The US political and media elite have warned any journalist who might think of publishing (or even looking at) material potentially hacked from Ukrainian gas firm Burisma that they’re essentially handing 2020’s election to Russia.
Burisma Holdings – the Ukrainian company where Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden’s son Hunter served as a director – has been hacked, cybersecurity firm Area 1 announced on Tuesday. Area 1 has ties to both the NSA and Crowdstrike, the firm behind 2016’s still-unproven “Russian hacking” allegations, and has fingered “Fancy Bear” – the ‘hacking group’ at the center of those allegations – as the culprit.
No files have been released from the “hack,” but that hasn’t stopped American political and media thought leaders from issuing dire warnings to any journalists thinking of publishing or even reading them if they ever are released. To do so would be giving aid and comfort to the enemy – one step above treason – and nothing less than a capital thoughtcrime, these individuals have suggested.
I hope my fellow editors will think hard — really hard, a lot harder than they did in 2016 — before publishing any material hacked by the Russians. https://t.co/k9JEKnCgli
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) January 14, 2020
Daily Beast editor Noah Shachtman put out a notice to his fellow editors warning them to steer clear of any information that could possibly have come from the hack. Since there was no confirmation of any data being copied, planted, or removed in that “hack,” editors might just want to be safe and ignore any negative information that might emerge relating to Biden. Problem solved!
According to Area 1, the Burisma “hack” echoed the setup that brought down Clinton campaign director John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee in 2016 – a phishing scheme in which executives received emails linking to fake login pages and a few hapless dupes fed their passwords to the scammers. Area 1 didn’t share what (if any) data had been accessed or stolen – they merely informed the media that “the timing of the Russian campaign mirrors the GRU hacks we saw in 2016 against the DNC and John Podesta…in what we can only assume is a repeat of Russian interference in the last election.”
Russians appear to be re-running their 2016 hacking playbook, once again to benefit Donald Trump.
Will the media play along again?
Will the GOP open the door again?
Will the Russians help pick our POTUS again? https://t.co/cfVPcqbY5w
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 14, 2020
As if on cue, 2016’s victim-in-chief, former Secretary of State and almost-president Hillary Clinton, leapt into the fray, lamenting that “Russians appear to be re-running their 2016 hacking playbook.” She warned the media against “playing along” by publishing any ‘hacked’ material, lest “the Russians help pick our POTUS again.”
A CNN reporter weighed in, warning “Russia could leak Burisma emails, and slip in some doctored emails, to harm Biden later on, if he is the Democratic nominee.” Russiagate true-believer Malcolm Nance predicted an oddly specific version of the same thing. And MSNBC took that conspiratorial line public, essentially warning Americans to discard any and all leaked emails, lest a few fakes (or deepfakes!) slip by.
MSNBC warning that the Burisma Emails that we’re allegedly hacked by Russia might be Disinformation.
Too bad the entire mainstream media, MSNBC included, fell for the Russian Disinformation in the Steele Dossier and acted as if it was accurate. pic.twitter.com/w1GvhUMKku
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) January 14, 2020
“We are just not clear on what’s real and what’s not anymore,” an ‘expert’ lamented, sounding vaguely panicked.
News of the “hack” follows closely on the heels of anonymous US officials’ claim that “Russian disinformation operations” are targeting Biden – once the surefire Democratic frontrunner, but lately second to Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and even Pete Buttigieg, depending on the poll. The Biden campaign seized on news of the “hack” as proof their candidate was still a force to be reckoned with, making sure to get in a dig at President Donald Trump at the same time in campaign spokesman Andrew Bates’ comment to the New York Times. “Any American president who had not repeatedly encouraged foreign interventions of this kind would immediately condemn this attack on the sovereignty of our elections,” he said, surprising anyone who didn’t realize ‘the sovereignty of our elections’ extends deep into Ukraine.
Also on rt.com
Area 1 specializes in “preemptive cybersecurity,” and asking the entire US news media to ignore any data that might potentially have come from a phishing attack on a Ukrainian energy firm fits that definition rather well. But interfering with freedom of the press in the name of preventing foreign interference means there’s no need for a Russian bogeyman anymore – the political establishment can defeat itself.
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