The data breach by the Sanders staffers is still causing ripples in the Democratic pond, as one unnamed adviser for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders spoke with Yahoo! Politics and claimed the “hacker” responsible for accessing Hillary Clinton’s data may have been part of a plot to damage Sanders’ credibility. If true, it’s a political move right out of shows like House of Cards or Scandal.
According to this advisor, Josh Uretsky, the fired staffer responsible for accessing Clinton’s data after a firewall separating the two campaign’s data came down, came to the Sanders campaign highly recommended by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the NGP VAN, the system campaigns use to access vital voter information.
The Sanders advisor said:
It’s not as if we conjured this guy Josh from thin air. This is an individual … who was recommended to us by the DNC and NGP VAN.
Andrew Brown spoke to us and gave him a positive review, as did this guy Bryan Whitaker.
Andrew Brown is the DNC’s National Data Director and Bryan Whitaker used to be the COO of NGP VAN.
The fact Uretsky came so highly recommended by these people is troubling and perhaps implies dirty politics is afoot.
Sanders is very highly viewed, according to official polls, as being honest and trustworthy — this data breach undermines his credibility.
The advisor believes a conspiracy to undermine the Sanders campaign is possible, and that the DNC bears much of the responsibility for the breach:
I don’t know how you can more centrally connect this thing than those two entities. Here we are being attacked by both of those entities when, in fact, they recommended this guy to the campaign.
The Sanders campaign never denied wrongdoing by their staff but took exception to the fact that the DNC and Clinton campaign went running with the story before the dust had settled. The advisor says that audit logs had been given to the Clinton campaign, which were then forwarded to the media while the Sanders campaign was not given the logs and had no access to their system to review the damage. Therefore, the Clinton campaign and the DNC were able to make more detailed public statements on the incident, leaving the Sanders campaign looking like a fumbling mess.
The advisor says:
This is one of the things that we were whipsawed in over the course of the, you know, 48 hours. NGP VAN was leaking information, clearly provided documents to the DNC and the Clinton campaign — or the DNC was providing those documents to the Clinton campaign. Documents that we didn’t have.
It would have been fair play to provide us the info in proper time … they basically locked us out and then started throwing stuff under the table.
The Sanders campaign is not backing down from a full independent investigation, which Clinton agreed to on national TV during the third Democratic debate.
Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager also implied in his press conference during the DNC lockout that the DNC and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (DWS) were purposely hurting the Sanders campaign:
By their action, the leadership of the Democratic National Committee is now actively attempting to undermine our campaign. This is unacceptable. Individual leaders of the DNC can support Hillary Clinton in any way they want, but they are not going to sabotage our campaign — one of the strongest grassroots campaigns in modern history.
Indeed, this sentiment has been ruminating through the Democratic party ever since Sanders announced his campaign to challenge Hillary Clinton. There is speculation the debate schedule set by DWS helps the already popular Clinton, while hurting Sanders’ chances of putting out his populist message because he is almost virtually unknown to people who aren’t politically savvy.
Weaver also said in a note to supporters:
The reality is that the huge turnouts that we’ve had at our meetings, our strong fundraising, our volunteer base and quick rise in the polls have caused the Democratic National Committee to place its thumb on the scales in support of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. You see that fact evidenced in their decision to bury the Democratic debates on weekends during nationally televised football games. It’s more or less an open secret.
While the Sanders campaign is not backing down from their investigation into the DNC, the DNC is reportedly uncooperative, according to the advisor:
We have demanded a full investigation from top to bottom. Hillary Clinton agreed to it in the debate Saturday, and the DNC continues to stonewall a full investigation.
The fact of the matter is Uretsky was not some newbie hired into a position he had no working knowledge of — he KNEW his movements in the system would be tracked. While he maintains that he was simply trying to understand what the Clinton campaign could access from the Sanders campaign, it does little to explain why he pasted Clinton’s voter files into an excel file. And why would someone so highly recommended and knowledgeable be so damn reckless and stupid?
Furthermore, the DNC also severely mishandled this data breach when they suspended the Sanders campaign’s access to their own voter information. And the DNC did not play fair when they failed to provide the Sanders campaign with detailed audit logs of the extent of the breach so they could go to the media informed — they are supposed to be on the same team regardless if one campaign committed an infraction. And if the DNC is guilty of no wrongdoing, why stonewall the investigation into the matter?
Quite simply, if the DNC fancies themselves kingmakers, they are undermining our Democracy, and it won’t be tolerated.
Featured Image via Flickr