Naturally, when the topic came up again, I had to look and see what I could find. As it turns out, Snopes has done a very good job of researching the claims that the Sanders' campaign actually got any useful information while searching through the DNC database and accessing "Hilary Clinton's file". As the debacle unfolded, someone decided to leak a copy of the logs to show that the Sanders campaign had been searching for two hours, not the 45 minutes as claimed. This is supposed to be "damning" information.
The Politifact article rules that Sanders' statement, "'We didn't go out and take' information from the Hillary Clinton campaign.", is mostly false. But further reading of the Snopes article paints a very different picture of these data breaches. First, we learn that in 2008, the Obama campaign and the Clinton campaign both noticed that they could see campaign information of other candidates. From the Snopes article, quoting a self-identified Obama campaign worker:
As an '08 Obama staffer who used the VAN extensively, it went down like this, "Oh, that's weird. It looks like we can pull lists from Hillary again. Hey Erin, do a quick search..." Then everyone in the office room (there were 4 total accounts who did a search) tried the search too.
Any data they pulled would not have been that useful, especially considering both campaigns use the VAN. They couldn't just turn around and re-enter the Clinton supporters as 5's, etc. That's not how it works ... The breach is a non-issue, however how it is being handled by the DNC (in addition to the way the debates, etc) is the telling issue about how undemocratic the Democratic National Party has become.Interestingly, that incident was never reported and didn't make the national news. The Sanders' campaign was denied access to their voter file once the DNC made the determination that there was a data breach. They sued the DNC to get access to their file again and in their suit, they make the following statement:
"Upon information and belief, a similar security incident arose with the NGP VAN software during the 2008 national presidential primaries, resulting in the unintentional transmission of Confidential Information to the campaign of Democratic primary candidate Hillary Clinton (the "Prior Incident"). Upon information and belief, no action was taken in response to the Prior Incident in 2008, nor was any candidate's access to Voter Data suspended as a result of that Incident. [The DNC] has failed to exercise reasonable care and diligence in ensuring that the security breaches that occurred during the Prior Incident, under Defendant’s supervision, would not recur."So it would seem that this has been going on for a long, long time. The difference is that Sanders' campaign actually reported the problem whereas the Clinton campaign and the Obama campaign in 2008 did not. Clinton's campaign was caught, and Obama's Campaign was not. In Obama's case, an investigation was never launched. In Clinton's case, there was a investigation, but she was not denied access to her file and the DNC was supposed to prevent this sort of thing from recurring again, but did not. Funny how the Clinton campaign incident never made headlines.
Here's the kicker. The DNC, headed by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was so hot to deny the Sanders campaign access to their file, that they were willing to breach their contract to do it. They knew that doing so would cripple the Sanders campaign. That's the other reason why the Sanders Campaign filed suit. According to their contract, the Sanders campaign had 10 days to fix it on their end before any disciplinary action could be taken.
This entire fracas raises serious questions about the neutrality of the DNC. People are starting to wonder why there are only only six sanctioned debates with a penalty for participating in unsanctioned debates. It is also worth noting that Debbie Wasserman Schultz co-chaired Clinton's 2008 campaign. Add in the heavy-handed handling of the data breach and we might wonder if she might still have a horse in this race.