There is no doubt that the GOP received benefits from the Russian hack on the Democrats, and details of how the party was able to benefit have been released by the New York Times. A super PAC that was connected to GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan was responsible for distributing a series of ads that were shown in many states during the presidential election, and those ads contained information found in the hacked emails taken from the Democrats. The hackers who performed the intrusions were all Russian, or at least they were all working for Russia, and the aid given to the Republicans by the Russians was critical in their successes over the recent election cycle.
According to one of the high-ranking officials within the Democratic party, this attack was not the traditional political process in which two sides trade punches with each other, but rather a highly specialized and strategic attack from a foreign government with the express intent of causing disruptions in the democratic election process. Every citizen of the United States was victimized by the hacking thanks to the results of the election.
A Russian hacking group called Guccifer 2.0 was thought to be responsible for a majority of the document thefts, and once the group started focusing their efforts, real results started happening. They released a series of documents immediately before a debate that would be televised from Miami. Chaos ensued as a result since so many Democrats were forced to deal with the fall out of the leaked material, much of which was showcased nightly on national media outlets.
The timing of the attacks was nothing short of perfect. With less than two weeks left before the primary, Democrats were forced to change their strategies on the fly as new documents were released. Stolen documents included internal polls, memos, strategy development, and just about anything else of value.
The results of the hacks were that Democrats seeking office were forced to respond to the hacks instead of discussing the true issues of the election. The hack essentially put the Democrats on the defensive so they had no choice but to attempt to explain the contents of the leaked emails, many of which contained issues that were ultimately unimportant to the majority of voters.
Not only did the hackers work to uncover all these documents, but they seem to have orchestrated a targeted approach for disseminating them as well. The hackers regularly issued documents to bloggers who were either conservative or directly Republican, which boosted the popularity of those blogs to unheard of levels. One blogger received political research that had been stolen from the Democrats, and he estimated its value at over one million dollars.
Unsurprisingly, the hacks targeted Democrats at every level of the party. Even the highest members of the party were targeted in an effort to show that every one of the Democrats were at risk for exposure of some sort. It was clearly the goal of the hackers to dismantle and destroy any chance the Democrats had of winning.
What is perhaps most telling is the fact that members of the Republican party continued to use the stolen documents as fuel against the Democrats even after they learned of the illegal nature in which those documents were obtained. The Republicans don’t seem to care that a foreign government directly affected the outcome of an American election since it was their candidate who benefited.
The fact that Republicans are willing to use stolen information in an attempt to gain political leverage is sickening, but that they might have helped the Russians with the hack or even created the idea themselves seems too implausible to be a possibility. If that isn’t the case, everyone should be concerned over the level of influence that an outside government had on the election.