In an earlier debate, Bernie Sanders announced that he was tired of hearing about Hillary Clinton’s scandals in handling classified data. In tomorrow’s Democratic presidential debate, Hillary might be able to return the favor. The DNC has sanctioned Team Bernie for unauthorized access into Team Hillary’s campaign data, thanks to an opening inadvertently provided by the Democrats’ data contractor:
The Democratic National Committee has barred Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign from accessing its voter database after a software glitch allowed it to review Hillary Clinton’s private campaign information, a DNC official told NBC News.
The breach happened after a software error at the technology company NGP VAN, which provides campaigns with voter data. As a result of the glitch, “all users on the system across the Democratic campaigns were inadvertently able to access some data belonging to other campaigns for a brief window,” DNC spokesman Luis Miranda said in a statement.
The Clinton campaign declined to comment.
Sanders’ campaign said it had fired a staff member who accessed the Clinton campaign’s data. A DNC official told NBC News that it is believed a total of four people breached Clinton’s data.
Now that the shoe is on the other foot, what does Sanders do? Take a page out of Hillary’s e-mail scandal playbook, of course. Team Sanders blamed the official system and those who run it rather than the people on his campaign who took advantage of it:
Weaver said the Sanders campaign never downloaded or printed any of the data, meaning it is no longer in possession of any proprietary information. He squarely blamed NGP VAN for the glitch — and blamed the DNC for hiring the company.
“Sadly, the DNC is relying on an incompetent vendor who on more than one occasion has dropped the firewall between the various Democratic candidates’ data,” he said.
It’s no joke for the Sanders campaign, though, if they can’t get access to the data. The Iowa caucuses in particular require a well-organized GOTV effort, and the campaign would have to start from scratch almost at the finish line. The DNC wants Team Sanders to supply proof that the Hillary data they accessed has been removed from their systems before restoring access to the data they’ve compiled for themselves, and also an explanation for what happened. Team Sanders has fired one staffer and says they never did download anything, but that explanation may not be good enough.
Perhaps I can offer Senator Sanders a strategy for dealing with this. Just tell the DNC that this had nothing to do with him, and that the data wasn’t marked confidential and potentially damaging when his staff accessed it and passed it around. It’s a ridiculous and non-responsive answer, but Bernie can remind the DNC that they’ll be making the same argument about Hillary’s e-mail scandal after she wins the Democratic nomination while campaigning to put Hillary in charge of national security. If it’s good enough for the goose on highly damaging nat-sec intel, why shouldn’t it be good enough for the gander when it comes to voter data?
Update: Pass the popcorn, via CNN:
Bernie Sanders campaign on Friday threatened to take the Democratic National Committee to federal court if the party organization doesn’t restore the campaign’s access to a crucial voter database….
At a press conference in Washington on Friday, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver charged the DNC was trying to sabotage the campaign and vowed to fight the DNC in federal court if the Sanders campaign’s access to the data is not restored.
“The DNC, in an inappropriate overreaction, has denied us access to our own data,” Weaver said. “In other words, the leadership of the Democratic National Committee is actively trying to undermine our campaign … If they hold our data hostage, we will be in federal court this afternoon seeking immediately relief.”
The DNC has the next in its Peekaboo Debates tomorrow night. Will Sanders show up for it? Will anyone notice if he doesn’t? Stay tuuuuuuuuyaaaaaaawwwwn.