Vincent Harris Quoted On “Assange Says More Clinton Leaks Are Coming — Here’s What We Know”
Does WikiLeaks have dirt on Hillary Clinton? And will it publish more damaging internal documents from the Democratic National Committee? Democrats fear that the release last month of nearly 20,000 emails from inside the DNC was just the first blow in a flurry to come. And according to Julian Assange, they are right to worry. The editor of WikiLeaks has promised in several recent interviews to publicize additional material — information weaponized with the potential to influence the 2016 presidential election.
But, at least in public, the institutions Assange claims will be affected by the new release don’t appear to be mounting a pre-emptive response, and they’ve been tight-lipped about what they’re doing (or not doing) to prepare for it. Representatives for the DNC and the Clinton campaign declined comment on Assange’s claims of an upcoming release.
“We have a lot of material related to the US election campaign, including related to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, to the Clinton Foundation, and to the DNC,” Assange said last week during an interview on the Dutch television program Nieuwsuur. In fact, WikiLeaks presented the searchable database of DNC emails as “part one of our new Hillary Leaks series.”
Cybersecurity experts, political operatives, and observers of Assange don’t believe he is bluffing, even as the contents of the supposed documents and the timing of their release remain a mystery.
“There was tremendous attention placed on the contents of the DNC emails, and there were obviously some repercussions,” Gabriella Coleman, an anthropologist at McGill University whose research focuses on hacker culture and politics, told BuzzFeed News. “And yet it’s sort of like everything has gone on as if nothing happened at some level as well.”
The DNC material was published just before the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. But a release of information closer to the election could have a bigger impact on the outcome.
“If there is something substantial right before the election, it could change things, and that’s what I find interesting about the current iteration,” Coleman said.
The timing and substance of WikiLeaks’ previous release, on the inner workings of the Democratic Party, still proved politically damaging and was seized upon by the Trump campaign. The document dump ignited discord at the party’s “unity” event, dominating national news coverage. And since WikiLeaks published the trove of correspondence, four top officials from the DNC have resigned, including its chief,Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
A Clinton campaign official told BuzzFeed News that the campaign had not been notified by the FBI of any breach to its internal information system. Since the emails were released, the DNC has created a cybersecurity advisory board to help prevent future intrusions, although the makeup of the board has already been criticized by Christopher Soghoian of the ACLU and network security expert Peiter Zatko, better known as Mudge, for not including anyone with technical cybersecurity expertise.
Michael Sussmann, one of the cybersecurity advisors brought in by the DNC and a partner at the law firm Perkins Coie, told BuzzFeed News, “The four people on the advisory board aren’t the beginning or the end of the cybersecurity expertise that’s being brought to bear on the challenge.” Sussmann added that the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike is advising the DNC as well.
“I have to imagine that they are preparing in case ‘X,Y,Z’ comes out, because they have more information than we have as to what was acquired,” Coleman said, referring to the anticipated release.
Vincent Harris, CEO of Harris Media, who led digital strategy for Rand Paul’s presidential bid and has helmed digital operations for Ted Cruz, told BuzzFeed News that when it comes to opposition research, campaigns should already know what their opponents can throw their way.
“A good campaign or organization will be prepared for the hit, having done opposition research on itself,” he said.