Was it a hack or a leak? (4)

We have followed the argument presented by Patrick Lawrence in the Nation asserting that the alleged Russian hack of the DNC email was rather an inside job. Lawrence explored the findings of the analysis supporting the thesis Democratic National Committee was not hacked by the Russians in July 2016, but rather suffered an insider leak. Lawrence’s article is here; the most recent report with the analysis summarized by Lawrence is here. The analysis has been promoted by dissident former intelligence officials gathered under the umbrella of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Lawrence’s long article in the Nation called for a response of some kind by proponents of the Russia hacking conspiracy theory, but it has been greeted mostly by silence. I am not aware of any analysis directly disputing VIPS.

Since the publication of Lawrence’s long article in the NationThe VIPS analysis has been taken up by Leonid Bershidsky at Bloomberg View and by Danielle Ryan at Salon. The DNC itself responded to Lawrence’s article:

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to interfere in the election. Any suggestion otherwise is false and is just another conspiracy theory like those pushed by Trump and his administration. It’s unfortunate that The Nation has decided to join the conspiracy theorists to push this narrative.

Ryan rightly commented that the statement “is so lackluster it is almost laughable[.]” Students of logical fallacy may recognize both the argument from authority and the ad hominem in the three-sentence DNC statement. That is pathetic.

Philadelphia attorney George Parry takes up the VIPS analysis in his Philly.com column “Will special counsel Mueller examine the DNC server, source of the great Russiagate caper?” Parry prefaces his account of the VIPS analysis with a useful reminder of the origin story:

Much to the embarrassment of Hillary Clinton, the released [DNC email] files showed that the DNC had secretly collaborated with her campaign to promote her candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination over that of Bernie Sanders. Clearly, the Clinton campaign needed to lessen the political damage. Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s public relations chief, said in a Washington Post essay in March that she worked assiduously during the Democratic nominating convention to “get the press to focus on … the prospect that Russia had not only hacked and stolen emails from the DNC, but that it had done so to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary.”

Thus was laid the cornerstone of the Trump-Russia-collusion conspiracy theory.

Since then, the mainstream media have created a climate of hysteria in which this unsubstantiated theory has been conjured into accepted truth. This has resulted in investigations by Congress and a special counsel into President Trump, his family, and his campaign staff for supposed collusion with the Russians.

But in their frenzied coverage, the media have downplayed the very odd behavior of the DNC, the putative target of the alleged hack. For, when the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI learned of the hacking claim, they asked to examine the server. The DNC refused. Without explanation, it continues to deny law enforcement access to its server.

Why would the purported victim of a crime refuse to cooperate with law enforcement in solving that crime? Is it hiding something? Is it afraid the server’s contents will discredit the Russia-hacking story?

Parry also provides a good summary of the VIPS analysis. A friend comments and concludes with one more good question: “This entire business with Comey setting in motion the steps to get a special counsel named has not been sufficiently investigated. And this story makes it clear that the FBI was lackluster when it came to investigating the DNC. What is Attorney General Sessions doing?”

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