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Russia Is Reportedly Set To Release Clinton’s Intercepted Emails

Yves here. The idea of Russia releasing Clinton e-mails obtained by hacking into her server, whether directly or through proxies, would be a very aggressive move if it could be attributed to them (as opposed to a non-state actor). It amounts to a foreign power interfering in US elections (not that we don’t do that, witness Obama telling British citizens why they should vote for Remain). The Wikipedia listing on the think tank that published this story is thin, but the organization does appear to have been around for a long time.

Russia would not have gone public with this threat (notice the article describes it as “messaging”) unless it preferred the US to handle l’affaire Clinton through conventional channels. But with Obama having endorsed Clinton, he has now committed himself to not indicting Clinton, and probably not indicting any of her aides (certainly not key ones like Abedin). So we will see in due course if Russia follows through on its saber-rattling.

Given its history, Wikileaks would seem to be the logical outlet, and Assange has recently said more Clinton e-mails are coming. If the leaks are made and are as damaging as you would expect, the Republicans would go nuts. If Clinton is somehow elected despite that, she would be an incredibly weak President. The Republicans almost certainly will retain control of the House and having the real dirt on what was on her server and what foreign governments almost certainly saw means they would be looking for any thin grounds for impeaching her.

By Defense and Foreign Affairs, a geopolitical news publication offered by the International Strategic Studies Association. Cross posted from OilPrice

Reliable intelligence sources in the West have indicated that warnings had been received that the Russian Government could in the near future release the text of email messages intercepted from U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server from the time she was U.S. Secretary of State. The release would, the messaging indicated, prove that Secretary Clinton had, in fact, laid open U.S. secrets to foreign interception by putting highly-classified Government reports onto a private server in violation of U.S. law, and that, as suspected, the server had been targeted and hacked by foreign intelligence services.

The reports indicated that the decision as to whether to reveal the intercepts would be made by Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, and it was possible that the release would, if made, be through a third party, such as Wikileaks. The apparent message from Moscow, through the intelligence community, seemed to indicate frustration with the pace of the official U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the so-called server scandal, which seemed to offer prima facie evidence that U.S. law had been violated by Mrs Clinton’s decision to use a private server through which to conduct official and often highly-secret communications during her time as Secretary of State. U.S. sources indicated that the extensive Deptartment of Justice probe was more focused on the possibility that the private server was used to protect messaging in which Secretary Clinton allegedly discussed quid pro quo transactions with private donors to the Clinton Foundation in exchange for influence on U.S. policy.

The Russian possession of the intercepts, however, was designed also to show that, apart from violating U.S. law in the fundamental handling of classified documents (which Sec. Clinton had alleged was no worse than the mishandling of a few documents by CIA Director David Petraeus or Clinton’s National Security Advisor Sandy Berger), the traffic included highly-classified materials which had their classification headers stripped. Russian (and other) sources had indicated frustration with the pace of the Justice Dept. probe, and its avoidance of the national security aspects of intelligence handling. This meant that the topic would be suppressed by the U.S. Barack Obama Administration so that it would not be a factor in the current U.S. Presidential election campaign, in which President Obama had endorsed Mrs Clinton.

Moscow’s discreet messaging about a possible leak of the traffic, in time to impact the U.S. elections, was designed to pressure faster U.S. legal action on the matter, but was largely due to Russian concerns about possible U.S. strategic policy in the event of a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Apart from the breach of U.S. Federal law in the handling of classified material, the Clinton private server was, according to GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs analysts, always likely to have been a primary target for foreign cyber warfare interception operations, particularly those of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Russia, and North Korea (DPRK), but probably also by others, including Iran.

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242 comments

  1. katiebird

    Wondering if anything released could convince Democrats (Super Delegates) to dump her. …. Before the convention.

    Or would it be THAT they had the documents at all?

      1. Malcolm MacLeod, MD

        Having voted for Sen. Sanders in the California primary, I’m more than frosted by
        the accumulating evidence of voter fraud favoring Mrs Clinton. I would grasp at
        any straw to remove this duplicitous person from the political mix. Go ahead and
        release the emails, Mr. Putin.

            1. John Anderson

              I never seen such biased ignorance in a site other than Daily KOS. That site is poisonous and needs to be taken down

        1. Robert Ferraro

          Election fraud, not voter fraud. Voter fraud is when an individual fraudulently votes in an election.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Seriously, how clear does it have to be that VOTES DONT MATTER? That VOTES DON”T COUNT? Except as props in Democracy (sic) Theatre?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I can hear the screaming now – Sanders (or Trump) is their man they have selected.

      Make sure it’s louder than the emails.

      It’s one of the oldest strategy in the art of war – offense is the best defense.

      1. craazyboy

        yeah, I’m bracing for the headlines…voting for Hillary is the patriotic thing to do!

        Don’t let the Nazi Putin push us around. He’s a misogynist and invades anything he wants.

    2. CRLaRue

      Can see this one coming a mile away! Now it’s The USA vs Russia and The Obama administration will have to pardon Clinton on us vs them grounds, or national security ,or take your pick! Today my local paper has two front page articles about Evil Russian hackers trying to influence our political outcome!
      All patriotic Americans will line up behind Clinton!

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        I agree: this report doesn’t smell right.

        Whatever his actions within Russia, Putin has shown himself to be extremely adept on the global stage, and a virtual announcement of Russia’s involving itself in domestic US politics is not something an intelligent Russian leader would do. This also functions as a convenient smear of Wikileaks, making it look like a beard and conduit for out “enemies” (and, Lord, we have so many).

        That Hillary’s server was hacked, by Russia and others, is probably axiomatic; that Russia would all but publicly announce they did it, and for for the reasons given in these reports, comes off as straight disinformation, intended as a misdirecting prophylaxis.

        1. Skip Intro

          And keeping incriminating documents on a sitting POTUS between you and the POTUS seems like a much better way for Putin to wield influence. This is just the kind of poisoned well that would discredit all future leaks and turn Clinton into a Victim of Russky Aggression, and anyone who mentions them into Agents of Putin.

        2. P Walker

          I guess that’s true. Partisans in the USA might be trying to cover their own asses but feeding this story so that when the emails do come out on Wikileaks, it might give HRC some cover. “Pay not attention to the content of the emails, but on how Putin is trying to rob Americans of their vote.”

          One cannot trust anything anymore. Not even things in their immediate surroundings, it seems.

        3. apber

          If the Russians have the emails, especially the ones showing State Department favors for payments to the Foundation, Putin would be stupid to release them and would pray that Hillary becomes President. Just think of the leverage he would have.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            No, as President, she is effectively immune from prosecution. The only party that can do anything about it is Congress. Impeachment is only supposed for acts committed while in office. And even if the House were to vote to impeach her, the case is tried by the Senate, and the Dems are expected to regain a majority.

            And I have no idea what the statute of limitations on her misdeeds would be, but if she managed to get 8 years in office, it might expire during her term.

            Plus there are a number of Russian intel operations supposedly vying for influence. This rumor could have been planted by one champing at the bit to release the e-mails.

    3. different clue

      Nothing would convince them . . . until after the Convention when Clinton has been safely nominated and Sanders safely eliminated. If Russia dumps all the emails then or later, it could get the DemParty to remove Clinton and install someone else as the nominee . . . Someone like Biden or whatever.

      I also heard on the news that somebody in Russia hacked into the DemParty servers and rooted around in the Oppo Research file about Donald Trump. My intuitive guess as to why Russia would read the Trump Oppo File is to give all that material to Trump and Trump’s people to give Team Trump a head up and help Trump win the election.

  2. oho

    I gleefully wait. there must be at least a row of Russian analysts whose sole job was building a dossier on Clinton.

  3. Lee

    “[Clinton] would be an incredibly weak President.” Gridlock will continue to be our friend.

    1. Pavel

      Always gridlock in DC except when it comes to the following:

      * Funding the latest military adventure or “humanitarian intervention” (god forbid it’s called a “war”)
      * Increasing the debt limit (sometimes there is a bit of fuss by the Repubs but then they cave in)

      Otherwise does anything get done, apart from naming a few Post Office buildings? Currently they can’t even schedule a debate on a Supreme Court nominee!

      1. jsn

        Actually, quite a lot of specific things get done in DC that produce focused returns for those who invest heavily in politicians.

        Gridlock is a myth.

        The only things gridlocked these last thirty years or so are things the 99% are interested in: the 1% has the government it paid for, its main function is to guarantee stability for the 1% at whatever price that costs for the rest of us.

        1. craazyboy

          Even increasing the debt limit has become the new omnibus spending bill. They all put their pork in, and voila, a new debt ceiling! Can even include corporate tax breaks and extensions of corporate tax write offs.

    2. polecat

      What’s to say , after the presumed anointment of Imelda Clinton, that she doesn’t start to escalate the Ukraine clusterfuck to 11 on the dial, so as to direct scrutiny elsewhere,……. igniting the big one ??

      duck n cover—————————————

  4. Patrick W. Watson (@PatrickW)

    This doesn’t sound like Putin. I think he would more likely let Hillary get elected, discreetly let her know what he has, and then dictate the terms of keeping them hidden.

    But who knows. This is high-stakes poker.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The threat is more powerful before the election than afterwards. Look at how much sway Clinton has over the media pre-election. Look how Bernie was totally ignored until he could not be ignored by virtue of winning primaries. Lots of important news winds up relegated to the Internet gulag. That is what Hillary would do to news re the e-mails post election. Plus remember she will control the DoJ by then too.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Yves’ right on this one. Once she’s in charge, it’s very hard to dislodge her. Remember, she’s got not just the media, but a nearly complete lock on control of the Democratic Party, too. Perhaps even more than Obama?

        Trying to brainstorm reasons why this move

        1) Putin is REALLY be worried about having her finger on the button and this is an act of semi-desperation to do a public leak (instead of blaming an FBI agent) which is designed to cause MAXIMUM embarrassment, or 2) he just figures he has nothing to lose because she’s going to do plenty of anti-Russian fear-mongering, anyway.

        Interesting timing on this, too. Still plenty of time before the convention, yet all the voting is done once DC goes tonight.

        1. dingusansich

          Granting that this is all hypothetical, since the emails aren’t yet in circulation, and if they do turn up, their provenance will be questionable …

          Agreed on the timing. If the Russians had played their card amid the primaries or waited until after the conventions, an accusation of blatant interference in U.S. domestic affairs would weigh more heavily than it does now, after the preliminary voting has concluded but before the general. It’s well thought out.

          Elsewhere it’s said that Clinton and Obama can easily dispute the admissibility of the alleged server emails because of chain-of-custody questions. That’s true, except that this is foremost a political matter, not, or not yet, a legal one.

          Clinton has stalled and gamed and bluffed her way to the presumptive nomination, brushing aside controversy after controversy with the help of powerful friends. But these things add up. Taken separately they may be unimportant, but as Sam Spade said, “Look at the number of them.” Was it 30,000 emails on the server?

          Recall John Dean’s words to Richard Nixon. A cancer on the Democratic presidential campaign will give the superdelegates much to think long and hard about. Eventually Clinton could become too great a liability to protect.

          Which would suit the Russians just fine. And they’re not the only ones who’d shed no tears to see the last of HIllary.

          1. craazyboy

            “Which would suit the Russians just fine. And they’re not the only ones who’d shed no tears to see the last of HIllary.”

            You mean after comparing Putin to Hitler? Orchestrating the IMF position on Ukraine declaring Russia not a sovereign lender to Ukraine, putting Russia last in line(total loss) to recover $5 Billion in loans to the Ukraine government? Nato “securing” Eastern Europe – now with nukes and supposedly anti-ICBM missiles – which is the “win the nuclear first strike” scenario.

            You think Putin is worried about maintain décor about “influencing domestic elections”? We should have him in the debates.

      2. mcarson

        I wonder if Victoria Nuland being talked about for SOS and her screw ups in the Ukraine have anything to do with Putin wanting to tank Clinton. It seems that with Nuland on deck Putin would be happy with either Trump or Sanders rather than an escalation in the Ukraine. He’d probably be happiest with Sanders, since Trump is unpredictable, but willing to grandstand about fighting Russia. Trumps foreign policy people might be more trouble for Putin, also.
        In any event, I’m glad Sanders isn’t releasing his delegates.

        1. lin1

          I read (here I think) that Madame Clinton has all but confirmed that the cookie pusher would be SOS in a Hillary admin…Anyone whos been following the US shenanigans in E. Europe and the ME (if one can call bloody wars and murderous putsches “shenanigans”) since the end of Sochi, the mere suggestion of placing Nuland higher up is monstrously irresponsible – but that’s what US policy has become. Monstrous.

    2. flora

      “I think he would more likely let Hillary get elected, discreetly let her know what he has,

      That assumes Putin sees Hillary as having shrewd realpolitik skills, particularly in international affairs. She hasn’t demonstrated any such skills.

    3. redleg

      Putin released Nuland’s phone calls a few years ago regarding US involvement in Ukraine.
      He certainly has the stones and the motive, and it sure looks like he has the goods.

      Popcorn please.

      1. YY

        And what effect has the disclosure, not disputed, had on Nuland’s carreer let alone US policy?

        1. Raj

          Perhaps none thus far, but the disclosure certainly turned the tide for both U.S. and EU public perception of what was taking place in Ukraine.

        2. Ralph Reed (@RalphWalterReed)

          This is a big question. Perhaps intensified a gargantuan FBI, CIA, DOD, and Treasury Dept. orgy as they circled the wagons, seized the media megaphones en toto on “the Ukraine,” created or reacted to the MH17 affair, but failed to get a sufficient military response from Russia leading to a suddenly ossified new Cold War that started with a imaginary wound, covertly drummed up to invigorate morale, the Nuland leak a secret “bloody shirt.”

        3. JohnnyGL

          The media completely sandbagged that story! All the headlines screamed, “F the EU” and completely missed the point that the State Dept. was handpicking their preferred Prime Minister to take charge of Ukraine.

          1. Dwight

            Yes, and the media ignored all the refugees from Ukraine into Russia. The UN and the BBC reported this, but it was ignored. Maybe we could focus on the eastern Ukrainian women – would this tug the heart strings of Hillary Clinton, Samantha Powers, and Susan Rice?

            1. OIFVet

              would this tug the heart strings of Hillary Clinton, Samantha Powers, and Susan Rice?

              These three hearts collectively don’t amount to a shriveled prune.

                1. sid_finster

                  Only when they are looking for an excuse to go to war.

                  Otherwise, there is no responsibility to anyone or anything.

              1. ambrit

                Perhaps this can be framed as a Terry Pratchett story. Three witches who share a heart, passing it around as needed.

          2. redleg

            The media also glossed over missed the story about how the Russians tapped a supposedly secure phone line (or was it?) and released the conversation into the wild.

            There is the precedent, and there was effectively no reaction at all. If they are going to release information again, it’s going to get a reaction.

      2. P Walker

        Are we sure it was the Russians? I think it might also be the result of dissatisfied people in the State Department.

    4. ian

      More generally, what would be the optimal outcome for the Russians?

      A weakened Hillary elected?
      Trump elected?
      Hillary indicted, forced to withdraw, Sanders gets the nomination?
      Or is would it be just to sow general chaos? (were I Putin, I might do it just for fun)

      This is the part that I have a bit of trouble with.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Anybody but Hillary would be better from a Russian perspective. Even Joe Biden, who the Dems would labor mightily to broker in if somehow the wheels were to come off the Clinton campaign in the next month (not likely but tail events are more likely than normal this year) is less hawkish than Hillary. Trump said in his foreign policy speech, which was derided because it was opposed to neocon orthodoxy, that our wars in the Middle East have cost us lots of money and only created blowback, that we lack the resources to be threatening war with China and Russia at the same time, and we have a lot more in the way of common interests with Russia, so we should try to find a way to de-escalate with them and see if we can work together. And truth be told, unlike China, the Russians do not want to be the next superpower.

        1. S M Tenneshaw

          Even Joe Biden? The Joe Biden whose son Hunter Biden got involved in some Ukrainian oil and gas deals?

          1. fosforos

            Putin understands deals, and he’s always ready to deal. That’s why he’s not worried about the Dealer, the Trumpe-l’oeil, but very worried about the Fighter, the Clinton.

        2. Pablo

          Can this “move” by Putin (if he goes ahead with it), be linked to what Michael Hudson talked about in the last interview of him linked to in an article here? Specifically that NATO is preparing to deploy missiles in other East European countries (after Poland, don’t remember now if it was Romania), under US leadership. A move to which Putin is (with reason) absolutely opposed to (I don’t know if it is “over my dead body” opposition, but he must have strong feeling on this, given Russian history, which he probably know well). He is not just corrupt, authoritarian, brutal & al, I do think he is a patriot, who is also worried about the USA imperial stance on many subjects. And the ease with which it seems to resort to military power (either overtly or covertly) to “solve” problems (a more correct way of putting it would be “to get what it wants” — Nothing new there, Thucydides all over again : “the powerful do what they will, the weak suffer what they must” — though one might hope for some progress in 2500 years. Well, maybe next time, with we survive this one… )
          He may consider HRC more dangerous in this matter than the other crazy guy (but who know what he may do anyways) and certainly far more dangerous to world stability as a whole than Sanders.
          I write from France. I hope somehow Sanders finds a way to stay in the race, for all our sakes…

      2. Just Askin'

        IMO, Putin would prefer Trump. He has already identified Trump’s Achilles Heel- his enormous ego- and played him like a fiddle, a fact if which only Trump himself seems unaware.

        1. P Walker

          Trump has to play this way. He needs to appear “decisive” and “confident” to his base just as Democrats need to be “articulate” and “reserved.”

          What worries me more than Trump (other than Clinton, of course) is those that follow Trump. Trump is setting some very bad precedents that other more ruthless individuals will exploit.

    5. fajensen

      Yep. The whole thing sounds stupid to me. If Putin is seen to release Hillary’s emails with the purpose of influencing the US elections, that will for sure goad the authoritarians into rallying around Hillary.

      Regardless of what is in the mails, it will be dismissed because “it came from Russia, this is exactly the kind of thing that THEY would do!”

      Trump is dealing with Hillary very effectively already. Why stick ones nose in and potentially sabotage what time and circumstances are already working on? Unprofessional.

      If Putin wanted do “do something”, then, I think the proper approach would be to keep totally silent about it and quietly, slowly, leak various juicy bits via “hackers”. Maybe make use of some of the “secure drop” facilities provided by regular media too – to see which channels are blocking and to keep more than an arms length to the whole thing.

      1. Code Name D

        Holding onto the e-mails is influencing the election too. Releasing them is simply exposing the scandal that already exists.

        1. Pablo

          Indeed, as Howard Zinn used to put it, but still relevant here: you cannot be neutral on a moving train.
          Theirs releasing the emails is not the problem here. The scandal is the server, and probably what she (and others, to her) wrote in some of these emails.

          Otherwise the debate forecloses all questioning of how we got there. To make a parallel with another story: what was the real problem: that a bear had to be shot (which is bad) in a zoo to save a four year old life (which is good) or that we “let” all the wild bears of that species that lived in the wild die or be killed (by us) ?. The former restricts to a meaningless debate of good/bad, and points the responsibility to only one individual (the guy who shot, or the mother of the kid). The latter points to a collective responsibility and pushes for change, to save what can still be saved. If we are down to saying we must save the ones that are in a zoo at ANY cost because there are none left, it is probably already too f****g late.
          And another : As with wikileaks, the problem is not that they leaked the information. That can be annoying to some. But the real problem was what it showed about the american stance towards the rest of the world, and even its own proclaimed values/principles. There again debating wikileaks was a diversion: the real question that should have been debated, is the on what the US wants to stand for. As John Stewart put it years ago, if you only stick to your principles when it requires no effort and not when it is inconvenient and demands autocritique, then they’re not values/principles, they are hobbies.

  5. Jim Haygood

    These supposed strategic reasons for Russia to release intercepted emails make little sense.

    Intelligence agencies like to work in the shadows. Releasing emails would call attention to their intelligence-gathering (i.e., hacking) methods and targets. They don’t want that.

    Only if Donald Trump is a Russian agent would this make strategic sense. Which is exactly what Hillary will claim if it happens: vote for the national security Democrat against the commie Republican.

    1. TK421

      Look at this way: Hillary seems to want to confront Russia, and has a history of pushing for reckless wars. If Russia does not want to be attacked (and they don’t! it’s one of their prime considerations) then undermining her candidacy is a strategic good.

      And remember, they would be releasing it through a cut-out, a third party who would take the blame.
      Russia might not reveal anything of their capabilities if they do it correctly.

      1. sgt_doom

        Wonder if some of those 30,000 emails she deleted are among them?

        Recommended reading:

        My Turn, by Doug Henwood

        Outstanding!

        1. Jim Haygood

          That’s what I was wondering.

          Those deleted “yoga routines” emails could come from two sources: (1) hackers; (2) FBI leakers.

          The latter source would mean internecine war in the “Justice” department.

          1. redleg

            Given the current persecution of whistleblowers, there’s NO WAY anyone in the FBI or other government agency would leak to Russia. No f in weigh.

      2. Lambert Strether

        Typically, however, one does not point to one’s cut-out in giant letters of fire.

        Perhaps Putin concluded the Beltway would otherwise be too stupid to notice.

        1. Watt4Bob

          The damage done to our relationship with Russia by HRC, and her buddy Victoria Nuland is outlandish enough, and on a par with the unprecedented act of admitting the hack, and spilling the beans.

          In my estimation, she deserves this exact sort of retaliation.

          Now let’s see how the DOJ, and FBI rationalize withholding what they know?

          1. Jim Haygood

            Among other implications, Loretta Lynch would be obliged to resign and appoint a Servergate special prosecutor … who might indict her as well.

          2. hemeantwell

            but was largely due to Russian concerns about possible U.S. strategic policy in the event of a Hillary Clinton presidency.

            Here’s hoping they’ve got her talking like Nuland did about the EU and “Yats.” That would establish a legitimate right to release, as opposed to just “making her look bad.”

            1. JohnnyGL

              As I learned while David Einhorn was shorting Lehman during ’07-’08, “no matter how bad you think it is, it’s worse”.

        2. dingusansich

          Since anything’s possible in fantasy, and we all enjoy a game of hangman …

          Let’s see, clandestine “Russian” agency. An N? (Roman alphabet, if you please.) Yes? Mmm, an S, perhaps? One more? All right, wild guess here. No, you pick it.

          Heck, even Mr. Eleventy Dimension himself could rattle off half-a-hundred reasons for scuttling Hillary and her little global initiatives too. Where will those broken-hearted idealists from Saudi Arabia share their love, as W. might put it, without a Clinton Foundation to blow petro-kisses to? If only Obama had plans for a non (heh-hem) profit.

          From whomever or wherever, this is about the only news that stands a chance of putting Sanders atop the Democrat ticket.

          We’ll all feel terrible for Vicky, of course, but she can reach out via Kickstarter with her famous chocolate chip cookies.

          1. TheCatSaid

            “this is about the only news that stands a chance of putting Sanders atop the Democrat ticket.”

            Almost. There’s also the drip-feed of specifics about election rigging coming out from BlackBoxVoting.org. The latest instalment (Part 6) of a significant report has just come out today, and it is devastating.

            Facts, court evidence, videotapes. . . The next part will be about “Whodunnit”.

            Election rigging is a bipartisan game, so it will be about which party rigged which races with which methodology. In relation to the current Democratic primary elections, I expect Clinton is the one who’d suffer from any revelations prior to the convention.

        3. redleg

          That’s very Russian- “we spell out, s l o w l y, so you understand. Have cognac and salty fish – iiit help think.”

      3. Pookah Harvey

        According to the Romanian hacker, that supposedly broke into her account, it didn’t take any capabilities at all to break into her server. He specialized in breaking into accounts by reading biographies and guessing passwords. Not exactly high tech .

        1. hunkerdown

          That doesn’t mean that’s how the Russian spies went about it. Maybe they used a fake GSM base station playing man-in-the-middle between phone and home server for a few moments of “tailored access” to grab a password hash or certificate or to introduce an exploit, or a real GSM tower, or some other privileged position in the domestic or foreign Internet infrastructure from which they passively filter and tap a copy for themselves. Maybe they had A Guy at Platte River or Datto. Maybe there was an advanced persistent threat implanted in the hardware from the Clinton era, and they got lucky in that it was reused for important things. Maybe they grabbed everything from Guccifer. These and other hypothetical sources might be just that precious in the context of their collection posture, potentially bringing “darkness” on the same scale as the disclosure of NSA’s Diffie-Hellman exploit.

          But we don’t yet know whether the facts of what Russia captured/missed might reveal how far Russian eyes/ears extend into the US, and the FSB itself might not know what they would be revealing to an alert investigator with the full corpus.

          1. Pookah Harvey

            A safe cracker doesn’t have to give away any of his secrets when opening a cheese box.

      4. OIFVet

        Agreed. Even if such release tips off about methods/capabilities, that would be a small price to pay given the fact that the Hildebeast is a warmongering neocon who appointed Nuland to her perch in the State Department. We all know how that worked ouf for Ukraine and for Europe in general. Eff her, I am rather hopeful that this is for real and she has just desert coming her way. She has richly earned it.

      5. fresno dan

        TK421
        June 14, 2016 at 6:22 pm

        First, I have a great deal of skepticism about this. I would think Russia, keeping the information secret, could use it as a bargaining chip – as well as a slew of technical reasons. The changing of codes and various operating parameters and reassignment of personnel is a long expensive process. Hillary wouldn’t want it done because it implicates her, and the Russians would certainly not want us to change the locks…

        HOWEVER, further reflection reveals that Russia, if indeed they do have such emails, may have included some information only works to their advantage when if is “fresh” and indeed, may pose a danger to them if it is kept hidden

        1. Russia may conclude that Hillary is so antithetical to Russian interests that a “peremptory” strike is necessary
        2. If Hillary knows she has been compromised, it is very much in Hillary’s interest to discredit the Russian as soon as possible, so Russian has to act quickly
        2a. If war like, or conflict actually occurs, a “rally round the flag” mindset would be Hillary’s best defense…..need I remind everyone of “wag the dog”
        3. Russia may conclude that the information, even if proven true AFTER the election, will not dislodge Clinton from the presidency, and only really, REALLY P*SS HER OFF.

        Now, I remain skeptical of the truth of this – but if it is true, it says that the US security apparatus is totally incompetent, and that the US political system is totally corrupt. Very shortly, we will find out INDISPUTABLY whether we are officially in a oligarchy, and whether the majority of Americans are OK with that…

        1. DG

          Absolutely! You hit the nail on the head.

          You don’t give notice regarding your intentions. Remember Nuland’s tape? The Russians just dumped it on Youtube and called the press. No advance notice – no demands for credit. Everyone got the message though!

        2. JohnnyGL

          Fresno Dan, I like most of your comment, especially about how Putin’s got to make a move soon, before the information becomes less useful.

          However, I’ve seen you and others float the idea of using these emails as a “bargaining chip” to blackmail Clinton and that this is more Putin’s style than flagrant embarrassment. I think this overlooks what Putin’s experience has been for the last several years.

          I think Putin has grown tired of trying to ‘negotiate’ with the US, especially around things like Syria and Ukraine. Putin has seen how Clinton treats her real opponents like Bernie Sanders….she stomps them into the ground as ruthlessly as possible using a compliant media and various election repression tactics carried out by surrogates on her behalf.

          I have a feeling this story is legit, Putin has chosen his timing. Just after the voting is done, but before the Democratic Convention and while Sanders is still in the race. Also, Trump still has strong support in the polls and the whole “rally the country against the Russian Bear” thing isn’t likely to work too well right now. Clinton can’t even unify her party, let alone the country.

          It seems Putin is playing his ace, will it be enough?

          1. tegnost

            It’s not really the ace, all he has to do is release some of the 30,000 missing emails, then say “there’s more, wanna see’em?”, that’s where the ace is….

          2. redleg

            He might yet hold the ace.
            It would be quite the chess move to play the “i have secret emails, but out of courtesy will not release them” move and instead release the non-classified “weddings and yoga” emails.
            Russians keep the secret emails for later, humiliate both Obama and Clinton, and show that they aren’t bluffing. That would be at least a triple word score for Putin.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I don’t agree in this particular case. Major government figures are almost certainly watched closely by foreign powers. The President and SoS would be numbers one and two on the list. So there is no intelligence value to the notion that a foreign power would be probing for weaknesses around a Secretary of State.

      Similarly, Clinton’s server was so poorly secured that it did not take any special chops to get at it. Most informed sources say they assume every foreign power was hoovering information off Clinton’s server. A Russian leak would merely confirm that belief and more important, make it pretty difficult for the media and all of the Congressional defense/security committees to pretend they weren’t aware of this presumed fact.

      1. Jim Haygood

        I would love to be wrong. I’m trying to think of any precedent in which an intelligence agency has released hacked data, traceable to themselves.

        Probably it’s happened before, but through well-disguised false-flag cutouts. It goes against their instincts to admit to illegal acts, which could get a Russian “diplomat” expelled in retaliation.

        1. Buttinsky

          Well, maybe the Russians already tried “false-flag”subterfuge with the Romanian and nobody got the message. Maybe it’s just as Lambert says above, “Perhaps Putin concluded the Beltway would otherwise be too stupid to notice,” because in fact everybody has already demonstrated that they intended to be too stupid to notice. I mean, of course Russia and China hacked the served if THAT guy did, and still nobody was biting at the story. Desperate — and willful — stupidity calls for desperate measures.

          For that and all the reasons in the article, it seems to me absolutely essential to the story at this point that it be made perfectly clear that a foreign government did hack the server for the story to have any value at all.

          1. Crestwing

            If people drove their cars the way they use their computers, the Earth wouldn’t have an overpopulation of humans.

            1. oh

              HRC hired a neophyte (crony) to setup her server. He googled the abc’s of setting up a server and did a bad job. After all, he only charged $5000 for his services!

        1. craazyboy

          I’m waiting for the South Park episode to come out. Cartman discovers there’s spies out there and can’t contain his rage.

    3. oho

      “Releasing emails would call attention to their intelligence-gathering (i.e., hacking) methods and targets. They don’t want that.”

      allegedly the IT security was so lax an advanced amateur could’ve hacked the system. (which only didn’t happen because hackers, unlike intelligence services, presumably weren’t turning over every rock remotely connected to HR Clinton.

    4. Titus Pullo

      Plenty of people in the US are aghast at how unsecure HRC’s server was initially and throughout its operation. Russia would be revealing nothing about their sources and methods by releasing emails, especially through a 3rd party like Wikileaks. I mean, her domain name was clintonemail.com. Most likely, the original Russian hackers were very careful cracking open her wide open server, out of fear that it was some kind of op being run by NSA or some other branch of American spooks.

      Clinton’s worldview is very anti-Russian, and she is a war monger. Trump talks about seeking a partnership with Russia. It would be way more so in Putin’s interest to have a Trump presidency.

      1. cassandra

        The server’s existence was so incredibly stupid that I’ve come to wonder that perhaps it was an operation. Imagine a “Committee of Correspondents”, of 10-50 writers, continuously fabricating emails to each other, in the names of upper-level states-persons. With some coordination, they could construct correspondence for a fictitious and deliberately misleading foreign policy. If this email exchange were placed on a low-security server, hackers breaking in would then think they had the real low-down, but in fact would be totally misled, in whatever direction the Committee desired.

        Supposedly, counterespionage director James Jesus Angleton drove himself paranoid thinking like this. Works for me….

        1. MED

          I would think her better half would have been on the mail server also. There would no telling who wrote to him or subject manner.

    5. jgordon

      Hillary is not only a crazed, war-hungry nutcase, she is also incredibly corrupt–probably owned outright by Russia’s enemies like the neocons and Saudi Arabia. In releasing these emails not only is Putin safeguarding Russia from the threat of a heinous Clinton regime, he’s also doing a commendable service to everyone in the world who values not dying in a nuclear winter. Releasing these is a win-win for everyone, except a few corrupt insiders.

      1. habenicht

        I think this is along the lines of what I have read Paul Craig Roberts to have written (which I hope to paraphrase correctly):

        Exceptional hubris has the US setting the stage for a grand war with any nation that won’t bend to its will; Russia (and China) are aware that they will need to either submit to US order or prepare for a war against the Hegemon; and any war between these nuclear powers will result in an unrecognizable (inhospitable) planet.

        If one were to subscribe to this narrative, then derailing the very dangerous and reckless neocon line-up (before they take power) makes sense.

    6. Lexington

      The rationale for this action is also transparently ridiculous: sources had indicated frustration with the pace of the Justice Dept. probe, and its avoidance of the national security aspects of intelligence handling.

      Because Putin is oh so concerned to see that the rule of law is followed and also that American officials who put state secrets in jeopardy are appropriately disciplined, least those secrets fall into the wrong hands.

      Also the approach being taken here is nonsensical. Why would you telegraph that you are thinking of leaking something instead of just leaking it, unless you expect to gain something from the mere threat of taking that action? And why wouldn’t you sterilize the leak by going through Wikileaks (or some similar organization) in order to maintain deniability?

      All of which is to say I’ll believe it when I see it.

    7. NotTimothyGeithner

      Intelligence agencies exist (at least when working in the interest of the state) to avert war or prepare for the next one is. They know what the next war is. Now they need to aver it. They know our capabilities. There is a good chance Hillary is a one term President which means she need targets for the evening news to echo Rummy.

      I would think keeping a loon out of the White House is worth rolling up their operations.

    8. vidimi

      sure, they like to remain in the shadows so they can continue to exploit their goldmine. but once the goldmine is exhausted and the opponent knows exactly how they mined it, why not release the details to the public?

  6. allan

    Good.

    One quibble:

    … handling of classified documents (which Sec. Clinton had alleged was no worse than the mishandling of a few documents by CIA Director David Petraeus…

    Actually, some of the documents that Petraeus brought to the `All In’ love nest were classified to a very high level and contained names of undercover intelligence operatives. If Clinton’s server had stuff like that on it, she would already be `the former presumptive nominee’. HRC would (should) be criminally liable if she improperly handled even much less sensitive information than Petraeus. It seems the author of this piece is raising the bar awfully high.

    1. optimader

      If Clinton’s server had stuff like that on it
      Do we know what was (and what was not) on her homebrew server? Am missing something here?

      1. allan

        Already back in January:

        The furor over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account grew more serious for the Democratic presidential front-runner Friday as the State Department designated 22 of the messages from her account “top secret.”

        It was the first time State has formally deemed any of Clinton’s emails classified at that level, reserved for information that can cause “exceptionally grave” damage to national security if disclosed.

    2. AnEducatedFool

      It has already been confirmed by the Corporate Media that Clinton had CIA names on her server. These names are classified.

      Clinton emailed Special Access Program information which HAS TO COME FROM the SECURE State sever. And is always classified.

      Clinton is getting a free pass.

  7. Dache

    It would work double duty. Weakens Hillary, creates potential claim to the Throne, by Dems. R’s would use as catalyst to have nominee other than DJT emerge from convention, as news breaking is Putin has hacked DNC server and swiped oppo research on DJT . . .

  8. Lambert Strether

    So this explains the timing of the Politico leak on the DNC server? And perhaps the timing of that Saker post on Russian resolve.

    Adding, what a year we’re having!

        1. OIFVet

          And Happy Festivus!!! The Airing of Grievances has been completed, and Feats of Strength is about to begin. I am not betting on the Goldwater Girl Grifter…

    1. flora

      “What a year we’re having!

      Yes. This won’t be another summer of silly “shark attack” news stories.

    2. Code Name D

      They are trying to distract from the main issue. If they hacked the DNC server than they will say Russia hacks every one – and once more Clinton did nothing wrong. Did Russia actually hack DNC servers? Has this been confirmed or did they just pull this from their ass? I also note that the DNC server is not a government server.

  9. Dave Arnold

    Why on Earth would the Russians care about the “pace” of the investigation? Far more likely that that just don’t want Clinton in office, (She’s talking openly about invading Syria, Russia’s only ME ally) and they thought that the mere existence of an unsecured email server was enough to preclude her from being elected.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Hillary has been much more the aggressor in the Middle East than he has been.

      They don’t want to cross Obama any more than they have to, so they are politely warning him and giving him a chance to distance himself from her. However, he has decided to do otherwise.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        So Obama is the intended audience here? Why very publicly threaten to release stuff rather than simply releasing it? You only do that if you are negotiating something and direct channels aren’t getting you the result you are hoping for. Releasing the dirt, or alternatively holding it as blackmail against a possible sitting president both look like smarter plays–if this is what it appears to be. I don’t get the shot across the bow. If Clinton is the audience what is she supposed to do? Withdraw? That won’t happen when she feels confident the head of the DOJ will protect her. This is intended to have Obama persuade Clinton to? Seems pretty far fetched, no? And if the intended effect is to take Clinton down, why telegraph the threat rather than simply blind siding her?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Putin has already given Obama a “peace with honor” moment in Syria with the chemical weapon disarmament, but Obama can only be forced into action through embarrassment.

  10. just me

    OMG!!!
    there is a God
    there is a God
    there is a God

    wait, Russian sources… message from Moscow… Edward, is that you?
    there is a God
    there is a God
    there is a God

  11. Watt4Bob

    This is what you get when you double-cross the Russians.

    Have we forgotten that it was Hillary who made Victoria Nuland the State Department’s chief spokesperson?

    Do you think Putin might harbor some ill will towards HRC because of the heartache caused by the Ukrainian coup?

    As they say, payback is a M***ker!

    1. just me

      Speaking of… Nuland replaced PJ Crowley, who had kind of made a point to tell MIT students that our treatment of Bradley Manning at Quantico was ridiculous and stupid and something, beneath our values. Remember how Manning was made to stand naked and all the humiliating, torturous rest of it? The UN Raporteur for Torture got called onto the case but wasn’t allowed to see Manning? iirc. Aren’t we special. And let me think, let me think…. what was Manning’s crime? Nothing top secret. Of course Hillary spoke up for Manning… Hillary wants equality under the law… oh waaaait

    2. cassandra

      Exactly my thoughts:
      Who was responsible for the West’s bashing of the Sochi Olympics?
      Who was responsible for the doubly-fratricidal destruction of Ukrainian-Russian relations (you answered above)?
      Who expected to deprive Russia of its only Black Sea naval base in Sevastopol?
      Who idea was it to establish anti-Russian economic sanctions?
      Who set up the MH-17 investigation so that Ukraine had veto power over what was to be released?
      We know who compared Putin to Hitler.
      Hillary in her carelessness gave any hackers who cared access to her emails. By now, their contents are probably on thumb drives held by all but the lowliest in the international halls of power, and discussed among diplomats at state dinner parties. The Freedom of Information Act was evaded, all right, but perhaps not in the way, nor with the consequences, originally intended.
      In particular, Putin has answers to all the above questions, and more. Like you, Watt4Bob, I can guess how he might use them.

  12. Seb

    Seems a weak play of the hacked emails by Russia, even if they have been exhausted for (counter-)espionage purposes long ago. Too weak for a shrewd man like Putin.

    1. kyria

      I agree. Maybe these are the threatened FBI leaks…using ‘the Russians’ for cover.

    2. pretzelattack

      it does seem a bit odd. but who knows what factors are at play? maybe there was an attempted negotiation or blackmail attempt, which fell through.

    3. DG

      I agree – not sure what the emails contain, but can’t be strong enough to derail her campaign. (Unless there’s some Clinton foundation stuff) Don’t think Putin would gain much through pin pricks – a weak Pres. Clinton still has a lot of leeway with foreign policy.

      1. shargash

        The Russians just need to show some relevant emails that were subsequently deleted among the 30,000 “personal” emails. If they can, it is slam-dunk obstruction of justice. In that case, I think Obama will indict. If he doesn’t indict, he could be impeached. He cares more about his legacy than he does HRC, and he’s not about to go down with her.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          The DOJ can simply deny or question the authenticity of the purported emails containing actionable dirt and cite the untrustworthiness of the source. Whatever the party making the threats might have, it’s unlikely to have strong evidentiary provenance or a reliable chain of custody. Even releasing dirt that directly implicates Hillary in felonious misconduct isn’t sufficient, and only more so if the prosecutor is very strongly disinclined to. She and Obama can just call it lies. They only work to bring Clinton down if the average American believes “Russian intel”, or whomever is actually behind these threats to leak, more than they trust Obama and Lynch. You get right down to it, it’s “he says, she says”.

          This whole thing smells like a barnyard.

          1. cassandra

            Not sure about the ambiguity: if some of the hacked material turns out to be corroborated by other sources, it could establish credibility.

            1. vidimi

              exactly. emails have senders and receivers. if the receivers’ emails have been wiped too, that would be suspicious…

    4. flora

      Weak play? Not so sure. Might be a great way to signal the other BRICS that Hillary is too inept and unreliable to be trusted with anyone’s state secrets, i.e. trusted with the important aspects of alliances.
      To make that play work at least some emails will have to be released.

      1. JerseyJeffersonian

        My thought exactly, and not just the BRICS would get the news that Hillary’s loose lips can get any political leader into very hot water. And they probably already have. This has got to send a cold chill up the back of any Russian Fifth Columnist who was so unwise as to repose any confidence in Hillary. Or many European leaders cum weasels who now potentially have their asses in the breeze.

        President Putin, steely-eyed guy that he is, still seems to repose some real importance in having “partners” (over time, those quotation marks have taken on an increasingly ironic meaning…) with whom one can arrive at understandings and agreements that not only are adhered to, but which are not leaked all over the place, thereby lending comfort to political opponents. Who knows what bald-faced treachery toward Russia’s diplomatic efforts are to be found in those emails? Probably, given the predilections of the too-clever-by-half NeoCons with whom Hillary is – by her own choice – advised, the broken agreements and bad faith posturings are on inglorious display in many, many areas, and involve many nations beyond Russia. Not an auspicious launch for her internationally as President, I should surmise.

    5. redleg

      This won’t be weak tea. It’s not how Russians play chess or use artillery. Look for something that hits hard and repeatedly.
      Think of this as a strategic weapon, because that’s how they probably are going to use it.

      1. Gaianne

        Exactly, redleg!

        We won’t know until after it happens, (and it may not) but if it happens we will know:

        1) That the server was so insecure that no special Russian techniques were needed, and no hint whatever of such techniques will be revealed in the e-mail dump. (The Russians are very careful to never reveal anything about their intelligence methods. For example, the Russians know exactly what happened to flight MH-17, but they won’t say what they know because they don’t want the US to be able to figure out how they know it.

        2) The current warning was not a feint but a real warning. The people to whom it was directed (not Hilary–she is beyond persuasion) knew who they were and were being given a chance to prepare their personal damage limitation if they wished.

        3) Americans often talk of bargaining chips, but Russians consider the whole notion useless. Bargaining for things you don’t want is stupid, and bluffing rarely works. A failed bluff causes damage far beyond the matter at hand. Threats have to be-and are–backed up by real, appropriate actions, even if they are not spelled out in advance. Putin has yet to bluff on any significant matter.

        4) The Russians have little to lose. We don’t presently know what the Russians know about Hillary, nor exactly what they think of her policies (beyond obviously viewing them as dangerous), but we will know if they do this that they view any risk as worth delaying the coming global war that they think Hilary is certain to bring on.

  13. ekstase

    It is fascinating to see what the internet has enabled, not justice, exactly, but a realigning of consequences. And maybe, for the idealistic, a glimpse into a future where there would be truth-telling, enabled globally.

  14. TheCatSaid

    Assuming a contested Democratic convention, could such a release impact the superdelegates’ actions? I wonder what Sanders thinks.

    1. Archie

      He’s supposed to be meeting with $hillary tonight. Would love to be a fly on the wall.

      1. Arizona Slim

        I’d love to be a fly on the wall of his opposition research department. That office has probably been working overtime.

    2. petal

      I’ve been kind of getting the feeling he’s been biding his time, treading water, holding on any way he can until this plays out. She’s been given enough rope to hang herself, and I’m starting to think it may actually happen. He’s kept his hands clean. Just waiting, sitting back quietly, and waiting. Cheers.

      1. TheCatSaid

        I expect Putin would rather deal with a sane person like Sanders as US President.
        Knowing whatever he knows about her emails would give him leverage over her, but on the other hand he’d have insight as to whether or not she’d be a trustworthy partner in any agreement.

        1. Jean

          Exactly! She has a known history of being an inconsistent flip-flopper that’s for sale to the highest bidder. Bernie, on the other hand, has been unwaveringly consistent and honest.

  15. ira

    What I don´t undertand:

    1 Unless HRC is completely oblivious to reality, or supremely megalomaniacal (a la “l´état c´est moi”) to the point of thinking she´s invincible, she had to know that putting classified emails on a non-secure server would guarantee their being intercepted by foreign, ´non-friendly´ intelligence services, including the Russians. Given that, why would she open herself up to blackmail, by going as far as calling Putin ´a new Hitler´, the absolute worst thing you could call him, as anyone with the most elementary knowldege of recent Russian history, and of Putin himself, would know ?

    2 Given the ´sword of blackmail´ that Putin theoretically holds over HRC´s head via possession of the emaiils, why wouldn´t he use it to negotiate a less belligerent U.S posture towards Russia (in a HRC administration), rather than release them now ? Surely, HRC would wants to to be president at any cost, and would throw the neocons under the bus if needed, no ?

    1. Pavel

      Well I choose “door number 1” — Hillary apparently didn’t know how to read her emails on a standard desktop PC, and surrounds herself with sycophants most notably Huma who married (and remains married to) Señor Carlos Danger. Her 2008 campaign was a mess and this one has been one disaster after another; if Team Clinton hadn’t bought the superdelegates and fixed the primaries in collusion with the state Democrat organisations she probably would have lost to Sanders.

      And yes, she is “completely megalomaniacal”, and oblivious. What does one call wearing a $12,000 outfit while discussing income inequality? And she honestly thought people wouldn’t care about multiple Goldman Sachs speeches at $225K each?

      1. ira

        1 and 2 are not mutually exclusive: it´s not an either/or situation. I don´t understand both ´doors´.

      2. pretzelattack

        she wore the 12k outfit to express solidarity with walmart shoppers everywhere. what did she wear to the goldman sachs speeches?

        1. jgordon

          I think it was her attempt to blend in with the peasants. I mean you have to admit–just going by looks it did appear to be a 12 dollar Walmart special.

          1. Arizona Slim

            Yeah, what is it about her clothes anyway? I mean, come on. The tops look like they came straight out of Kim Jong Un’s wardrobe.

            Yeesh. It’s not like she doesn’t have money to buy more flattering clothes.

            1. jgordon

              Yes. I think she is getting away with this because she is a woman. Seriously–if a man tried to wear (a male version) of any of the crap she wears he would have been laughed off the campaign trail ages ago. This double standard is so annoying not least because her wardrobe is so painful to look at. It’s eye-wateringly bad.

    2. fresno dan

      ira
      June 14, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      I agree. As I have mentioned, to try to be objective, and not engage in confirmation bias, I try and bend over backwards with regard to Hillary. To the extent I am skeptical, it just seems self destructive beyond all rationality….It just SEEMS she CAN’T be that stupid….and OJ Simpson seemed like a nice man….and Trump got the repub nomination.
      What the public sees and what someone really is, are two different things.
      Is Hillary in her position simply and ONLY because she is the most successful at fulfilling her “”sponsors” desires????

      AND, I remember Richard Nixon…
      And why he decided to defend underlings to the point of losing a presidency, why he kept the tapes instead of immediately destroying them….well, Hubris….
      Is there some deep self destructive impulse?

      1. Arizona Slim

        Agreed. Why didn’t Nixon just toss the tapes in the Oval Office fireplace?

        But no-o-o. He kept right on taping.

    3. Gaianne

      Ira–

      About item number 1, I guess this is surprising everybody. But it is now clear that Hillary surrounds herself with sycophants rather than competent people. As for comparing Putin to Hitler, this is Hillary’s idea of sounding tough. She thinks insulting people softens them up for caving them in. This has apparently worked for her in the past. It won’t work against Putin, nor Russians generally. (Remember, after the Cuban Missile Crisis the American media went on and on about how Kennedy went eyeball to eyeball with the Russians and the Russians blinked. The Russians never said otherwise. But they got what they wanted: The US removed its liquid-fuel first-strike Jupiter C missiles from Turkey, which was the point of the entire affair.)

      As for item number 2, Hillary does not negotiate. Putin already knows this as a proven fact. She cannot make and keep a bargain either. (She is faithless). So blackmail does not apply. The only choice is to use the info or not use the info.

  16. Ivy

    The Russian overture will put the Syrian activities, among others, in a new light with altered negotiating positions, and posturing. How many of the 30,000+ emails will be held back for internal consumption at a later date?
    Gee thanks, Hills, for putting so many balls in play.

  17. Roger Smith

    Our two best defenses from a Neoliberalist Clinton are Donald Trump and Russia… what a time to be alive!

    1. Pavel

      +++++
      In tribute to Russia (not Trump) I think I’ll go pour myself a shot of vodka.

      When I think of Putin (a horrid man, it goes without saying) I think of a video of him facing a half dozen or so Russian journalists, all seated at a round table for several hours of freeform questioning. He spoke coherently, without notes, on a variety of issues domestic and international, and generally made sense. When was the last time you saw a US politician do that?

        1. Arizona Slim

          I’ve tried to double-post here. Oh, lordy, I’ve tried. And I have yet to succeed.

      1. Dwight

        Pavel, please explain why it goes without saying that Putin is a horrible man. Not saying he isn’t, but honestly I don’t see why it matters to any of my countrymen other than those engaged in the weapons racket. From what I understand, the Russian people support him, and he faces criticism from the right, which isn’t helped by NATO putting serious weaponry on the Russian border.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      If Putin publicly takes Clinton down and signs his name to it, he’ll probably have more than half the American public thanking him and feeling like they’ve discovered a new and valuable friend. I already have warm fuzzies for the Putin administration for their continuing hospitality to Snowden, that took courage and probably helped do more for America in terms of informing the public with real information about its government than the entire mainstream media combined have over the same period. Putin can be a hero to both the American left and the right and that’s the sort of soft power that helped the West win the Cold War. it would be sweet delicious irony for Putin the old Soviet KGB hand to avenge that and win over a significant portion of the US public as being a better friend to them than their own leaders are.

      1. vidimi

        imo snowden is the real reason that the US had it in for them.

        here’s a truncated timeline:
        1-snowden ends up in moscow
        2-media start to focus on how awful russia is to the gays
        3-sochi olympics
        4-maidan putsch

        1. Gaianne

          AFAIK Snowden went to Moscow in 2013. This is fully five years after the US began proxy-war operations in Russia’s near abroad, culminating in the Georgian war of 8 August 2008. At the instigation of the US, Georgia sought to end the informal but standing federated status of South Ossetia by sending in troops and assaulting and shelling Ossetian towns and cities. Many Ossetians held Russian passports as a hold over from the old Soviet Days, and Russia responded by sending in Russian troops. The Georgian troops were readily defeated and Georgia lost formal control of South Ossetia. This war was a victory for Russia because the US was not prepared to follow up (wisely, as it happens) its initial aggression with US troops.

          So the US been openly hostile to Russia since at least 2008, earlier than the 2013 you imply.

          –Gaianne

        2. Fiver

          You left out the key, i.e., Syria, the essentially US-directed overthrow of which was too much for Putin, first at the UN, then re the chemical weapons incident that was to be the excuse for US flattening Assad and Syria a la Libya/Iraq ‘Shock and Awe’, but that Putin forestalled – it turns out, not surprisingly, that rebels supported by US allies were the perpetrators of those attacks.

      2. rusti

        I already have warm fuzzies for the Putin administration for their continuing hospitality to Snowden

        Radio War Nerd (Mark Ames and Gary Brecher) had an interesting interview with Russian journalist Andrei Soldatov where they touched on how Snowden has been a useful pawn for Russian elites to expand their own security state in the name of protecting citizens from US spying.

        I’m very glad that Snowden has had this protection, but we shouldn’t delude ourselves about any altruistic intentions on Putin’s part.

  18. pretzelattack

    maybe russia is trying to maintain the value of other intelligence sources. after all, if every 3d rate intelligence service and hacker for hire can penetrate all the us security secrets, the value of having them goes down.

  19. TimmyB

    This is classic. The sole reason Hillary went with a private email server was to evade Freedom of Information requests by falsely claiming, as the State Department has already done multiple times, that it had no Hillary Clinton emails in its possession.

    But while the State Department claimed it didn’t have any Clinton emails, Russia had them all. What a wonderful combination of Clinton hubris and stupidity.

    1. jgordon

      The point has previously been made that Clinton was more afraid of letting the American people know what she was doing as sos than she was of Russia knowing.

  20. Pelham

    Whether secret stuff was leaked or not doesn’t strike me as amounting to much in any practical sense. The most quotidian material is often classified.

    Far more interesting would be anything the emails might reveal about quid pro quos between Clinton’s actions as secretary of state and subsequent foreign government largess to the Clinton Foundation. Just the fact of her tenure at State and the mere existence of the foundation screams potential and even likely or unavoidable and quite consequential conflicts of interest.

    But, curiously, this isn’t the first issue that routinely surfaces when the email hairball comes up. So to speak.

    1. redleg

      Foundation related emails are the key to whether or not Putin has a royal flush (delicious wordplay unintentional).
      We’ll have to wait and see, but I sure hope that’s the release.

  21. Massinissa

    Forgive me if someone already mentioned this above.

    Even if these are released, Bernie still wont become president. Wouldn’t the Super Delegates just nominate Biden or some other toady instead?

    1. Pelham

      That’s certainly a possibility. And it’s one reason Sanders needs to stay in right up to the convention. If he were to quit anytime before then, it would open the door wider for a Biden or, as you aptly put it, some other toady.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Clinton pledged delegates are regular people for the most part. The reason the GOP didn’t try to drop Romney or Ryan was because people wouldn’t tolerate someone who didn’t run, and Biden is a nothing. What would he run on?

    3. tgs

      Right. Whatever happens, and I am really skeptical that the Russians or Putin will release the emails, Bernie will not be president. Indeed, if the claim is true, the argument will be that Bernie is too weak to deal with the Russkies.

      If the release happens, which I doubt, I would not be surprised to see the establishment circle the wagons and and brazen it out. ‘The Russians faked this’ etc.,

    4. aab

      I don’t think it works like that. IIRC, on the first ballot (at least) all the pledged delegates have to vote for who they represent, unless they have been released. If they’re released, they’re released — they can vote for whoever they want. The supers couldn’t do a first ballot Biden drop by themselves. They’d need to hold the vast majority of Clinton’s pledged delegates, AND the supers would have to hold together. I am not so sure that would happen. I think there are Clinton delegates who have changed their minds watching this play out — not a lot, but some. Some of the Nevada Clinton delegates definitely would, and I bet that’s true of others, who would opt for Bernie out of a sense of fair play. Then vagina voter delegates (that’s their own term for their allegiance, not mine) might vote Warren. After getting screwed by Obama last time (their POV), I can see them resisting once again being thwarted by his VP. Likewise, there are superdelegates who are lower level elected officials, in addition to those already committed to Bernie, who might decide to throw in their lot with the guy who stands the best chance of winning, and energizing the base.

      They could drop in Biden. But it would take more than just the superdelegates to do it. And if these emails leak, it probably taints the Obama administration, too, which taints Biden. I don’t think it would be as easy to accomplish as the top level of the party may believe.

    1. oho

      i retract this link—didn’t pay attention to the source. would be interesting if it was true though.

      1. uncle tungsten

        I caught this one a few weeks ago and my guess too that it was a planted story or maybe a warning shot. Who knows but I really laughed at the sheer pleasure of it.

        I too forwarded it as I was clutching at the straws of Clunkone’s demise.

        I can’t imagine that Guccifer’s laptop was anything other than a plant. It was given to him by an acquaintance who came from dark web circles also. He chopped it up along with his mobile phone and burned them in his backyard just before he was arrested by the Romanian authorities. You can be sure the contents of that server were beyond emails and likely included reports and analyses of various nations, organisations and individuals. It is highly likely that information is in the hands of many with unfriendly attitudes to the USA

  22. Jean

    Speculation about Russia releasing incriminating Clinton emails came up a month ago in mainly right-wing sites, but gained little public traction. Interesting that this is emerging again and getting more mainstream press. Could it be a reaction to Clinton’s aggressive statements on “radical Islam” related to the Orlando shootings? Whether it’s Russia, FBI leakers, or Wikileaks, it appears that there is increasing concern about Hillary becoming president and her war-mongering tendencies.

  23. dingusansich

    Barack and Hillary, the miniseries! Here’s the pitch …

    Obama’s primary post-presidency problem has always been how to destroy the Clinton dynasty, which would stand between him and his preferred gig as Fixer in Chief, without stabbing Hillary in the front. This exercise, if calculated, is worthy of Machiavelli. It rids Obama of the pestiferous Clintons and their foundation, all while publicly backing Hillary to the hilt with an endorsement followed by a none-too-subtle Oval Office meet-up with Loretta Lynch that clearly stage-mouthed for the lip readers in the audience “No new indictments.” The poor man, the leak would leave him no alternative but to let the wheels of Justice grind noisily on—till after the election, when he will magnanimously pardon the maldoers, to applause from the donor class only too eager to write checks for the Nobelist’s noble new foundation. A Sanders administration will put pitchfork insurance top of agenda, and who better to sell it than a man with just that on his resume. A thing of beauty it is.

    Whether from Barack or Vlad or Julian, whether from the deep state or Dr. Evil or Tralfamadore, how nice if those emails could find their way back onto a server in time for Philadelphia. And how much better still if the party managers, with no one left on the bench, reluctantly were to give Bernie the nod for the save.

  24. YY

    Smells a bit like Rather-gate where the issue turned to provenance of the evidence rather than the substance of the issue. Look, these E-mails have traces of Cyrillic character set!, being sort of the too new IBM ball equivalent. Those looking after HRC/parts of US establishment interests would like to escape by pleading of non-criminal motive/intent and provenance of any damaging information as being bad, because Pootin.

    FBI probably has more constraints anyway, as items of private nature (Clinton Foundation) would be outside the purview of what they are charged (by circumstance of the original reason for alarm) to wrap up as a package. So leak by outside agents is the only way content of 30,000 would become any kind of issue.

    It must be more than just Russians and the FBI that already have a good portion of the E-Mails. Aside from the forensic reconstruction of not entirely wiped data and hacker sources, there would have had to been multiple back-ups, if the tech or tech contractor were earning their keep. If the 30,000 are still gone, there would have to be written instruction to the tech that the back-ups need to be destroyed. No sane person would destroy potential evidence without a cover, that would also be a real smoking gun. So there can be intact data that can or has leaked.

    It will be interesting to see how the Wikileaks stuff will be reported if it ever happens, as recent events suggest that the fourth estate is very good about ignoring Wikileaks while going gaga on coordinated/well supported stuff like the Panama papers.

    1. sd

      Lambert has been posting some great links to catch up everything, particularly the Thompson Timeline, long form, and the Kristi Culpepper “12 red flags”

    2. jgordon

      Even if the fourth estate wants to let it slide, Trump is not going to be on board with that. I expect specific top secret infos that Hillary had previously donated to the Russians coming from Trump’s lips in every live debate he has with her. And this being Trump, those debates are going to have mega audiences.

    3. Dwight

      Clinton Foundation is a public entity since it is claiming tax exemptions. Regardless, transactions between a public servant and a non-government entity could entail public corruption within the purview of the FBI or other law enforcement.

      1. YY

        Not so much the public nature of tax exempt organizations as that the “private” part of the server could only be searched for stray official/security communications, and not trawlered for other fish as it were. Of all the mail servers to go snooping around to find potential criminal activity, this server though not well protected technically, certainly will be protected by the best lawyers money can buy. Unlikely that the FBI would stray that far.

    4. tiresoup

      Very interesting thread I’m coming to it late, so this reply possibly goes into the wind. However, most posters are assuming that Putin has threatened to release the emails. He has not said so directly. Supposedly, he made the threat to us via an intelligence service. It is then the intelligence service who says Putin made the threat. Did he? We don’t know. What we do know is someone said Putin did. Whether he did or not, Putin’s motivation is less important than the leaker. Who wants us to know what Putin did or did not say. Very salient fact: no emails have been released yet. This says to me that this is damage control for WHEN someone decides to dump them. We won’t really know who that is. But the official line will be “the Russkies done it.” The timing of this is a little to close to the DNC hacking revelation. C’mon, why tell the Washington Post they were hacked at all? And why months after it happened, oh mighty Wurlitzer? The Russkies done it! And the distracted American public will have heard a couple of damning stories about Russian hacking and it will be all too believable that they are the source once the dump occurs.

      And I just have to add as a member of the American public who has always believed, and still does, that no one is above the law, that this whole email episode demonstrates that Hillary believes that she is. The law is for the little people. And she has every reason to believe that Obama is on board with that view. After all, he essentially grants immunity to white collar fraudsters in the financial sector, as long as they are rich enough to pay the vig.

      1. Fiver

        Very good point – remember as per Rove that people at this level make their own reality now.

  25. Alex morfesis

    Nyes mbill…vy you shout so ? Dis game ve playz is nice, but last set of wire tranzfyrz had a sayrow missing ?
    9…knot my proeblemz…ve givz you quebah, ve takes craymiya , ve make like makes bayleafs var…you sell tired airplanes with bad softvarez and ve sell rocketz that hit knowthing but air…I dont karez xhowz dee fee koolt now with pope peoples hacking panama lawyerz…this to be expected…deal vas five percentage, like old days with meestare gulbee…knot four percentage, fives…you fix, we forget…I dontz cares, I can makes monee with themz drumpf too…fix now please…

  26. Vertie

    Timing suggests this is as much about Obama as HRC – now that he has endorsed HRC he will take a lot of personal damage. Putin getting personal..

  27. uncle tungsten

    Putin’s calculation is pretty straightforward: Which USA presidential candidate represents the greatest threat to the stability of the Russian Federation?

    Clinton will begin her assault against the Russian Federation via the Ukraine the minute she is elected. Trump or Sanders definitely less likely or even remote.

    Which USA presidential candidate would be most effective in collaborating with the Russian Federation in the destruction of ISIS? (bearing in mind that they already have had their Orlando moment).

    Trump or Sanders are more likely to be capable partners in prioritizing ISIS demise over antagonizing the Russian Federation. Clinton is less likely.

    It has been clear for some time that Putin is EXTREMELY averse to giving ISIS any oxygen to take its lunacy to Russian Federation (or satellites) soil. Putin is equally scathing of Clinton’s stupidity in Libya whereas Trump is less likely to repeat that idiocy and Sanders is highly unlikely.

    If the Russian Federation have damaging material they will use it to destroy Clinton. Obama should have done it himself but then there are many lost opportunities around that spectator.

    1. grayslady

      This. Anyone who reads RT has noticed that, throughout the primary campaign, RT was one of the few media sources consistently publishing fair, but complimentary, articles about Bernie. Not too difficult to see who they were rooting for.

    2. fajensen

      Correct – except, I think that Poland is the designated attack vector. Ukraine failed to touch off in the sense that people in the EU do not care much for Ukraine. Ukraine is widely seen as more corrupt and mismanaged than Greece, incompetent bastards too – even by the operators: All of those Ukrainian troops sporting their Nazi regalia all over the news …. is NOT the way to inspire confidence, admiration and consideration.

      And they are on their third or fourth bailout.

      Poland could work; nut-bag government with that huge 3’rd world chip on shoulder also seen in Turkey and the recent NATO buildup with Poland at it’s center … of course if nothing else works, “they” could set off civil war in Europe if enough islamists can be made to cook off in their usual peace-loving way – the risk is then that Competent Governments might be elected on the outrage before Russia might intervene.

      I am quite convinced both that Hillary would set off a war in Europe JUST to get shots fired at Russia and that the US population would be mostly OK with that.

  28. Vertie

    If it is personal rather than political, odds-on there will be an email somewhere linked to Cameron

  29. sd

    I’m wondering if the Russians are taking credit for a hack that was actually carried out by an ally.

      1. sd

        Russia can take the blame where as an ally country say, like a small European nation, can not be caught hacking the private email server of the US Secretary of State.

        Ultimately, her personal comfort and convenience took priority over national security.

  30. HotFlash

    OK, Ms Clinton thought her emails were totally safe, from FOIA, from State and from the Exec branch. They include both official State biz and personal stuff. What, oh what would she have said, thinking no one would ever know? Did she wonder about the Prez’s birth certificate? Did she talk about how much better she could President? Did she and Vicky draft a timeline for world conquest? Was there some unseemly gloating perhaps? Love letters? Perhaps even a cookie recipe?

    I also wonder who is the actual target of the Russian threat (which I fervently hope it is real) — this could be a bank shot taking out Ms Clinton, Obama, the FBI, the NSA and then ‘around the world’ — the EU, Five Eyes, NATO and all the govts and people of the world. Talk about a nuclear option!

  31. KLG

    And all the while Digby et al. continue to focus solely on Dastardly Donald…But, could this nothing burger really be the bacon double green chile cheeseburger that finally rids us of the scourge? Forever?

  32. geoff

    What are the Russians/ Wikileaks waiting for? If the above is true, the Russians (at least) have had this info. for years.

    I honestly think this is some kind of (U.S.) Deep State Civil War, which is weird as I would’ve thought they’d be pro- Clinton. Maybe it has something to do with the Joint Chiefs Of Staff’s reluctance to confront Russia in Syria as Seymour Hersh has written about in the LRB?

    Jeez, I’m feelin’ foily (h/t Lambert).

  33. vidimi

    i hate hate hate HATE threats of releasing information. it just makes it less likely it will never see the life of day or is just an obvious attempt at blackmail. i won’t forget wikileaks’ last threat to release information that would shake the very foundations of the financial system and take down at least one bank by releasing the confidential files on one majore financial institution. obviously, that never happened.

    if you have information to release, release it. we can have the drama afterwards.

  34. voteforno6

    I could see Putin doing this, if only to get back at the Clintons. Bill certainly bears some responsibility for what happened to Russia in the ’90s. He also pushed NATO expansion eastward.

  35. inode_buddha

    I will be giggling like a little school-girl all the way till Christmas if the Russians actually did this! The irony is astounding, that the Russians could actually be the common American’s best friend by making Clinton politically impossible. They would be doing the world a favor by releasing the emails. Yeah, she sure kept them safe from those FOIA requests…. meanwhile everybody with even half a clue was downloading the whole thing!

  36. clem

    Jesus. And I thought Republicans were ripe to believe every damn conspiracy theory about the Clintons. You Bernistas are even worse.

    BTW I am reluctantly holding my nose and voting for Hillary because Trump scares the crap out of me.

  37. Correct the Record Quality Control

    Conspiracy used as a magic word per CIA Doc. 1035-960, check.

    Republicans suck worse, check.

    Full marks.

  38. simjam

    Most of the comments above are intelligent and well-reasoned. However, folks, we not included in the power structure’s narrative. Corporations and Defense lobbyists fund the narrative. Putin’s leaks will get the usual media treatment – one major story and then discarded.

  39. timbers

    There is an Onion headline quality to this story which I’m not sure some noticed.

    Clinton, Obama, NATO, Pentagon & all their messaging have been constantly telling us Russia is The Greatest Threat To America. The fact The Greatest Threat To America – which is run by someone just like “Hitler” (says Hillary) has access to State Secrets via Hillary’s unsecured email because she violated the law, is proof in your face beyond any doubt that Hillary committed graves crimes against our national security benefiting The Greatest Threat To America.

    But of course it’s Bush’s fault.

  40. pissed younger baby boomer

    We have no democracy in this country ,IT IS already controlled by the 1 %

  41. carycat

    Putin’s is just upset about the choice of music for Chelsea’s wedding and can’t stand it anymore, “невоспитанный, grrrrh…” and has the emails to proof it.
    He does not have to out the folks who has been buying influence, yet.
    Leaking something that any half competent IT pro knows can be (and will be) hacked but the MSM and other very important people is claiming to be secure with their eyes wide shut is certainly much more civilized that a drone strike.
    Considering how much havoc Clinton and gang has already directed at Russia, Putin had shown remarkable restraint.
    After all, this will only bruise her ego and hurt the Clinton’s pocketbook because the Clinton Foundation is going to get much less funding from shady people if she is not coronated after all.

  42. Code Name D

    Here is my question: Where is Trump?

    I know he said he was going to give a major speech about this soon. It seems like such an obvious play for him. Start pounding on Clinton, the mere fact of doing so will rally the Republican base under his flag. The GOP would have to get in line behind him or be left out of the new order. And there is no way in hell they would hitch their cart to Clinton once Trump starts making her toxic.

    So why isn’t he?

    Is he attacking her and its just not being reported?
    Is Trump concerned it could let Bernie take the nomination?
    Maybe too many of his backers will get hit by the “friendly fire”.
    Is he waiting for the right time? What!

  43. Kurt Sperry

    Trump probably has taken on Republican advisors to “help” his campaign who will do everything in their power to see that Clinton wins. Unless the GOP establishment has suddently grown to trust Trump, the situation at party HQ will be analogous to the one at the Democrat HQ where had Bernie been the nominee, they’d be secretly trying to scuttle his campaign and throw it to the Republicans to prevent a likely party purge post election. The surreal beauty of a Trump-Sanders match up would have been the likelihood that *both* sides at the party level would have been trying to throw the election to the other party without being overt about it. That would’ve been very cool to see.

  44. Bill Smith

    The idea that the Russians would release any emails is really amusing. If they had them they would keep them for later leverage.

    The interesting thing about this is that if Wikileaks publishes something the Russian’s can say they gave it to them….

    The slow walk of this story is likely the result of the Russian trolls.

  45. vox kadavergehorsamkeit

    The article in OilPrice was a hoax that has been floating around the net for 5 or 6 weeks. It originally came out on a site well known for their fake stories, The European Union Times. In past they have published stories such as “Snowden Reveals UFO Documents”, “Wikileaks Set to Reveal US-UFO War In Southern Ocean” and “US Orders Blackout Over North Korean Torpedoing Of Gulf of Mexico Oil Rig”. However, do not feel bad about this one. It seems a lot of folks got taken in by it. i think it has to do with the Fox Mauldar syndrome, as i like to call it. People want to believe shit that backs their pre-conceived notions and biases and will not bother to give those things which confirm their beliefs the proper level of scrutiny. i know that when i came across the story yesterday morning, i wanted to believe it, for like the Donald, i think she is crooked and believe there was a quid pro quo going on with some of the donations to the Clinton Foundation and the State Department giving their approval to various things. Still, if my integrity as a researcher was to be maintained, i could not just accept the story as fact without checking it out for myself. And sad to say, but just like so much stuff found on the internet, it turned out to be pure bull shit.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I have had reports second-hand from top level foreign government officials of specific payoffs that were demanded (demanded!) in return for particular large actions (this one by Hillary herself). My contact tracked down some donations consistent with the demand made (a specified number of $50K donations from 20 party members in a specified time frame). He turned the report over to a media outlet. They did not run with the story. I don’t have the resources or contacts to begin to identify party officials in that country.

      Point is that it is not just credible that the Clintons were trading favors out of State in return for Clinton Foundation cash, there is actual (albeit less than complete) evidence consistent with that having taken place.

      1. Lambert Strether

        The Clinton Foundation seems like a fine example of a phishing equilibrium (with, as Haygood suggests, Bill Clinton doing the front-running with speeches, and Hillary Clinton later arranging the deals using her powers of office, and the documentation for that “conversation” oddly lost, along with Hillary Clinton’s yoga appointments and Chelsea’s wedding plans, in the half of the email on her server that she/they/the lawyers deleted, or thought they deleted). Not that I’m foily.

    2. Alex morfesis

      Vox faulder…ufo thingeez are real…Undercover Foreigner Operations…ya see…there was this guy called mengelah…and he sorta kinda had these experiments and ideas about creating super humanoid soldiers…japanese did likewise…so since in the minds of certain parties, why waste such an evil project…and off went the bodies of the failed experiments…many many bodies…so when the uninitiated came across these humanoid bodies, a viable alternative had to be presented…therefore, space people…

      No “advanced civilization” from “out there” would waste energy visiting this pesky third rock from a fairly boring sun…even if technologically possible…

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