It appears that Russian intelligence services have penetrated the Democratic National Committee’s computer systems. I think they came away with a lot more information than E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy ever did. According to the reporting, one group of Russian spies has been reading email and chat traffic at the DNC for about a year. Perhaps more significantly, another group of Russian spies recently made off with the DNC’s entire opposition research file on Donald Trump. That must make for some lively briefings in the Kremlin.

Obviously, it’s a concern when a foreign power like Russia that has an often adversarial relationship with us and some of our allies gets this kind of information. It gives them a lot of ammo to blackmail and recruit people.

It’s interesting to see how some experts think the Russians will or could use the information gained on Trump.

“The purpose of such intelligence gathering is to understand the target’s proclivities,” said Robert Deitz, former senior councillor to the CIA director and a former general counsel at the National Security Agency. “Trump’s foreign investments, for example, would be relevant to understanding how he would deal with countries where he has those investments” should he be elected, Deitz said. “They may provide tips for understanding his style of negotiating. In short, this sort of intelligence could be used by Russia, for example, to indicate where it can get away with foreign adventurism.”

The information can be used in a number of ways, and I’m sure we’re doing the same things to Russia. I’d love it if the Russians just posted the Trump opposition research on the internet somewhere. After all, there’s no way the DNC will ever get around to using all of it.

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at