The website has faced criticism for not screening releases for sensitive info
The information opens up bystanders to a range of risks
It’s shaping up to be a new part of the morning routine for DC’s elite: Grab coffee, skim the news and type your name into WikiLeaks to see what damage the day’s hacked emails might hold for you.
And the fallout isn’t just political; it’s personal.
Amid the campaign strategy, snide comments and other headline fodder culled from the hacked accounts of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, and groups including the Democratic National Committee, the emails include the private information of a large number of bystanders, ranging from email addresses to financial data.
“It’s just awful,” said one individual not involved in the campaign who has been caught up in the Podesta hack. The person requested anonymity for the sake of security.
“I’ve had sleepless nights,” the individual continued, “because it’s like, what if I sent him an email saying, ‘My Aunt Sally was here this weekend and she is just terrible?’ Because you say that to your friends, you confide in your friends, and who knows what’s in there of your personal life and your professional life.”
The Clinton campaign has refused to confirm or deny the authenticity of any of the emails and has accused WikiLeaks of working with the Russian government in releasing them. WikiLeaks and the Russians have denied the charge, though US officials have pointed the finger at Moscow for meddling in the US election through cyberattacks.
The website has faced criticism in the past for its tendency not to screen releases for personally identifiable information or security sensitivities, including from famed National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
Now for more than two weeks, WikiLeaks has each day dumped thousands of unredacted emails online and shows no signs of letting up.
Personal data disclosed
In addition to the campaign’s inner workings, the Podesta emails – which go back to the 2008 race – have contained personal email addresses and even cellphone numbers for a wide range of DC personalities, from current and former members of Congress and Cabinet secretaries all the way up to the President himself.
Also included are the vetting documents and resumes of people seeking jobs with the Obama administration and Clinton campaigns, and even communications between Podesta and his students at Georgetown Law. In at least one case, sensitive financial information was contained in the emails published online.
The documents WikiLeaks posted earlier this year that were hacked from the DNC and congressional candidate committees included financial and personal information for hundreds of top donors.