Posts Tagged ‘Democratic National Committee’

Spies, Wikileaks and the DNC hacks.

August 1, 2016

I haven’t seen anything in the news accounts of the Democratic National Committee e-mails that is either new or shocking.

We the public knew before the DNC hacks that the committee members and staff were supporters of Hillary Clinton.  That’s what smart and successful politicians do—put their supporters in positions of influence.

The e-mails reveal how much the DNC people disliked Sanders and favored Clinton, but I haven’t seen anything that shows the e-mails showed they actually did—as distinguished from talking about—anything unethical.

What wrongdoing I do know about comes from publicly available information, not e-mail hacks.  The Hillary Victory Fund, for example, raised money ostensibly for state Democratic Party organizations, but then funneled the money back to Clinton.  That’s dishonest and probably illegal, but those facts had already been revealed.

As to the source of the information, intelligence agencies of various governments have a long history of revealing information that is embarrassing to their adversaries.

What’s new about the publishing of confidential Democratic National Committee e-mails is that it was done through Wikileaks, which provides a platform by which whistle-blowers and hackers of any affiliation can reveal secret documents without being traced.  is not affiliated with any government and for that very reason provides a perfect cover.  This is ideal cover for secret intelligence agencies.

Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, says his only responsibility is to verify the authenticity of the information, not to judge the motives of those providing it.   The problem is that the CIA, FSB and their counterparts in other countries are probably much more expert in faking the source of information than Assange and his friends are in detecting forgeries.

There’s a moral here.  The moral is that secret information is not necessarily more significant than public information that has been overlooked.

LINKS

On the Need for Official Attribution of Russia’s DNC Hack by Matt Tait for the Brookinsgs Institution’s Lawfare blog.

Yet More Thoughts on the DNC Hack: Attribution and Precedent by Jack Goldsmith for Lawfare.

Memo to Donald Trump: Don’t tell jokes

July 28, 2016

Donald Trump was asked yesterday about the hack into the Democratic National Committee’s e-mails.

220px-Donald_Trump_August_19,_2015_(cropped)The Republican nominee said he did not know if Russia was behind that attack, but that he would like to see the Kremlin turn its attention to the 30,000 messages Mrs Clinton deleted prior to the FBI investigation into her email practices.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” he said.

Mr Trump, who was giving a press conference in Florida, said it gave him “no pause” to essentially sanction Russian cyber hacking on an American official.

“Hey you know what gives me more pause? That a person in our government – Crooked Hillary Clinton – that a person in our government would delete or get rid of 30,000 emails,” he said.

“Now, if Russia or China or any other country has those emails, I mean to be honest with you I’d love to see them.”

Source: The Telegraph (UK)

I thought that was funny, and I thought his joke had a point.  But almost every comment I’ve come across this morning treats Trump’s comment as a serious and shocking proposal.

Trump should have learned by this time something I learned very early as a newspaper reporter.  When you engage in humor or irony, vast numbers of people will not recognize it as such unless it is labeled as humor or irony.

An alternate conspiracy theory of the DNC hacks

June 22, 2016

The Democratic National Committee’s computer system has been hacked by somebody calling themselves Guccifer 2, which some have charged is a front from the Russian security services.

I and others speculated that this might be Vladimir Putin’s way of helping his friend Donald Trump.  But “Lambert Strether,” posting on the naked capitalism web log, offers an alternate conspiracy theory.

Readers, as you know I’m always skeptical of digital evidence, arguing that “digital evidence is not evidence” absent a chain of provenance to a known and trusted creator; digital material is too easy to fake.

And I’m old enough to remember — summarizing the chain of events very tendentiously — that evil genius Karl Rove settled the controversy over Bush’s (Vietnam War-evading non-)service in the TANG (Texas Air National Guard) by (1) feeding CBS news true information (2) in discreditable form, and then (3) arranging for it to be discredited (by an Atlanta blogger named Buckhead, in a post that blew up from nothing to utter dominance in a single news cycle, an amazing achievement).  So Rove used faked true evidence to impeach the story and saved Bush’s bacon.  (The CBS reporter, Dan Rather, was later fired, along with his reporting team.)

So if I look at Guccifer, I’m seeing steps (1) and (2), and I worry about step (3).  That is, if we suppose that the information on Clinton corruption is true, but the form is discreditable, and then imagine it is discredited, Clinton’s reputation would be laundered, at least until the impeachment hearings begin.  That is, a sponsor at the DNC or from the HillaryLand would take on Rove’s role in the TANG play from Rove’s playbook.

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What Sanders should demand from Clinton

June 6, 2016

hillary-clinton-bernie-sandersBernie Sanders would be a fool to endorse Hillary Clinton in return for concessions in the Democratic platform.

Voters don’t pay any attention to the platform, and candidates don’t, either.  The important thing for Sanders to demand is appointment of members and staff of the Democratic National Committee who will support pro-worker candidates instead pro-Wall Street candidates for Congress and state offices.

Hillary Clinton would be a fool to put Sanders people on the Democratic National Committee in return for his endorsement.

Sanders’ endorsement of Clinton wouldn’t mean that much.

Most of the Sanders supporters whom I know think of Sanders as a bold reformer and Clinton as an overly cautious reformer.  They’d vote for Clinton, regardless of what Sanders says, because they think of her, not as a lesser evil, but as a lesser good.

Sanders supporters like me, who think there is a fundamental difference between pro-worker and pro-Wall Street candidates, would not be swayed by a Sanders endorsement.  Our opinions were formed before Sanders entered the race.

What Sanders can offer Clinton that is of value is his mailing list of small donors.  That is a treasure of enormous value for any candidate or slate of candidates.  The only circumstance it which it would be worth handing over, would be if the Democratic National Committee and its staff were replaced with Sanders’ people.

Arguably such a deal would both improve Clinton’s chances of winning in November, and be in the long-range interest of progressives and working people—a win-win for both sides.  But it wouldn’t be in the interest of Clinton’s big donors, and I’d be amazed if she agreed to it.

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