My Name Came up in a Stolen DNC Email: Here’s Why
The Russian government might have its eye on me.
Last week, after Wikileaks published a cache of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee, I moseyed on over to the site and searched for my name.
I expected to find the handful of emails I exchanged with DNC staffers over the past few months. Most were about columns I was working on, but some were just friendly. As a former Democratic Party flack, I like to check in with friends still in the business from time to time.
To my chagrin, none of those boring emails were shared with the world. In fact, Wikileaks published none of the emails I exchanged with DNC staff during the time frame covered by the dump. And it doesn’t look like my emails were the only ones omitted. A couple of former Bernie Sanders staffers told me they exchanged emails with DNC staffers that were also not released.
You also will not find the kind of mundane interoffice emails announcing new hires, changes to employee benefits, upcoming fire drills or the availability of birthday cake in the lunch room among the 19,252 snatched messages.
My name did pop up in one email sent by a regional press secretary in reply to a researcher who circulated a listed of statements Donald Trump had made about not releasing his taxes.
“FYI Kevin Franck will be writing a column on this in the Boston Herald this week. He is a friend. (Former MA Dems comms director),” the email read.
All of that is true. The sender is a friend of mine, I used to work for the Massachusetts Democratic Party and I wrote a column for the Herald explaining why it was a strategic mistake for Trump to start the general election by refusing to release his taxes.
But why was this email about me included in the stolen emails that were given to Wikileaks, while the emails sent by me and other innocuous notes were clearly culled? Either the people who pinched the emails, or the people who disseminated them chose to release only some of them.
Emails in which DNC staffers show a bias against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, appear to make crude remarks about African-Americans and LGBT people and discuss the courtship of political donors were included. More mundane messages and cooperative correspondence between party staffers and the Sanders campaign were not.
Wikileaks published the purloined passages that were sure to foment dissent among core Democratic Party constituencies just days before the beginning of the Democratic National Convention. If you believe that timing is a coincidence, I have a wall to sell you.
Well-sourced and widespread reporting indicates that Russian state security services lifted these emails — and who knows what else. Vladimir Putin has a fondness for Donald Trump, and Trump has proposed policies that would benefit the Russian strongman.
The content and timing of Wikileaks’ document dump seems designed to have the maximum impact on our presidential election in a way that benefits Trump and hurts Clinton.
Given the amount of misappropriated data, it is unlikely that anyone sorted through the individual emails. It’s a better bet that the robbers used search terms to aggregate the thousands of messages. That would explain the large volume of useless email newsletters from media outlets reporting on the Republican and Democratic primaries. Those emails are available to anyone who subscribes, but they would show up in any keyword search.
But back to the email about me. If someone were only looking for emails that would sow Democratic discord, they would not have come across this one. One the other hand, someone on the lookout for attacks on Trump’s vulnerabilities would have.
It’s Meddling in Foreign Elections 101: Divide the supporters of the candidate you don’t like, and discredit the criticisms of the one you prefer.
I’m easy enough to dismiss as a partisan hack, but the knock on Trump for not releasing his taxes is not going away. And as conservative columnist George Will and others have speculated, Trump’s taxes could very well reveal further evidence of ties between the billionaire buffoon and the Kremlin.