A Closer Look at that E-Mail Leak

Published: July 27, 2016

By Jim Lichtman
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The day before the Democratic National Convention convened in Philadelphia, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, announced that she will resign after the release of thousands of internal e-mail exchanges among Democratic insiders that demonstrated a clear bias towards Clinton during the primaries.


“Many of the most damaging e-mails,” The Washington Post writes (July 25), “suggest the committee was actively trying to undermine Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. Basically all of these examples came late in the primary — after Hillary Clinton was clearly headed for victory — but they belie the national party committee’s stated neutrality in the race even at that late stage.”

But there’s more to the story than DNC officials trying to chip away at the Sanders’ campaign.

The release came via WikiLeaks, the online organization that has made a name and habit of releasing secret information such as the 2010 Iraq war documents via leaker US Army Private Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning, currently serving a 35-year prison sentence.

In the case of the DNC e-mails, however, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, made it clear that the release of the e-mails, allegedly hacked by Russian “actors,” was timed to damage Hillary Clinton’s chance of becoming president.

The New York Times reports (July 26), “In the interview, Mr. Assange told a British television host, Robert Peston of the ITV network, that his organization had obtained ‘e-mails related to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication,’ which he pronounced ‘great.’ He also suggested that he not only opposed her candidacy on policy grounds, but also saw her as a personal foe.

“At one point, Mr. Peston said: ‘Plainly, what you are saying, what you are publishing, hurts Hillary Clinton. Would you prefer Trump to be president?’

“Mr. Assange replied that what Mr. Trump would do as president was ‘completely unpredictable.’ By contrast, he thought it was predictable that Mrs. Clinton would wield power in two ways he found problematic. First, citing his ‘personal perspective,’ Mr. Assange accused Mrs. Clinton of having been among those pushing to indict him after WikiLeaks disseminated a quarter of a million diplomatic cables during her tenure as secretary of state.

“ ‘We do see her as a bit of a problem for freedom of the press more generally,’ Mr. Assange said. … ‘She has a long history of being a liberal war hawk,’ Assange said, ‘and we presume she is going to proceed’ with that approach if elected president.”

In an online essay that appeared on the WikiLeaks site last February, Assange writes, “Hillary’s problem is not just that she’s war hawk. She’s a war hawk with bad judgment who gets an unseemly emotional rush out of killing people. She shouldn’t be let near a gun shop, let alone an army. And she certainly should not become president of the United States.”

Don’t you like people with a personal axe to grind who hide under the rationale of performing a public service?

The Times writes, “After the Democratic chairwoman, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, resigned Monday when Sanders supporters reacted angrily to revelations in the e-mails that party officials had privately rooted for Mrs. Clinton to win the presidential nomination, Mr. Assange told the news program ‘Democracy Now!’ that he timed their release to coincide with the Democratic convention.

“ ‘Often it’s the case that we have to do a lot of exploration and marketing of the material we publish ourselves to get a big political impact for it,’ he said. ‘But in this case, we knew, because of the pending D.N.C., because of the degree of interest in the U.S. election, we didn’t need to establish partnerships with The New York Times or The Washington Post.’

“Asked on that program whether the Russian government gave him the e-mails, Mr. Assange said he never reveals sources but also that ‘no one knows who our source is.’ He also said the Democratic National Committee might have been hacked on multiple occasions by different intruders.”

I’m not going to pretend that the DNC e-mails aren’t shameful. They are, but Assange has long seen himself as the Lone Ranger who rides to the rescue of all in the name of honesty and transparency. However, Assange’s own transparency reveals that it’s all about revenge; revenge for not only being criticized for leaking 250,000 secret cables (deserved), but because Clinton has called for his indictment (also deserved).


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