News & Politics

Was the Sanders Campaign's DNC Data Breach a Set-Up?

The story about a Bernie Sanders campaign staffer breaching data files belonging to Hillary Clinton while accessing voter data being maintained by the DNC took a bizarre turn today, when an advisor to the Sanders campaign suggested that the staffer, fired after the incident became public, may have been a DNC plant.

And away we go.


A Bernie Sanders campaign adviser made some pretty strong insinuations that the staffer who they had to fire for breaching Hillary Clinton‘s voter data was a DNC plant.

You’ll recall that last week, the Sanders campaign got in trouble over this breach of data. The DNC cut off their access to the database, but gave it back after the Sanders camp filed a lawsuit.

The unnamed Sanders adviser spoke with Yahoo News’ Hunter Walker and said that the staffer they fired, Josh Uretsky, came recommended by people not just close to the DNC, but to NGP VAN, the firm the DNC contracted to run the voter file. The adviser said, “It’s not as if we conjured this guy Josh from thin air.”

He was reportedly recommended by the DNC’s National Data Director, an individual closely involved in the voter file program, and someone who had worked as the COO of NGP VAN up until a few months ago.

The adviser calls it “utter hypocrisy” the DNC would try to punish them like that.

That certainly is an interesting conspiracy theory, except it’s not very likely to have happened like that.

According to the logs, there were more than 20 breaches of the Clinton data by Sanders staffers — not only Uretsky, but at least two other staffers were involved. They can’t all be DNC plants. And while Sanders may very well be right that the DNC is out to get him, planting an operative in a sensitive area where breaches can be easily tracked back to the source doesn’t make any sense.

But that doesn’t mean that the DNC, the Clinton campaign, and NGP VAN didn’t take advantage of the situation and leak all sorts of damaging — and sometimes inaccurate — information about the breach:

According to the adviser it was ”outrageous” the Clinton campaign was given the audit logs that it showed to the media and Sanders’ team was not. The adviser said these logs were unquestionably given to the Clinton campaign by NGP VAN or the DNC.

“This is one of the things that we were whipsawed in over the course of the, you know, 48 hours,” the adviser said. “NGP VAN was leaking information, clearly provided documents to the DNC and the Clinton campaign — or the DNC was providing those documents to the Clinton campaign. Documents that we didn’t have.”

The adviser said the Sanders campaign was “trying to scramble around and find out what happened” in the immediate period after the breach was revealed. According to the adviser, it was hard to determine the extent of the incident because campaign staffers were locked out of the DNC software and not given the logs. Meanwhile, with the logs in hand, the Clinton campaign was able to make detailed public allegations about improper activity by members of Sanders’ team.

“It would have been fair play to provide us the info in proper time … they basically locked us out and then started throwing stuff under the table,” said the adviser.

Clearly, the national party and party professionals do not want to see Bernie Sanders as the nominee of the party. What lengths will they go to prevent that? With Clinton so far ahead in the polls, planting an official inside the Sanders operation as a sleeper who would awaken and destroy the campaign hardly seems worth the effort.