Obviously, the release, coming only 48 hrs before the start of the convention has had a major disruptive influence. As WikiLeaks leader and founder Julian Assange put it in an interview with Richard Engels of NBC News, this email dump is "now up-ending the DNC as we speak." He noted that because of what they call 'Hilary Leaks', “the very top of the Democratic party, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is now being forced to resign.” There is no question that the release of these documents after a long nominating process has been completed, but days before it is to be consummated, has disturbed the Democratic National Convention and given an advantage to Donald Trump.
So when did this hack take place and why is it being released only now? According to WikiLeaks, "The leaks come from the accounts of seven key figures in the DNC" and "cover the period from January last year until 25 May this year." An examination of the dump shows
that the last email from each of the seven accounts was dated May 24th or May 25th:
|Communications Director Luis Miranda (10770 emails)||3014||2016-05-25 00:42:48|
|National Finance Director Jordon Kaplan (3797 emails)||3256||2016-05-25 12:03:21|
|Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer (3095 emails)||19781||2016-05-25 12:48:34|
|Finanace Director of Data Daniel Parrish (1472 emails)||20963||2016-05-25 12:10:00|
|Finance Director Allen Zachary (1611 emails)||3014||2016-05-25 00:42:48|
|Senior Advisor Andrew Wright (938 emails)||16150||2016-05-24 18:55:10|
|N. CA Finance Dir. Robert (Erik) Stowe (751 emails)||17415||2016-05-24 14:02:51|
So there is no question that this data was captured on or after May 25th, and since these are people who use these email accounts every day, it is hard not to conclude that this hack was done before emails on or after May 26th could be captured. It would appear that this data capture, whether by leak or hack, took place on or about May 25th. This raises the very troubling question of just where all these stolen emails have been for almost two months and why only now are they being made public so that they may now affect our body politic.
Imagine the difference it could have made had these hacked emails had been released within a week after the last ones stolen? That would have been before the primaries in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota were held. Bernie Sanders won two of those and Hillary Clinton won four including California. Would she have done as well if these emails were public knowledge then? What if Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been dismissed as DNC chair at the beginning of June instead of now? We very likely would be experiencing a very different Democratic National Convention now. The very timing of the WikiLeaks release shows it was not done to defend democracy but only to further manipulate the process. This release certainly wasn't timed to help Bernie Sanders, it was timed to help Donald Trump.
Julian Assange hasn't just been silent as to the source of these emails. He also hasn't said when WikiLeaks got hold of them. I was one of the independent journalists WikiLeaks granted pre-publication access to for both the Stratfor GI Files and the Syria Files, so I do know that in the past WikiLeaks has held material for quite some time while they and selected 3rd parties vetted and researched the materials before making them public. From what Assange told Engels about this current dump, not that much has changed, "Wikileaks has been doing that for ten years. We're a publishing organization. We get good scoops, we analysis them and them we publish them." In vouching for the material, he said "We verify the material. It is completely accurate and authentic." This also takes time, indicating that WikiLeaks has had this material for some period before releasing it 2 days before the convention.
There is another aspect of the WikiLeaks DNC email dump that is very likely to have partisan results that favor Donald Trump. In the past WikiLeaks has been careful to redact identifying information about those not their targets. Not so in this case. This data dump contains not just the email addresses of its seven targets but the undisguised email addresses of everyone they corresponded with. So in addition to making public the inter-workings of the DNC, WikiLeaks has also made public the private email addresses of hundreds, if not thousands of DNC employees and supporters. This is an open invitation to mischief. The disruptive possibilities of this list of email addresses is enormous. Even if Russian hackers had nothing to do with this email dump, as Assange claims, they will have a lot of fun with this list.