The infamous hacker Guccifer 2.0 publicly announced the release of documents from a hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Tuesday at a London cybersecurity conference. The leaks reportedly reveal tremendous pay-for-play benefits for Democrat fundraisers, along with cyber efforts of former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, and internal efforts to influence redistricting in the 2010 elections.
Here are 5 things you need to know about the leaks.
1. The ambassadorship ledger.
Among the leaks was a document which seems to show the names of major Democratic fundraisers, how much money they raised for the DNC up to November 2008, and the position of public trust they were granted in the Obama administration. The top name, Matthew Barzun, raised $3.5 million and became ambassador to the UK and Sweden since August 2009.
Other notable positions include chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, assistant secretary of State, CFO of California, and deputy attorney general.
— Shirtless Pundit 🇺🇸 (@zachhaller) September 14, 2016
2. The DNC has staged protests.
One email complained about situations where “our allies screw up and don’t deliver bodies in time.” In such cases, the DNC would send interns to fill a space.
— Sharmine Narwani (@snarwani) September 14, 2016
Next Page: Redistricting and the DNC’s pathetic efforts to dismiss the leak.
3. Redistricting efforts.
Many of the leaked documents discuss Democrats’ efforts to gerrymander districts. DNC officials discuss the increasing Hispanic population as a wedge to draw congressional districts in a way to bolster Democratic representation.
These moves do indeed try to funnel votes to support the Democrats, but this is a practice engaged in by both parties. Gerrymandering is part of the political reality of American politics, and it is arguably sordid and anti-democratic. Nevertheless, it is part of the game and likely unavoidable.
As more information comes out, it will become clear whether the Democratic efforts in redistricting were more egregious than those of Republicans — as some of these documents hint.
4. The DNC’s pathetic efforts to dismiss the leak.
In a statement on Tuesday morning, DNC interim Chair Donna Brazile did her best to dismiss the leak and warn against it. She urged listeners to avoid downloading the documents, “given the potential malware risks.” Perhaps if the public is afraid to download the documents, because their computer may get a virus, the leaks will never be seen…
The DNC temporary chair also suggested the documents might be forgeries: “Our legal team is now in the process of reviewing these private documents, and attempting to confirm their authenticity, as it is common for Russian hackers to forge documents.”
Yes, Brazile blamed “Russian state-sponsored agents” for trying to “harm the Democratic Party … in an effort to influence the presidential election.” She also cast aspersions at Republican nominee Donald Trump.
These remarks were almost as pathetic as the DNC emailing a new universal password to staff after discovering that they had been hacked.
Next Page: Was this an internal leak?!
5. Was the DNC hack an “inside job”?
Director Oliver Stone told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday that “the intelligence experts that I’ve talked to have indicated to me that it’s probably an inside job.” When asked about the allegations of Russian involvement, Stone said, “I think it’s a great fiction, it serves a purpose to disguise what’s really going on.”
He elaborated that this “inside job” would have come “from the Democrats, from somebody who’s worked at the committee.”
If indeed such rumors are true, there are a few possibilities: A “Bernie or Bust” staffer has decided to publicly shame the DNC; higher-ups decided to release this information to draw the focus away from Hillary Clinton’s health (highly unlikely, as the leak reportedly shows donor information); or “Guccifer 2.0” is actually a current or former DNC staffer with access to the network.
When Guccifer 2.0 announced the hack, he claimed to have accessed the DNC’s network via the security firm NGP VAN, which bills itself as the “leading technology provider” for Democratic campaigns. Forbes reported, however, that there is “currently no evidence” backing up this assertion, and the magazine cited a blog post from security outfit ThreatConnect, which listed several inconsistencies in Guccifer’s claims.