The GOP Learns How It Feels to Get Strategic Documents Stolen

You know, what’s bad for the goose is often just as bad for the gander. At least, that is what I thought to myself when I saw the Dallas Morning News reporting that “a bizarre political blunder” had resulted in the Texas Republican Party’s strategic plan for the 2020 election cycle “showing up in Democratic email [boxes] Monday evening.”

I was immediately reminded of when Guccifer 2.0 published the Florida Democratic Party’s strategic documents on August 15, 2016 and then followed that up on August 22, with this:

A Florida GOP campaign consultant who runs a blog under a pseudonym directly contacted the hackers behind the breach of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and he solicited material from them. The Wall Street Journal reports that Aaron Nevins set up a Dropbox account specifically for “Guccifer 2.0” to drop files into, and he received 2.5 GB of data from the Democratic Party breaches—including the “get out the vote” strategy for congressional candidates in Florida.

Nevins analyzed the data and posted his analysis on his blog, HelloFLA.com. Guccifer 2.0 sent a link to the blog to Trump backer Roger Stone, who told the paper he was also in communication with the hackers. Nevins told the Journal that the hackers didn’t understand what they had until he explained the data’s value.

Some of the most valuable data, Nevins said, was the Democratic Party’s voter turnout models. “Basically, if this was a war, this is the map to where all the troops are deployed,” Nevins told the person or persons behind the Guccifer 2.0 account via Twitter. He also told them, “This is probably worth millions of dollars.”

Guccifer 2.0 responded via direct message, “Hmmm. ok u owe me a million :)”

I read through the story in the Dallas Morning News a few times, looking for a description of “the blunder,” but I didn’t find any explanation. Perhaps someone attached the wrong person to an email chain and it is as simple as that. But the result is certainly unpleasant for Texas Republicans. We now know who they are targeting and how they plan on attacking them. In other words, he have a sense of where they plan to “deploy their troops.” This isn’t information that the Democrats should have, and it would be very concerning if the information was stolen from the Republicans, particularly if it was stolen by hackers working for a foreign government. It would be doubly concerning if a Democratic strategist actually solicited this information from foreign hackers.

It seems to me that the Republican Party of Texas has every right to ask for an investigation, and if they are the victims of a foreign or domestic hack, they have the right to expect justice.

If the FBI, backed by the CIA and NSA, came back and explained that, say, the Ukrainian government was behind the breach, I think they’d be outraged if the Democrats refused to accept this and tried to point the finger at the Russians. If the consensus of the Intelligence Community were that the Democrats had actually asked for these documents, I think the demand for justice would be even louder, as well as more justified.

But, honestly, if any of this were the case, the Republicans would not have a leg to stand on because they didn’t defend our democracy when they were the beneficiaries of unfair play.

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Martin Longman

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