Uh-oh — a firewall on a shared Democratic database that was supposed to separate data from the Democratic campaigns was down for a time on Wednesday, and everyone rushed to poach Martin O’Malley’s voters — all three of them. Not really. Here’s what happened, via Buzzfeed:
The Democratic National Committee has suspended Bernie Sanders’ access to the party’s 50-state voter file in response to a software glitch that allowed the Sanders campaign to access Hillary Clinton’s internal voter data.
The DNC move effectively freezes Sanders’ field organizing program six weeks from the first caucuses and primaries.
The breach occurred on Wednesday, a DNC official confirmed, through the NGP VAN, the leading technology company that allows campaigns to identify voters, as well as monitor their preferences and leanings, in what’s called the 50-state voter file. For a “brief window” — about 30 minutes, an official said — a bug in the software exposed the campaigns’ internal “voter ID” data.
During that period, the Sanders campaign discovered the breach, accessed the Clinton campaign’s data, then called the vendor to point out the flaw, according to the official. The DNC has since cut off Sanders’s access to the voter file — until his campaign officials can “prove” they’ve deleted the Clinton data.
If I were Clinton, I’d call on the DNC to immediately restore the Sanders campaign’s access. There is no point in picking an intramural fight — and no need to if you’re in the catbird seat, which Clinton’s campaign is.
Sanders supporters are blowing up social media with conspiracy theories. I’ll take them seriously when they present some solid evidence.
That said, it’s clear (to me, anyway) that the DNC under chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has functioned as Clinton’s coronation committee since the beginning, so they are partially responsible for stoking the paranoia. They are therefore obligated to demonstrate even-handedness now to restore faith in the process.
ETA: The Sanders staffer who accessed the data was subsequently fired by the Sanders campaign; he is Josh Uretsky, national data director. So this wasn’t some low-level nobody. However, CNN has more on this angle:
Uretsky…told CNN Friday morning that he was not trying to access Clinton voter data.
He said instead that he was just trying to “understand how badly the Sanders campaign’s data was exposed” by the software error.
“We knew there was a security breach in the data, and we were just trying to understand it and what was happening,” Uretsky said.
He added that to the best of his knowledge, “nobody took anything that would have given the (Sanders) campaign any benefit.”