The week before Hillary Clinton is expected to become the Democratic presidential candidate, WikiLeaks has published over 19,000 emails it says come from seven top Democratic National Committee figures. Among them are hundreds of messages that appear to hold personal information about donors, all part of what WikiLeaks calls an ongoing series of "Hillary Leaks."
WikiLeaks announced the new database in a tweet, with the hashtags #Hillary2016 and #feelthebern. It includes 19,252 emails with 8,034 attachments, the bulk of the emails apparently from DNC communications director Luis Miranda. The messages run from January of 2015 to May of 2016. While they cover a range of topics, many are confirmation emails covering donations from party members, and in addition to full names, addresses, and phone numbers, some include passport and social security numbers. Gizmodo notes that there are also credit card payment details, including card numbers.
While the last cache of Clinton-related emails WikiLeaks published were made publicly available by the State Department, these messages seem to come from a DNC network compromise that was reported earlier this year. The organization said in June that Russian hackers had broken into its servers, gaining access to email and chat logs dating back to 2015. Shortly thereafter, a hacker known as Guccifer 2.0 — supposedly based in Romania — claimed responsibility. Although the DNC had denied that hackers got access to financial and donor information, Gawker posted evidence that spreadsheets of donors had in fact been taken. A WordPress blog seemingly run by Guccifer then posted several troves of unredacted data, including oppositional research on Donald Trump.
As Gizmodo points out, WikiLeaks has long adhered to a policy of directly posting leaked information without redacting it, setting it apart from someone like whistleblower Edward Snowden, who vetted material before release to minimize collateral damage. And even for available information like the State Department email dump, WikiLeaks’ high profile and searchable database raises its visibility— which, depending on the contents, is a double-edged sword.
In this case, the emails’ larger import is still being figured out. The Intercept has covered messages that potentially show the DNC discussing using presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ religious beliefs against his campaign, and WikiLeaks pointed to an email discussing an anti-Trump campaign that apparently involved planting satirical Craigslist ads based on offensive comments Trump had made about women. But any revelations, it seems, will be balanced against potential risk to donors.
Update 4:30PM ET: Updated with new information from Gizmodo.