Kurt Eichenwald writes: I am Sidney Blumenthal. At least, that is what Vladimir Putin — and, somehow, Donald Trump — seem to believe. And that should raise concerns about not only Moscow’s attempts to manipulate this election but also how Trump came to push Russian disinformation to American voters.
An email from Blumenthal — a confidant of Hillary Clinton and a man, second only to George Soros, at the center of conservative conspiracy theories — turned up in the recent document dump by WikiLeaks. At a time when American intelligence believes Russian hackers are trying to interfere with the presidential election, records have been fed recently to WikiLeaks out of multiple organizations of the Democratic Party, raising concerns that the self-proclaimed whistleblower group has become a tool of Putin’s government. But now that I have been brought into the whole mess — and transformed into Blumenthal — there is even more proof that the Russians are not only orchestrating this act of cyberwar but also really, really dumb.
The evidence emerged thanks to the incompetence of Sputnik, the Russian online news and radio service established by the government-controlled news agency, Rossiya Segodnya.
The documents that WikiLeaks has unloaded recently have been emails out of the account of John Podesta, the chairman of Clinton’s election campaign. Almost as soon as the pilfered documents emerged, Sputnik was all over them and rapidly found (or probably already knew about before the WikiLeaks dump) a purportedly incriminating email from Blumenthal.
The email was amazing — it linked Boogie Man Blumenthal, Podesta and the topic of conservative political fever dreams, Benghazi. This, it seemed, was the smoking gun finally proving Clinton bore total responsibility for the attack on the American outpost in Libya in 2012. Sputnik even declared that the email might be the “October surprise” that could undermine Clinton’s campaign. [Continue reading…]