Even with Hillary Clinton over a month removed from her surprise election defeat, the word “emails” has a haunting aura for a healthy chunk of Democrats. Today’s in-depth report from the New York Times might make for a painful read for disappointed Clinton (or simply anti-Trump) supporters, but it’s also an essential one to read to better understand the finer points of the hacking the Democrats were hit by in 2016.
According to the Times, a fake Google email was the “patient zero” that unraveled the security efforts of the Clinton campaign.
Consider the case of Charles Delavan, an aide to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, who in March 2016 was forwarded the phishing email that had been sent to John D. Podesta, the chairman of the Clinton campaign. Mr. Delavan had been asked to advise Mr. Podesta if this was a real email from Google, asking him to change the password on his personal Gmail account, or a hoax, trying to hack into Mr. Podesta’s account.
The Clinton campaign, simultaneously, was the target of an aggressive cyberattack that relied in large part on near replicas of this same fake Google email, urging recipients to change their password. So Mr. Delavan, in an interview, said he immediately knew this was a fake. And to me, as a reporter, that was a plausible statement.
But somehow — and this action by Mr. Delavan remains inexplicable — he wrote back that the fake Google email was “legitimate,” leading Mr. Podesta or one of his aides to fall for the ruse. This opened up to the Russian hackers a decade’s worth of Mr. Podesta’s emails (60,000 in total), including those that contained copies of speeches Mrs. Clinton had given on Wall Street, as well as hundreds of private exchanges he had had with other close aides. All of these became public, causing a distraction to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign in its critical final month.
Both the CIA and FBI have indicated belief that Russia meddled in this year’s election to assist Trump. Unsurprisingly, Trump has dismissed the report as false, a move that can diplomatically be described as “brazen” considering that he literally asked Russian hackers to break into Hillary Clinton’s emails. A NBC News report has also pointed out Trump’s unique relationship with the truth, with a senior U.S. intelligence official telling the outlet that both parties were briefed about Russian attempts at interfering in the election. Seeing as 52% of Republicans believe Donald Trump’s categorically false claim that he won the popular vote (Hillary’s lead is nearly 3 million in that category at the moment), Trump seems to be the only authority that his die-hards trust.
(Via New York Times)