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About Those WikiLeaks DNC emails

WikiLeaks released nearly 20,000 emails to and from the Democratic National Committee. They are freely available on their website at  https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/  I took the time to search the emails, not exhaustively, but enough to get a flavor of many of the emails. There were of course those that were damaging to the DNC, particularly the one from Brad Marshall suggesting making Bernie Sanders appear to be an atheist (although there is no evidence that anyone put this suggestion into action). Others, in which Debbie Wasserman-Shultz expressed anger or frustration at the Sanders campaign or at Bernie himself for accusing her of being biased are probably the normal give and take of a campaign season. The Marshall email and a few others are certainly enough to prove that the DNC and its members were biased toward Hillary Clinton, as Sanders had often intimated during the campaign, although not that they actually carried out any activities to affect the outcome of the primary.

These emails are enough evidence to demonstrate that Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, and probably several other members of the DNC should resign or be fired and they are a strong reason for revamping the whole party primary campaign format. If these things happen, we can thank WikiLeaks, although, frankly, I’m sure that Bernie Sanders would agree that we didn’t need the emails to conclude that the DNC, including its chairwoman, was biased. Reforms, including getting rid of the superdelegates, have obviously been needed and the emails only made more people agree with this.

But what about the process of leaking private emails to the public? I can sympathize with whistleblowers or hackers who find information about either illegal or unethical practices in either the government or in the private or political sectors and make that information public. There are several things about this leak, however, that are disturbing.

In the first place, the timing and the object of the release was definitely political, that is, partisan political. Just as everyone who followed the primary campaign was aware of the DNC’s bias for Hillary and against Bernie, they were equally aware of the Republican National Committee’s bias against Donald Trump. No private emails from the RNC have surfaced. That isn’t WikiLeaks’ fault, since they would probably release them if they had them, but they released the DNC emails the day before the convention, knowing that     the result would favor one side and not the other.

Much more disturbing, was that the release of emails includes private information on contributors to the DNC. Such information included names, addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, partial credit card numbers and in  a few instances, social security numbers – these for as low as contributions of $3-$10. It may be WikiLeaks’ policy to publish everything they have, but such private information can be disastrously financially damaging to individuals who have done nothing wrong but contribute to a political party. If, by publishing such information, donors are less likely to contribute in the future, the release is interfering with the democratic process within the U.S. There is no reason that WikiLeaks couldn’t have removed those emails from the collection before publishing them. They have no political impact and are simply damaging to innocent individuals. I find it amazing that Americans who are livid that Facebook, or Twitter or Apple or the NSA might view their private emails and do something with that information that is harmful to innocent Americans, celebrate the WikiLeaks release without any concern for the invasion of privacy it entails.

Finally, there are the allegations from the Clinton campaign that the release of the emails represents collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. This is a conspiracy theory with only circumstantial evidence in its favor at the moment. The idea is that the hacker was a Russian group (one of two that are known to have hacked into the DNC and to the State Department) with ties to the Russian government and that turning the emails over to WikiLeaks for publication was a reward to the Trump campaign for either Trump’s stance on NATO or, more directly, for the Trump campaign removing the plank in the Republican platform that had called for “providing lethal weapons to the Ukraine” for their self-defense against Russia. The  removal of this plank at the request of the Trump campaign did, in fact, happen, much to the mystification of most Republicans, who favored the plank.

The above is a conspiracy theory, and one for which I know of no evidence. It is being investigated by the U.S. government. What is known for sure is that the DNC was biased against Bernie Sanders and, just as disturbing to me, that WikiLeaks released lots of items of private financial information of American citizens. Neither of these is OK, and we should be equally critical of the DNC and WikiLeaks for their methods.

Reader Comments (1)

I agree with you, Casey, that the content of the emails is disturbing and that the release of private information is nothing short of criminal, I add, since people's identities can be stolen. I especially agree that this is yet another political attack against the Democratic Party at a time when it is crucial for this party to regain control of Congress and maintain control of the White House.

People ar foolish if they think that emails are anything but promiscuous, but these kinds of leaks will drive politics to the back rooms and secrecy that we've seen in the past. That's not a good thing.

July 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnca Vlasopolos

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