May 26, 2015: The DNC favors Clinton’s presidential ambitions from the start, and wants to “muddy the waters around ethics, transparency, and campaign finance attacks’ to protect her.

The Democratic National Committee goals and strategy (Credit: The Democratic National Committee)

The Democratic National Committee goals and strategy (Credit: The Democratic National Committee)

In June 2016, it will be revealed that hackers broke into the computer network of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and someone nicknamed “Guccifer 2.0” will post documents that appear to come from the network. One such file is dated from May 26, 2015. It contains advice on how Clinton can win the presidency, even though the Democratic presidential primary campaign has just begun and the DNC is supposed to be neutral until one Democratic candidate wins the nomination.

A portion of the file states: “Reporter Outreach: Working through the DNC and others, we should use background briefings, prep with reporters for interviews with GOP candidates, off-the-record conversations and oppo pitches to help pitch stories with no fingerprints and utilize reporters to drive a message.” The same document also advises: “Use specific hits to muddy the waters around ethics, transparency, and campaign finance attacks on HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton].”

The document specifies it is addressed to the DNC, but is not clear who exactly wrote the file. (Inquisitr, 6/15/2016)

Summer 2015—May 2016: One or more hackers access the DNC’s computer network.

CrowdStrike logo (Credit: CrowdStrike)

CrowdStrike logo (Credit: CrowdStrike)

In June 2016, it will be reported that the computer network of the DNC [Democratic National Committee] was compromised for about a year. Around May 2016, the security company CrowdStrike is hired by the DNC to investigate and stop the hacking attack. According to CrowdStrike, there actually are two different groups that successfully break into the network, both of them linked to the Russian government.

The first group is said to be known by the nickname Cozy Bear. In 2015, it allegedly successfully infiltrated the unclassified networks of the White House, State Department, US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and others. This group gets into the DNC’s network in the summer of 2015 and is not stopped until May 2016.

The second group is said to be known by the nickname Fancy Bear, and it also has had many other successful attacks. It gets into the network in April 2016 and also is stopped in May 2016.

On June 15, 2016, someone going by the nickname “Guccifer 2.0” posts DNC files on the Internet. This person claims to have no connection to the Russian government, but also claims to have accessed the DNC network for “almost a year,” which is similar to what CrowdStrike says about Cozy Bear. (CrowdStrike.com, 6/15/2016) (The Washington Post, 6/15/2016)

January 20, 2016: Clinton inaccurately claims “top secret” emails were regarding a published news article.

On January 19, 2016, it was reported that some of Clinton’s emails contained “top secret” and even above “top secret” information. One day later, Clinton says “the best we can determine” is that the emails were a forward of a New York Times article on a classified drone program and that they probably were classified retroactively. “How a New York Times public article that goes around the world could be in any way viewed as classified, or the fact that it would be sent to other people off of the New York Times site, I think, is one of the difficulties that people have in understanding what this is about.” (NPR, 1/20/2016) 

For months afterwards, very little is known about these emails, so it is difficult to challenge her claim. But in June 2016, the Wall Street Journal will report that in 2011, the State Department was allowed to approve or disapprove planned drone strikes, and most of Clinton’s 22 “top secret” or above “top secret” emails related to those discussions. (The Wall Street Journal, 6/9/2016)

April 6, 2016: Best-selling political author Naomi Klein criticizes the Clinton Foundation.

Naomi Klein (Credit: Kourosh Keshir

Naomi Klein (Credit: Kourosh Keshir

In an article for the Nation, she writes, “The mission of the Clinton Foundation can be distilled as follows: There is so much private wealth sloshing around our planet…that every single problem on earth, no matter how large, can be solved by convincing the ultra-rich to do the right things with their loose change. […] The problem with Clinton World is structural. It’s the way in which these profoundly enmeshed relationships—lubricated by the exchange of money, favors, status, and media attention—shape what gets proposed as policy in the first place. In Clinton World, it’s always win-win-win: The governments look effective, the corporations look righteous, and the celebrities look serious. Oh, and another win too: the Clintons grow ever more powerful. At the center of it all is the canonical belief that change comes not by confronting the wealthy and powerful but by partnering with them. Viewed from within the logic of what Thomas Frank recently termed ‘the land of money,’ all of Hillary Clinton’s most controversial actions make sense. Why not take money from fossil-fuel lobbyists? Why not get paid hundreds of thousands for speeches to Goldman Sachs? It’s not a conflict of interest; it’s a mutually beneficial partnership—part of a never-ending merry-go-round of corporate-political give and take.” (The Nation, 4/6/2016)

June 9, 2016: State Department lawyers argue they cannot identify which department employees conducted government business on Clinton’s private server.

In a court filing in a civil suit, they argue they cannot do this since the department has never been in possession of the server. It is known that Clinton and her deputy chief of staff had clintonemail.com email accounts on the server, but it is still unclear who else at the department may have. Apparently, Department officials have not tried to check if emails sent from Clinton’s former top aides had email addresses ending in clintonemail.com. (CNN, 6/9/2016)

June 15, 2016: A hacker nicknamed Guccifer 2.0 posts files showing they were behind the DNC hack.

(Credit: public domain)

(Credit: public domain)

One day after the Washington Post reported that alleged Russian hackers broke into the DNC’s [Democratic National Committee] computer network, a man using the nickname “Guccifer 2.0” creates a new website on the Internet showing that person got the DNC files. Guccifer 2.0 likely has no connection to Guccifer, who is now in a US prison, but seems inspired to take the name due to Guccifer’s earlier hacking notoriety.

He posts a 200-page opposition research file on Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump dating from December 2015, as well as other computer files from the DNC. The files include a sample of donor information, contradicting the DNC’s claim from the day before that no financial information had been stolen.

Guccifer 2.0 also claims to have given “thousands of files and mails” to WikiLeaks. This comes several days after WikiLeaks head Julian Assange promised to post more of Clinton’s emails soon. The security firm CrowdStrike was hired to investigate the DNC hack, and they claimed to be confident that it was a sophisticated operation done by two hacking groups with ties to the Russian government.

However, Guccifer 2.0 claims to be working independently, and says of CrowdStrike, “I’m very pleased the company appreciated my skills so highly. But in fact, it was easy, very easy.”

However, CrowdStrike stands by their original claim and suggests the new website could be “part of a Russian intelligence disinformation campaign.” (Wired, 6/15/2016) (Vice News, 6/15/2016) 

NBC News reports that “several Democratic sources familiar with the party’s opposition research efforts said they believed opposition research book to be authentic. It also includes links to data stored on internal DNC servers, which would not accessible to people outside the committee.” (NBC News, 6/15/2016)