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Are DNC insiders weaponizing ‘election security’ to seize control of 2020 primaries behind the smokescreen of Russiagate paranoia?

Helen Buyniski
Helen Buyniski

is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23

is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23

Are DNC insiders weaponizing ‘election security’ to seize control of 2020 primaries behind the smokescreen of Russiagate paranoia?
Google and a dodgy “election security” nonprofit are reaching out to Democratic campaigns with free security tools, even offering to activate them. After the Iowa debacle, campaigns should be wary of DNC insiders bearing gifts.

Election security nonprofit Defending Digital Campaigns (DDC) has partnered with Google to offer free Titan security keys to Democratic presidential campaigns. Not only will these benevolent guardians of the democratic process let the candidates have the keys, part of Google’s Advanced Protection security program, free of charge - they’ll even install and activate the new security systems themselves! What could go wrong?

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Candidates would be wise to think twice about accepting the seemingly-generous offer, or any other “free election security” bait, especially after the disaster of the Iowa caucuses. That vote collapsed not because of a foreign hack, but because Shadow Inc., an organization staffed almost entirely by former Hillary Clinton operatives, sold Iowa Democrats a difficult-to-use app that mangled vote counts. While Shadow was supposedly “vetted for cybersecurity and technical considerations” by “third-party experts,” many of the security “experts” peddling their services to the Democrats are veterans of the same Clinton and Obama campaigns as Shadow’s staff. And of course the 2020 Democratic National Committee, which insisted Iowa use an app to report results instead of calling them in by phone for security reasons, is positively bristling with insiders left over from 2016. 

Defending Digital Democracy, the “security experts” Iowa Democrats were already paying to train volunteers in electoral “worst case scenarios,” is - unsurprisingly, given the name - run by the same Clinton and Romney staffers who sit on Defending Digital Campaigns’ board, Robby Mook and Matt Rhoades. Founded by former Obama Pentagon Chief of Staff Eric Rosenbach and advised by top Clinton lawyer Marc Elias, DDD has been “protecting” elections with the help of CrowdStrike founder (and Russiagate Patient Zero) Dmitri Alperovich since 2017. The Fear of Russian Meddling industry appears to be one big happy family, none of whom, it seems, have ever heard of paper ballots - one sure-fire way to avoid outside interference in an election.

The links between the various groups are extensive and complex enough to fill several articles, but looking at their financial backers is instructive. Shadow and DDC were both bankrolled by LinkedIn co-founders - Reid Hoffman provided the startup capital for Shadow’s parent corporation Acronym, while DDC’s treasurer and largest donor is Allen Blue. Hoffman also provided the financing for “disinformation experts” New Knowledge’s phony Russian bot operation in Alabama in 2017, which - if its own numbers are to be believed - handed the traditionally-red state’s open Senate seat to Democrat Doug Jones by weaponizing fear of Russian meddling.

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There’s no stronger proof that all this “election security” talk is mere pageantry than in the DNC’s appointment of former Clinton campaign director John Podesta to the 2020 convention’s Rules Committee. Podesta has no business being anywhere near election security - it was his inability to recognize “phishing” that led to the Clinton campaign’s emails being spread all over the internet by Wikileaks in the runup to the 2016 election. Podesta, like Mook, has been aggressively pushing the threat of Russian election interference ever since, absent a shred of proof that the dreaded “meddling” is coming from anywhere but inside the country.

Some naive individuals might question whether party insiders would really try to steal another primary after the catastrophe of 2016 handed Trump his victory. But those responsible for that trainwreck were never punished, defending themselves in court with the rationale that party bylaws allowed them to pick candidates in smoke-filled rooms should they so desire. Moreover, nothing has come of the revelation former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign paid $40,000 to Shadow before the company’s app nearly handed him victory in Iowa, or that parent company Acronym’s CEO is happily married to a Buttigieg staffer. Worse, last week it emerged that Buttigieg staffer Emily Goldman has signed on to the Nevada Democratic Party as “voter protection director” - a full-time position - now that Nevada has dropped the Shadow app for its own caucus.

Yet calls for DNC chair Tom Perez to resign, motivated by all these scandals and more, have fallen on deaf ears. Knowledge of the metastasizing conflicts of interest within the party has merely circulated on social media to the point where few in its progressive wing believe a fair election is possible. Inviting Google - which was 100 percent in the bag for Clinton in 2016, according to whistleblowers and researchers alike - and yet another Russia-obsessed, insider-heavy “election security” group to install free “protection” in one’s campaign infrastructure is inviting the local foxes to install security for one’s shiny new henhouse. Unless a candidate is secure in being the establishment’s pick, they would be wise to leave this Trojan horse outside the gates.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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