears. 

Pennsylvania-based Wake TSI, for example, had contracted with Powell’s Defending the Republic for a partisan audit of machines and ballots in Fulton County, Pennsylvania, in late December.

When ASOG was under consideration to work on the audit, Dallas-based Digital Discovery was on a list that ASOG provided Senate attorneys about who would help them.

CyFIR’s CEO Ben Cotton was involved in Antrim County's audit.

Fann told The Republic that she liked Logan's proposal because it brought together a team with expertise in many different areas needed to review both ballots and voting machines.

But the only election experience of the known subcontractors that would work for Logan (Digital Discovery would bow out) came in 2020 — as part of the "Stop the Steal" movement. 

And while ASOG wasn’t officially on the team, Waldron would spend at least the first few months of the audit talking as if he were, in interviews with Rapacki, the Prescott conservative.

Waldron said in a May 3 interview that Senate leadership thought that, because of his involvement with Giuliani, he would be a “toxic or caustic factor,” so he agreed to lay low and help out behind the scenes.

A log of withheld Senate documents shows Fann communicated with Waldron leading up to and throughout the audit, from Jan. 26 to July 25. 

So although Logan and Cyber Ninjas were the names upfront, other Trump loyalists were embedded throughout the Arizona audit.

Masterson, the former Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency official, said "in hindsight, this has been a coordinated effort to gain access to election systems following the election, and undermine confidence."

"It seems all these efforts are connected.”

'Two very different things'

The night before the audit began, on April 22, Logan talked with reporters. The Senate promised regular in-person updates, but this would be Logan's only news conference.

Logan said he was there to talk about the process for the audit. But reporters pressed for answers to who was paying him.

Logan was honest that the audit would accept outside donations — responding to a reporter with a polite “yes, sir.” But he would not say who was paying him.

Logan said it shouldn’t matter who was paying him since the process he designed had integrity. As he would say several times later, the process would be “beyond reproach.”

“Is the question about who funded it, or is the question about whether that will influence the results?” Logan said. “Those are two very different things …”

News reports already had revealed Logan's tweets and that he authored the document posted on Powell's website about voting machine manipulation and foreign ties.

Logan insisted he was there with good intentions.

“There are a lot of Americans who are bothered by the way the country is being ripped apart right now,” he said. “We want a transparent audit to be in place so people can trust the results, so we can get everyone on the same page."

On the first day of the audit, Logan seemed earnest in his efforts to see that everything went well. But knowledge gaps were apparent. 

When a reporter, observing for the day, asked why the counters would have blue-ink pens available to them — considering blue was a color voters could use, and counters could potentially change voters' intent if they had that color — Logan initially said he thought black ink was the only color that voters could use. It was one of several statements he would make during the audit that would represent a lack of understanding of Arizona's election procedures.

After checking, Logan quickly swapped out the blue pens. He returned to the coliseum floor with a tote bag full of green pens and started to replace them.

But Fann said it's Logan's attention to detail and diligence that made her want to work with him. He was adamant, for example, that everything is livestreamed 24/7 and that there be a recording of every ballot reviewed.

Still, Fann acknowledges Logan could have used more help than he had. 

Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan (right) walks around the coliseum floor as Maricopa County ballots from the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors hired by the Arizona Senate in an audit at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix on May 24, 2021.

A Cyber Ninjas lawyer said recently in court that the company has seven employees, but Logan seemed to be taking on the audit alone that first day. The only sign The Republic found of another Cyber Ninjas employee involved with the audit was an email that an executive assistant sent Senate staff about the initial $50,000 owed to the company.

Fann said no one had any idea going in just how much work the audit would be. But Logan's ability to stay organized, and to document everything that needed to be documented, impressed her throughout.

The Senate president's view runs counter to the disorganization and changing procedures noted by Secretary of State's Office observers and journalists throughout the process — including lapses in ballot security and organization, changes to the ways votes and ballots were being tallied and tracked, and conflicting information from audit spokespeople about procedures.

Logan said he expected the ballot review would take 14 days. The effort began on April 23 and stretched through July.

Thomson said, considering the breadth and depth of this audit, even election experts would have been in over their heads.

Audit opponents have made a "Mount Everest out of every hiccup," when there were bound to be some mistakes, Thomson said.

'I look back and I see the manipulations'

Logan carried his faith with him.

John Brakey, an election transparency activist who lives in Tucson and served as an adviser to the audit team, was the one to spot Logan at the prayer board.

Brakey said he initially thought Logan was "really interested in getting at the truth."

But his opinion changed. There were times when Brakey felt Logan wasn't upfront with him. There were important meetings that Senate Liaison Ken Bennett was kept from attending. And then there was the release of "The Deep Rig" movie in June. Logan gave exclusive access to Byrne's producers and participated in the movie.

A screenshot of Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan in "The Deep Rig" movie.

In the film, based on the premise the election was compromised, Logan says he views his role as saving democracy. "I know stuff and I can do something about it and by golly, I’m not going to let our country be lost on my watch.”

The tipping point for Brakey was in mid-July, when Fann and Judiciary Chairman Warren Petersen held a public hearing in which Bennett, Cotton and Logan revealed preliminary audit findings.

Logan brought up the long-debunked Sharpiegate theory of fraud and claimed that the county had counted 74,000 more early ballots than it had provided to voters. He was simply looking at the wrong data, though. Claims of fraudulent votes took off on right-wing media and Trump repeated it in at least one of his daily missives and at his July rally in Phoenix.

“I always try to look at the best of people,” Brakey said. “After this experience, I look back and I see the manipulations.”

But Thomson said that's one thing critics have gotten "wildly wrong" about Logan.

"I will tell you that this is a man of painfully honest morality. He is just assiduously honest about things," he said. "It’s almost difficult to work with because he’s so painstakingly honest."

Fann said Logan worked 60- to 80-hour weeks throughout the audit. While she said he had a great demeanor throughout, at some point the scrutiny took a toll on him. 

Finding the truth in an election, with no prior election experience, is challenging, even with a team of subcontractors and advisers. County officials, seeing the lack of elections expertise in the team and questioning its true motives, have refused to directly answer most questions about the election from Logan and the Senate since the audit began. 

County Board Chairman Jack Sellers laid out his view of the audit in frank terms, calling it "grift disguised as an audit."

In late July, as the work wrapped up, Cyber Ninjas finally announced who had paid for the ballot review. The nearly $5.7 million Cyber Ninjas received is all connected back to the original team of Trump allies — organizations run by Byrne, DePerno, Flynn and Powell.

Separately, Trump adviser Cleta Mitchell set up an escrow account and collected at least $1 million to pay Cyber Ninjas' subcontractors. And some of the funding sources remain unknown — even Fann said she doesn't know where all of the money came from.

"Our sponsors have raised and provided over $5 million; and tens of thousands of you have prayed for the work of our hands to determine truth, whatever it may be," Logan said in a statement. 

Sara Chimene-Weiss of national nonprofit organization Protect Democracy said that even if the people writing the report were honest, the funding of the audit alone means it wasn't independent.

“It’s as if the Suns paid for a study that says the Suns actually won the NBA Finals,” said Chimene-Weiss, who lives in Phoenix. “I wouldn’t trust that study.”

'I’m putting everything on the line'

The audit stretched on far longer than expected, with the final report not out nearly five months after the process began.

In June, Logan was still in Phoenix. Fann worried about how long Logan had been kept from his family, she said. His wife is expecting a child in October, Fann said. 

Fann said that Logan reassured her that his wife had help from family and friends. He also emphasized how important he thought it was for him to be there and to do to the work "for his country and for election integrity."

Workers finished at the end of July, and the ballots were returned to Maricopa County

Anticipation has been building ever since. The Senate was expecting a report on Aug. 23. Instead, Fann announced Logan and other members of the audit team had COVID-19. 

Patrick Byrne and Michael Flynn, whose organizations helped pay for the Arizona Senate's review of Maricopa County's 2020 election, talk about their expectations for the results of the audit.

More recently, the Senate's attorney told a judge the report would be delivered Sept. 24. 

The long wait has given people plenty of time to weigh in with their expectations. Byrne and Flynn indicated in a TikTok video at the end of August that if the report shows that Trump won Arizona, something unprecedented should happen — for example, Flynn said, perhaps the electoral college votes will “flip.”

Chimene-Weiss of Protect Democracy said that it seems one of the end goals for the outsiders like Byrne was to raise money and to raise their profile, but in doing so, they are doing lasting damage to the country.

“It ultimately poses a real danger to the health of our democracy in the long term,” she said.

Fann said Logan never had a preconceived notion of what the results would be — even though he got involved through the Byrne, Flynn and Powell team and shared statements indicating election fraud on social media.

It doesn't matter who paid Logan, she said, because Logan has integrity. Her only expectation for the report is that it will be accurate and honest, she said. It will be submitted to the Arizona attorney general for review and be scrutinized from all angles, she said, so it has to be. 

She hopes it will lead to improvements in Arizona's elections, as originally intended.

In his first and last news conference in April, Logan said he's in this to ensure our democracy works — not the other way around. At one point during the gathering, he got emotional about why he was there, his voice wavering as he spoke.

“I know you guys want to paint me as some bad guy in here," he said. "I’m putting everything on the line for my company. I care about our country.”

Richard Ruelas of The Republic and Dave Boucher of the Detroit Free Press contributed to this report.

Reach Jen Fifield at or 602-444-8763. Follow her on Twitter @JenAFifield