Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Over the weekend, Hillary Clinton's campaign accused Russia of stealing the files and releasing them to WikiLeaks. (Photo: Artem Rosnovsky/flickr/cc)

Is DNC Blaming Russia for Email Hacks to Escape Real Scandal?

Early speculation about Russian involvement may be an attempt to distract from real issue—what's in the emails

Nadia Prupis

As the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launches an investigation into the massive email leak that has rocked the Democratic party and forced the ouster of Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, many are cautioning that early speculation about Russian involvement distracts from the real issue—what's in the emails.

Over the weekend, Hillary Clinton's campaign accused Russia of stealing the files and releasing them to WikiLeaks, which published the cache, to sabotage her run for the White House. As Common Dreams reported last week, the hack showed the DNC had undermined Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign from the beginning.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday, "experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails, and other experts are now saying that they are—the Russians are releasing these emails for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump."

But as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Democracy Now! on Monday, that claim may be spurious. Assange said:

Well, what's not in that clip there by Robby is that, just afterwards, he was asked by Jake Tapper, "Who are these experts? Can you name them?" The answer was no, a refusal to name the experts. But we have seen one of the experts, so-called experts, that the Democratic Party is trying to base its incredible conspiracy theory on about WikiLeaks. And that is this—what we jokingly refer to as the NSA dick pic guy. He's a former National Security Agency agent who started to produce conspiracy theories about us in 2013, when we were involved in the Edward Snowden rescue, as a means to try and undermine the Snowden publications, subsequently embroiled in some amateur pornography scandal. That's why they don't want to name their experts, because they are people like this.

[....] And the DNC has been hacked dozens and dozens of times. Even according to its own reports, it had been hacked extensively over the last few years. And the dates of the emails that we published are significantly after all, or all but one—it's not clear—of the hacking allegations that the DNC says have occurred.

And as Adam Johnson wrote for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) on Monday, while it's "impossible to know whether systemic pro-Hillary Clinton bias at the DNC was decisive in the 2016 Democratic primary race, we now know beyond any doubt that such a bias not only existed, but was endemic and widespread."

Johnson noted that many pro-Clinton pundits were quick to shift the focus away from the revelations within the emails to the possible Russian link behind the hack:

Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall (7/23/16) released a rather paranoid rundown the day of the leaks on how Putin was conspiring with Trump (a fairly good debunking of which can be found here), soon after dismissing the substance of the leaks as Russian propaganda white noise. Many soon followed suit: The DNC leaks as Russian spy operation was the preferred talking point of the day, omitting or glossing over what the leaks actually entailed.

"The actual culpability of Russia for those leaks, it's worth noting," Johnson wrote, "is still unproven."

And as Mark Z. Barabak wrote for the Los Angeles Times on Monday, the Democrats' accusations against Russia actually signal a turnaround for the party, which has historically held back in its criticism of President Vladimir Putin.

"[I]n one of the most startling turnabouts in a campaign filled with role reversals, it is now the Democrats brandishing fear of Moscow as a club, accusing Donald Trump of an oddly worshipful regard for the Russian leader and suggesting that the Kremlin may be interfering in the U.S. election on his behalf," Barabak wrote, noting that Mook's claims over the weekend had "only circumstantial evidence as backup."

"By tapping concerns about Putin's expansionist aims and accusing Trump of complicity, the Clinton campaign is raising some ghosts of the old Cold War—and hoping this time it will be the Democrats who can capitalize on voter fears," he said.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

Abortion Rights Groups Sue to Block Post-Roe Trigger Laws in Louisiana

"We will be fighting to restore access in Louisiana and other states for as long as we can," said one reproductive rights campaigner.

Jake Johnson ·


Poll Shows Majority Oppose Supreme Court's Attack on Fundamental Rights

Fifty-six percent of respondents said they're now concerned the court will attack marriage equality and the right to obtain contraception.

Julia Conley ·


Global Windfall Profit Tax of 90% Needed to Address 'Catastrophic' Food, Climate Crises: Oxfam

Taxing the excess profits of large corporations within the G7 alone could raise an estimated $430 billion to fight world hunger, deliver vaccines to the entire world, and make a giant dent in the fight to drive down fossil fuel pollution and jumpstart the necessary renewable energy transition.

Jon Queally ·


NATO to Boost Ranks of High-Readiness Forces by 650% to Over 300,000

Anti-war campaigners responded that "this is not the path to peace and will not make the world safer."

Jake Johnson ·


Ilhan Omar Says Plan to Fix Supreme Court Must Include Impeachment Probes

"We need an impeachment investigation into Clarence Thomas' role in the January 6th coup, as well as into Gorsuch, Alito, Barrett, and Kavanaugh's testimony on Roe during their confirmation hearings," said the Minnesota Democrat.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo