Russia hacks DNC, steals Democratic oppo research file on Trump

Why go to the trouble? If Putin wants dirt on Trump, he could just download the Page Six archive and start sifting through old Howard Stern shows. A friend, goofing on the evergreen Democratic gender-gap obsession, messaged me after the news broke, “The Kremlin is now in possession of a long list of misconstrued, slightly out of context quotes from Trump about women.” Indeed. The FSB may now be the proud owner of a list of all the 10’s that Donald Trump has dated.

Hillary’s not even the nominee yet and she’s already putting her stamp on the party. And that stamp, apparently, is “Easy hackability.”

The intruders so thoroughly compromised the DNC’s system they also were able to read all e-mail and chat traffic, said DNC officials and the security experts…

Some of the hackers had access to the DNC network for about a year, but all were expelled over the past weekend in a major computer clean-up campaign, the committee officials and experts said…

“The purpose of such intelligence gathering is to understand the target’s proclivities,” said Robert Deitz, former senior councillor to the CIA director and a former general counsel at the National Security Agency. “Trump’s foreign investments, for example, would be relevant to understanding how he would deal with countries where he has those investments” should he be elected, Deitz said. “They may provide tips for understanding his style of negotiating. In short, this sort of intelligence could be used by Russia, for example, to indicate where it can get away with foreign adventurism.”…

Russia has always been a formidable foe in cyberspace, but in the last two years “there’s been a thousand-fold increase in its espionage campaign against the West,” said Alperovitch, who is also a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. “They feel under siege.”

How bad is it? According to experts, this was actually two different hacks conducted by two different Russian outfits (one probably the FSB, the other possibly the military) — and they might not have been working together. That means two distinct infiltrations into the DNC’s system. I wonder if the hackers ran into each other while they were poking around in there. Which reminds me: Are we still pretending that they never made it into the Secretary of State’s amateurish home-server set-up despite the likelihood that it would contain far more valuable information than the Donald Trump oppo file?

As for what they might do with the information, one possibility is blackmail — but what good is party oppo in engineering that when the most damning stuff will, presumably, be made public by the Democrats to try to take Trump down before the election? The point in the excerpt about understanding Trump’s investments to anticipate what he might do as president is possible, I guess, but Trump seems more invested in his image as a strongman and a “winner” than he does in any financial holding. If you want to manipulate him, offer him self-serving foreign policy agreements that let him posture as a big man.

Another possibility, on the more sinister side, is that Putin suspects Trump will be slower to act against Russian expansion abroad and is now so invested in seeing him win that he’ll just give the oppo file to Trump’s campaign to help them prepare for attacks to come. Although I’m not sure what good that would do either. Trump’s strategy for countering attacks is to call his opponent a loser or crooked and then say something that instantly changes the subject (which is pretty effective). There’s no reason to think that tipping him off that Hillary’s about to come at him over, say, his business holdings would generate some sophisticated “prebuttal” to the attack. Although one good turn deserves other: If it’s fair game for Trump to hint-hint that Obama is soft on radical Islam because he sympathizes with it, why wouldn’t it be fair game for the DNC to hint-hint that Russia snatched the oppo file at Trump’s behest, a little favor for him from his new friend Vladimir? Exit question via John McCormack: What might Team Trump offer for the file? That’s the art of the deal!