Revisiting the DNC/Podesta Hacks

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Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
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Even though it is old news, it became relevant given President Trump’s rambling press conference in Helsinki alongside Russian President Valdimir Putin.  Specifically, I refer to the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta’s e-mail accounts allegedly by Russian agents in the GRU- their military intelligence service- as the indictments against 12 Russians announced on the Friday before the Trump-Putin summit attest.

The whole Russian conspiracy theory rests on the assumption that Russia hacked these servers and accounts in order to get Trump elected.  There is no doubting the fact that Russian intelligence runs a sophisticated cyber warfare program that is multifaceted across their intelligence agencies and that they contract work out to third parties at times to avoid detection.

To this writer, releasing insider information from the DNC and Podesta to help Trump get elected never made much sense, especially considering the boring contents of the information made public by Wikileaks and others.  The information was of interest to conspiracy theorists and DC beltway pundits only.

What were the big revelations from that document dump?  We learned:

  • about “in kind payments” to “Bill Clinton, Inc.;”
  • Some people within the Clinton orbit thought Hillary had bad instincts;
  • there was some apparent quid pro quo over Clinton’s attendance at a conference in Morocco;
  • that Bill Gates among others was considered as a running mate;
  • that they on occasion referred to Bernie Sanders as a “doofus;”
  • that Hillary considered covert action in Syria;
  • they made fun of Rupert Murdoch’s Catholicism;
  • Hillary Clinton was fed questions by Donna Brazile in a debate;
  • she was wary of admitting refugees into the country despite public comments to the contrary;
  • There was confusion over taking a stance on the Keystone pipeline;
  • some within the DNC and Clinton campaign thought Chelsea Clinton acted like a “brat,” and;
  • Bill Richardson demanded a call in order to mobilize the Latino community for Clinton.

If one wanted to know about the angst over seating arrangements for a fundraising event, then this was a treasure trove.  In short, taken together it can hardly be described as damaging information against Clinton in her run against Trump.  In fact, all it proved was that the DNC was heavily invested in a Clinton victory over Bernie Sanders despite the fact they are supposed to be neutral.  It was Bernie Sanders doing the most complaining about the process being “rigged.”  As for the Podesta e-mails, about the worst that can be said is that he seemed most preoccupied with raising donations.  Does anyone seriously believe this collection of the inside machinations of the DNC was to the benefit of Donald Trump?

If anyone benefited from this information, it was Bernie Sanders.  There is more proof to the theory that the hack and resulting document dump was designed to benefit Sanders and fracture the DNC and Democratic Party.  During the general election campaign, what did the Russians do?  They created fake Facebook sites aimed at more Leftist issues such as the Keystone pipeline and Black Lives Matter.

And there exists a double standard here.  There was some discussion about a memo by the Internet Research Agency- a Russian troll factory- claiming “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump- we like them.)”  Funny how this sentiment is proof Russia wanted Trump to win, but the part about Sanders is conveniently ignored.

Some can say that is because Sanders was not the eventual nominee.  But, the original dump was released on the eve of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia where Bernie Sanders was going to make a stand against the collusion between the Clinton campaign and the DNC.  When Sanders backed down and endorsed Clinton in exchange for a greater say in the Party platform, the Russians then decided to play both sides against one another.

Why would the Russians prefer Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton other than Putin’s hatred of Clinton?  That would be reason enough and Putin, in fact, said he preferred Trump over Clinton at that press conference in Helsinki.  But, consider the following facts:

  • In a February 4th debate in New Hampshire, Sanders stated he did not feel that Russia was a threat;
  • According to a September 15, 2015 statement from a Sanders grassroots organization- FeelTheBern.org- Sanders was quoted as saying he was against NATO expansion because Russia would feel threatened, and that NATO members should pay more for their own defense;
  • Sanders told the Huffington Post that he was delighted that Jeremy Corbyn had taken over the British Labor Party.  Corbyn, by the way, supports pulling Britain out of NATO, admires Putin, and has excused the Russian invasion of the Crimea;
  • After serving 17 years in prison for espionage for first the Soviet Union and later Russia, Kurt Stand rejoined the Democratic Socialists of America and became a huge Bernie Sanders supporter.

When looked at in their totality, the Russian hacks certainly worked to the benefit of Sanders more than Trump in that:

  • they  proved the collusion between the Clinton campaign and the supposedly neutral DNC;
  • They gave Sanders leverage on the party’s platform;
  • They caused the resignations of key Clinton supporters from the DNC, including its chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz;
  • It made Keith Ellison- a huge Sanders supporter- the #2 person at the DNC;
  • It started the process of weakening Clinton’s hold on the Democratic Party, and;
  • it started the Democratic Party’s far Leftist lurch.

Given Sanders much longer tenure in politics than Trump’s tenure, it is also more likely that Russian intelligence had more information regarding Bernie Sanders than it did on Trump, notwithstanding uncorroborated salacious dossiers prepared as part of opposition research for Clinton.

We can see the effects on the Democratic Party today.  Their Chairman- Thomas Perez- has dubbed an avowed socialist “the future of the party.”  Bernie Sanders himself is considered the Democratic front runner in 2020 at this point in time (although those behind him are turning into Bernie clones).  If the goal of the DNC/Podesta hacks were to increase Sanders’ standing and move the Party more to the left, they succeeded.  If the goal was to sow the seeds of discord and animosity in the United States given their preferred Democrat lost in 2016, they succeeded.

It was a win-win scenario for Putin and Russia.  And one needs to ask: who is the bigger dupe of Russia and Putin- Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders?