Neal Rauhauser: DC Leaks a Republican Hit Job on Democrats?

IO Deeds of War, IO Impotency
Neal Rauhauser
Neal Rauhauser

There has been a lot of noise about the stolen Democratic National Committee documents appearing on Guccifer 2.0’s WordPress.com blog, but there is another equally impressive document cache out there.

DC Leaks (dcleaks.com) are pitching themselves as hackers, but the presentation is more consistent with political opposition researchers. The registration of a domain, the bare web server, albeit offshore, instead of hiding behind Cloudflare, and a slick, responsive site that expects visitors to let it run JavaScript are all cringe-worthy missteps. An actual hacker would be more likely to have a Twitter account, be using pastebin or some other text hosting site, and releasing torrent downloads of large caches of documents.

The DC Leaks content includes several high level Democratic targets, a large number of documents lifted from the George Soros funded Open Society Foundation, and one collection of just over two hundred emails purportedly from Republican staffers. I examined the OSF content and it’s legit, while the Republican staffer stuff looks like someone’s junk drawer, low value content added to provide a patina of bipartisanship for what is clearly a right leaning opposition research outlet.

Four years ago content like this would have been gingerly passed to Anonymous and it would have created a big splash. Now, after events like Ashley Madison, the Panama Papers, and Phineas Phisher’s trio of infosec company takedowns, the world has leak fatigue. If someone simply took the time to collect, analyze, and correlate all this stuff, we would be amazed at the followup revelations available using OSINT methods. Doing so would take time, money, and uncommon skills that need to be fostered.

That being said, the creating and digesting of leaks can be seen as the 5th estate, arising in response to journalism’s reduced abilities to perform its natural role in a free, open society.