Reports: Sanders Staffers Downloaded Key Data (Update #4)
December 18, 2015

It's good that Bernie Sanders dispatched the staffers responsible for exploiting an open hole in the DNC database right away, because it shows the campaign is serious about not tolerating this kind of action.


Sanders’ campaign has sought to downplay the severity of the incident, initially saying that only a single “low-level” staffer accessed the Clinton data and that none of it was saved. But the database's logs created by the vendor that manages the data, NGP VAN, shows that four accounts associated with the Sanders team took advantage of the Wednesday morning breach. Staffers conducted searches that would be especially advantageous to the campaign, including lists of its likeliest supporters in 10 early voting states, including Iowa and New Hampshire.


After one Sanders account gained access to the Clinton data, the audits show, that user began sharing permissions with other Sanders users. The staffers who secured access to the Clinton data included national data director Josh Uretsky, who was fired on Thursday, and his deputy, Russell Drapkin. The two other usernames that viewed Clinton information were “talani" and "csmith_bernie," created by Uretsky's account after the breach began.

Though the Sanders campaign initially claimed that it had not saved Clinton data, the logs show that the Vermont senator’s team created at least 24 lists during the 40-minute breach, which started at 10:40 a.m., and saved those lists to their personal folders. The Sanders searches included New Hampshire lists related to older voters, "HFA Turnout 60-100" and "HFA Support 50-100," that were conducted and saved by Uretsky. Drapkin's account searched for and saved lists including "HFA Support <30" in Iowa and "HFA Turnout 30-70"' in New Hampshire.

Uretsky told CNN on Friday that he probed the Clinton data to get a sense of the full extent of the problem, but the breach was reported to NGP VAN by a third party, not by the Sanders campaign, a source familiar with the investigation said. "We knew there was a security breach in the data, and we were just trying to understand it and what was happening," he said. "To the best of my knowledge, nobody took anything that would have given the (Sanders) campaign any benefit."

I understand how something like this could happen, just from a tech standpoint and also from a "fog of war" standpoint. Those were the soldiers in the trenches, and what looked like an early visit from data Santa fell into their laps. I get that.

But as I said, it's also good that they were fired.

Update: The fight is on between Sanders' campaign and the DNC. Threats of lawsuits and more serious allegations are now flying back and forth. I hope it's resolved before tomorrow night's debate, or it will be bitter and ugly..

Strike that. It's already bitter and ugly. We liberals seem to be experts at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Update: Josh Uretsky insists they downloaded the files to prove there was a breach.

In a phone interview, Josh Uretsky told MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki that the Sanders staffers “wanted to document and understand the scope of the problem so that we could report it accurately.” Uretsky was fired Friday after news of the breach broke.

He said that he and other staffers accused of accessing the confidential information “knew that what we were doing was trackable” and they did not “use it for anything valuable.”

Update #3:

Update #4:

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