The Macron Strategy That Outsmarted Wikileaks And The Alt Right
Christopher Dickey outlines how in the last hours before midnight on Friday, just before a campaigning blackout imposed by French electoral law in anticipation of the crucial vote on Sunday, somebody dumped nine gigabytes of emails and documents supposedly purloined from the campaign of leading presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron. It looked like, and almost certainly was, a last-minute bid to tip the scales in favor of the centrist Macron’s opponent, the nativist, populist Marine Le Pen. It looked like a re-run of the American experience.
Literally at the 11th hour, before the blackout would silence it, the Macron campaign issued a statement saying it had been hacked and many of the documents that were dumped on the American 4Chan site and re-posted by Wikileaks were fakes. Wikileaks jumped on the document dump, but didn’t seem to be familiar with the material in it. Responding to the Macron statement that some of the items were bogus, Wikileaks tweeted, “We have not yet discovered fakes in #MacronLeaks & we are very skeptical that the Macron campaign is faster than us.”
Along with Twitter, 4chan’s campaign was picked up by forums on 8chan and Reddit; “alt-right” fringe outlets The Gateway Pundit, Got News, Zero Hedge, and Daily Stormer; and fake news purveyor Before It’s News. However, it seems part of the Macron campaign strategy against hackers was to sign on to the phishing pages and plant bogus information.
“You can flood these [phishing] addresses with multiple passwords and log-ins, true ones, false ones, so the people behind them use up a lot of time trying to figure them out,” Mounir Mahjoubi, the head of Macron’s digital team, told The Daily Beast for its earlier article on this subject. Twitter, per usual, provides us with even more insight.
@RVAwonk The campaign was aware of at least 5 previous hacking attempts over a period of months. This should start to become a common strategy.
— Elliott Lusztig (@ezlusztig) May 7, 2017
Probably the most important thing to result from this is not the election win, but the damage to Wikileaks. The 100% accuracy in reporting they and their supporters have lived by is now over.