Hidden from the media narrative of Russian cyber sabotage is the content of the DNC leaks, and how the leaks revealed the arrogance and corruption of the Democratic Party elite.
Amidst the blame Russia hysteria, the actual content of the the Democratic National Committee (DNC) hacks has been consigned to the memory hole. In a veritable tidal wave of false narratives, the mainstream media has succeeded in drowning the legacy of the leaks in (not terribly convincing) accusations of Russian culpability. Erased from this narrative is the fact that the highest levels of the Democratic Party—supposedly neutral arbiters of the candidate selection process—sabotaged the Bernie Sanders campaign, and detest vast swaths of the Democratic Party constituency.
The first leaks appeared on July 22nd, when WikiLeaks released a collection of emails from the accounts of seven top DNC officials. The initial leaks confirmed what Sanders supporters had alleged for months, which was that the DNC was conspiring to sabotage the Sanders campaign. Emails implicated top officials such as DNC CFO Brad Marshall, who discussed planting a media story about Sanders' religious beliefs in an effort to undermine his campaign.
Replying to the email, DNC CEO Amy Dacey writes simply “AMEN”.
Another email from DNC staffer Mark Paustenbach floats the idea of planting a media narrative about the Sanders campaign being “a mess”, constantly needing to be coddled by the DNC in order to keep it afloat. Apparently without any hint of irony, Paustenbach proposes part of this narrative would focus on how Sanders' loss can be attributed to his own mistakes rather than, “a DNC conspiracy”.
Emails from the account of DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz confirmed the high levels of animosity between the DNC and the Sanders campaign. Schultz writes of Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver that “He is an ASS,” and “a damn liar”.
Also of note was an “agreement” between Politico's Kenneth Vogel and Paustenbach to "let the DNC pre-screen one of Vogel's stories before" it was sent to his editors. The idea that Vogel would allow the DNC to screen his stories constitutes a breach of journalistic ethics, and confirms another charge by Sanders supporters who alleged collusion between the mainstream media and the Clinton campaign.
The initial document release provoked the resignations of Schultz, Dacey, and Marshall, in addition to communications director Luis Miranda.
After Schultz stepped down, the post of DNC chairwoman passed to former Al Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile. It was under Brazile that the second batch of leaks would be released. The October 7th leaks showed that Brazile, while working as a contributor for CNN, had gained access to and given the Clinton campaign the debate questions prior to a Sanders-Clinton debate in March.
Also included in the leaks was a transcript of a speech given to union members in which Clinton railed against environmentalists. “They come to my rallies and they yell at me and, you know, all the rest of it. They say, 'Will you promise never to take any fossil fuels out of the earth ever again?' No. I won't promise that. Get a life, you know...My view is, I want to defend natural gas...I want to defend fracking under the right circumstances."
Maybe even more damning than the leaks themselves was the arrogant way in which DNC officials and the Clinton campaign responded to them. Almost immediately after Schultz's resignation Clinton issued a statement thanking her “longtime friend”, and announced that Schultz had been appointed as her honorary campaign chair. The only way to explain such a bewilderingly self-destructive act—guaranteed to alienate Sanders' die hard supporters—is to assume that Clinton was totally self-assured of an easy victory in November and/or despised large portions of the Democratic Party constituency to the point that she couldn't resist rubbing salt in their wounds.
For her part, far from apologizing DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile responded to the revelations about leaking debate questions by merely saying, “if I had to do it all over again, I would know a hell of a lot more about cybersecurity.” Brazile has not resigned and is still DNC chair.
In all, the leaks paint a portrait of an arrogant Democratic Party establishment which despises large swaths of its voting base and its young/Sanders aligned volunteers. They also provide a window into how candidates who do not toe the Party line are filtered out of the candidate selection process. As for the issue of Russian culpability, it is rendered somewhat moot when one considers that all the leaks really did is expose the dirty secrets of an organization that is a central pillar of American democracy. Of course, far from viewing it in that way, the media and the Democratic Party establishment have begun their familiar drumbeat for war. In this sense the hysteria over Russian cyberwarfare cannot be overlooked, and I hope to continue exploring it from different angles.