Bad news appears to be hurtling Hillary's way. How else to interpret this morning's frontpager by Eric Lichtblau and Eric Schmitt, "Hack of Democrats’ Accounts Was Wider Than Believed, Officials Say"?
WASHINGTON — A Russian cyberattack that targeted Democratic politicians was bigger than it first appeared and breached the private email accounts of more than 100 party officials and groups, officials with knowledge of the case said Wednesday.
The widening scope of the attack has prompted the F.B.I. to broaden its investigation, and agents have begun notifying a long list of Democratic officials that the Russians may have breached their personal accounts.
The main targets appear to have been the personal email accounts of Hillary Clinton’s campaign officials and party operatives, along with a number of party organizations.
Officials have acknowledged that the Russian hackers gained access to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is the fund-raising arm for House Democrats, and to the Democratic National Committee, including a D.N.C. voter analytics program used by Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign.
But the hack now appears to have extended well beyond those groups, and organizations like the Democratic Governors’ Association may also have been affected, according to Democrats involved in the investigation.
Democrats say they are bracing for the possibility that another batch of damaging or embarrassing internal material could become public before the November presidential election.Clearly the intention is to inoculate the Clinton campaign from onrushing bad news. The inoculation comes in the form of red baiting, the same inoculation utilized after the WikiLeaks salvo felled the odious Wasserman-Schultz from her DNC perch.
A strong tell that we are in the realm of the dark arts is the presence of Eric Schmitt in the byline. Schmitt handles all the spook info-war stuff for the Gray Lady. His portfolio straddles continents. Though his paycheck is cut by The New York Times, he essentially works for the United States Government.
But today's story is an unusually sloppy one. The point of the Lichtblau-Schmitt piece is to drown out any content in a fresh tranche of damaging email leaks by shouting, "The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!" The thought among seasoned info-war veterans must be that this call still resonates in the U.S. homeland. The problem is that Lichtblau-Schmitt undercut their main premise midway through the story:
The F.B.I. says it has no direct evidence that Mrs. Clinton’s private email server was hacked by the Russians or anyone else. But in June, the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said that intruders had tried, and that any successful intruders were probably far too skilled to leave evidence of their intrusion behind. Law enforcement officials said he had the Russians in mind.Lichtblau-Schmitt lead by saying the FBI is expanding its investigation of email hacks, with the Russians being the likely culprit; then they cite FBI director Comey saying that skilled hackers, like the Russians, don't leave clues behind. So what is the reader to believe? Possibly Lichtblau-Schmitt are not being sloppy but actually intend to befuddle their audience.
There is this nugget at the end of story:
WikiLeaks, the group that put out the D.N.C. emails publicly last month, interjected itself into the hacking case again this week when it offered a $20,000 reward for information on the shooting death last month of a former D.N.C. staff member, Seth Rich, outside his Washington home. His killing fueled speculation on the internet that he was somehow tied to the hacked emails, but the police have not given any credence to that speculation.
The WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, has made it clear that he would like to hurt Mrs. Clinton’s bid for the White House, opposing her candidacy on policy and personal grounds. He has hinted that he has more material about the presidential campaign that he could release.It could be that Rich was WikiLeaks' source.
The email hack conspiracy story, "rich" as it is, distracts us from the elephant in the room -- Clinton Foundation influence peddling. (See "Spokesman Explains Why Clinton Charity Donor Sought State Dept. Meeting" by Eric Lipton and Steve Eder.) Lambert Strether synopsizes the Clinton Foundation-State Department pipeline in a Water Cooler from yesterday:
Lambert here, tl;dr: It’s all true. Donors to the Clinton Foundation got special treatment at State. Emails released by State, showing this, were not released by Clinton, even though they weren’t about yoga lessons and Chelsea’s wedding. Shocked, shocked, I know, but the Clinton Dynasty’s effrontery continues to amaze. Even though Judicial Watch isn’t on my side of the ideological prism, kudos to them for their patience and persistence in getting this material released. (The headlines, incidentally, show far too much deference.) Cue the “no quid pro quo” therefore no corruption crowd. (The irony of liberals accepting the doctrine of Citizens United to save their corrupt candidate is corrosive. Or not ironic at all. At this point, I’m not sure.)
“The new emails, released by the group Judicial Watch, offer fresh examples of how top Clinton Foundation officials [on behalf of big donors] sought [and gained] access to the State Department during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure.” (I’ve helpfully added some clarifying material in square brackets.) [Wall Street Journal, “Newly Released Emails Highlight Clinton Foundation’s Ties to State Department “]. Huma’s three hats are interesting, too.
“The State Department has turned over 44 previously-unreleased Hillary Clinton email exchanges that the Democratic presidential nominee failed to include [attempted to conceal] among the 30,000 private messages she turned over to the government last year. They show her interacting with [pedding influence] lobbyists, political and Clinton Foundation donors and business interests as secretary of state.” (Here too, I’ve helpfully added some clarifying material in square brackets.) [AP].
UPDATE “New Emails Appear to Show Clinton Foundation Donors Called In Favors to State Dept” [LawNewz]. “Newly released State Department records, including previously unreleased emails from Huma Abedin, appear to show Clinton Foundation donors calling in favors from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”The reanimation of Hillary's political cadaver is requiring a colossal amount of energy from the grid, so much so that the grid might very well crash. We can only hope.