About that “typo”

Last week the New York Times published a long story by three of their top reporters on the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC and Podesta emails. In a good summary of one thread of the article, Ed Rogers notes the “Keystone Cops-worthy episode” when the FBI sought to alert the DNC:

[I]t turns out the FBI repeatedly called the DNC beginning in September 2015 to warn them about hacking attempts, but the Democratic staffer the FBI agent reached wouldn’t return the agent’s calls because “he wasn’t certain the caller was a real FBI agent and not an imposter” and because the DNC had “nothing to report.” Not to mention, another Democratic staffer made the world’s most inexplicable “typo” and called a phishing email a “legitimate email” instead of an “illegitimate” one, opening the path for a hacker to gain access to all of John Podesta’s emails. Oops.

But Rogers’s summary misses a key point. The “typo” couldn’t have been a typo. Devlan made a mistake, but it wasn’t a typo.

The Times article embeds a copy of the key message from Clinton campaign aide Charles Devlan to John Podesta. Devlan’s message to Podesta regarding the phishing message to which Podesa responded with his account information reads: “This is a legitimate email. John needs to change his password immediately…” You can take a look at the message yourself here.

The caption under the image of Devlan’s email published by the Times accurately states that Devlan “incorrectly legitimized [the phishing] email” that led to the hacking of Podesta’s email account. The error wasn’t a typo.

UPDATE: A reader posits a different “typo.” He writes: “The word from the individual in question is that he meant to write ‘This is not a legitimate email,’ but left out ‘not.’ I see this typo all the time in emails, both ones I receive and inexplicably in ones I apparently sent.” If so, however, failed to spell out for Podesta that he shouldn’t respond to the phishing email. Podesta appears to have needed the spelling out.


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