back to article Hacker chancer looking for $500,000 after offering Clinton emails for auction

A hacker, claiming to be in possession of former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's secret emails, plans to auction them off, hoping to make at least $500,000 from the sale. The unnamed “computer specialist” told US-based entertainment publication RadarOnline that 32,000 emails from Clinton's private server are on offer …

  1. Bob Dole (tm)
    Pirate

    leaks..

    I actually hope the hacker has the emails. I also hope that they are all 100% leaked to the public.

    The only reason for Hillary to have her own email server was to try and protect those emails from legal disclosure. Seriously in today's day and age why would you bother with your own mail server? It costs far more and you get far less service than going with the big guys while simultaneously increasing risk in case of problems -- such as a drive failure.

    The Clinton's have shown that they love the power, they just don't want to play by the same rules they expect everyone else to. Which, now that I think about it, pretty much sums up every US President in recent memory.

    So, release the emails so we can all forget about this and get on with the process of electing the absolute worst person to the job of leader of the free world.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: leaks..

      Mwah. I'm not sure what the motives were, but there are only two questions to be answered:

      1 - how clearly are politicians informed of the rules, and is there a way in which this can be verified?

      2 - how is it possible that nobody in government IT reacted to this in time? Is there no central place, nobody responsible for keeping things proper?

      Now, given the copious reports of hacking of US gov departments I'd venture that Hillary Clinton's emails were probably safer than when hosted on approved government services, but that's no defence if there is a reasonable chance she was aware of requirements, especially in the light of apparently mandatory disclosure - if that is a requirement than Hillary Clinton should not try to fight this (although - can't they have personal email protected? Strikes me as a risk to politicians if personal details are to be disclosed).

      I am, however, loath to assume malice over stupidity. After all, she IS a politician.. At least she didn't pull a Sarah Palin and trusted Yahoo with it - as far as I can tell there must be a giant hole somewhere in that service (plenty of friends seem to have had their address book used for spam).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: leaks..

        "...how clearly are politicians informed of the rules..."

        Fully.

        Security consultant John Schindler hit the nail on the head with an Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times a couple of weeks ago.

        http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-schindler-emailgate-20150825-story.html

        To handle classified information in the US, even politicians have to undergo training on handling classified info. (And yes, I have first hand experience handling classified info.)

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: leaks..

          To handle classified information in the US, even politicians have to undergo training on handling classified info. (And yes, I have first hand experience handling classified info.)

          But the penalties are less severe than for those of us who are worker bees. CongressCritters have leaked "secret" information quite often without anyone ever even investigating.

    2. Camilla Smythe

      Re: leaks..

      "Seriously in today's day and age why would you bother with your own mail server? It costs far more and you get far less service than going with the big guys while simultaneously increasing risk in case of problems -- such as a drive failure."

      Eh?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Electing the absolute worst person"

      Are you talking about Hillary, or Trump? Or someone yet to enter the race like Biden or Palin?

    4. Eric Olson

      Re: leaks..

      So, the reality is that private email servers are okay for government business and at least initially was approved by the audit team to oversees the State Department. Sure, they might have been kowtowing to the new boss, but there is precedent for this from previous government agencies. They are still subject to Freedom of Information requests, though I guess reporters need to know it exists. The idea that this was "private" only meant it was housed outside of the government's infrastructure, not that it was unknown, hidden, or anything like that.

      To this point, some of the reviewed emails that at the time were not secret or classified were later reclassified by whatever apparatus is in charge of that, so it's kind of an after-the-fact game of gotcha. And even then, the State Department is contesting some of the after-the-fact classifications. Telling was an exchange between Clinton and a staffer to get her an official transcript of a public speech, and the system the transcript was on had it labelled as confidential so he couldn't send it to her on her mobile device. Another email that was later classified as confidential and completely redacted on release seems to be a draft version of a speech she gave, which is just weird.

      That's not to say that more discretion shouldn't have been used. And some of the things that came through came from officials overseas, meaning that she should have known that some day, something might be classified after-the-fact. But the reality is that a lot of this is hindsight classification, and the government does have groups that will classify the name of the security guard that the President said, "Hi," to in passing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: leaks..

        FWIW, apparently the Whitehouse gave an AOK as well. I don't like her. I certainly don't like her politics. However, this looks entirely like the Gen. Petreus "scandal" again. Why mess with a recipe that works.

    5. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: leaks..

      I suspect several countries (Russia, China, India,...) could provide all of Hildabeast's emails including the ones she deleted. If these are real, how did he get them would be an interesting story.

    6. John__Smith

      Re: leaks..

      Agreed!

    7. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: leaks..

      It wasn't "this day and age", it was "that day and age". We tend to take progress for granted, its difficult to think back to a time when we couldn't get decent mail traffic into a phone even though that time was only a relatively few years ago.

      Although, owning physical server hardware doesn't make a lot of sense unless you can't trust an ISP to keep your confidential material secure (but then, what's confidential about email anyway?).

      The fuss about emails is really fallout from numerous Congressional inquiries into Benghazi, none of which turned up anything substantive. Whatever you think of the Clintons politically what's been going on is a full on witch hunt -- its as if people like Darryl Issa just can't give it a rest and take up doing something real for the nation, they just want to keep tilting at that particular windmill just in case something turns up eventually. (All they're really doing is feeding a giant conspiracy theory machine, doing harm to our nation and society in the process, just to further their personal ambitions.)

  2. PleebSmash
    Black Helicopters

    hassle hustle

    Even if the emails were legitimate, any news outlet that bought them would be in for a lot of hassle dealing with potential legal wrangling with the feds. And for what? Is the email about the gefilte fish included?

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Let's work this one out.

    He claims to have the emails.

    He can't have got them legitimately.

    Therefore he's claiming to be a crook.

    So anybody trying to buy them would be offering half a meeelion to a self-advertised crook.

    I can see that working out well.

    1. BillG
      Angel

      The thing is, if the emails contain anything juicy, or incriminating, no one will care where they come from, especially if it's during a slow news cycle. And if they were obtained illegally that's just icing on the cake.

      I CAN see that working out well.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "I CAN see that working out well."

        So you'd be prepared to hand out a large wodge of your own cash to someone who's declared himself a crook?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "So you'd be prepared to hand out a large wodge of your own cash to someone who's declared himself a crook?"

          And how is that different than donating to any declared political candidate?

  4. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    Political comment (sorry)

    I hate politics in general, and to me the whole election process in the US of A is like a marketing-driven colonoscopy without the flavor crystals (and/or proper anesthesia), but I am seriously worried about the next 4 years after Obama leaves, say what you will about him.

    The front-runner on the Republican side is a delusional megalomaniac with zero emotional maturity and the shriveled soul of an Everglades land developer, while the Democrats are offering a shark that lacks common sense and integrity IMHO. Not as bad as Sarah Palin was, but still frightening.

    These are our choices currently and it's like picking between having explosive diarrhea during a critical job interview or waking up to the smoke alarms in your home going off.

    1. Matt Siddall

      Re: Political comment (sorry)

      Sorry mate, not sure how else to tell you this, but I never got any flavour crystals or anaesthesia...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uh oh..

    Someone offering stolen goods which have political implications.

    If he manages to get some cash for it, I suspect it won't be for long. There are some things you shouldn't play with, even if it's pretend.

    1. frank ly

      Re: Uh oh..

      Yes indeed. He'll have three TLAs looking for him. They'll probably be in competition with each other instead of cooperating though.

      1. PleebSmash

        Re: Uh oh..

        Maybe they'll make him a job offer.

  6. IglooDude

    Meanwhile, the actual installer/administrator has declined to answer questions on the grounds that the answers may tend to incriminate him.

    http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/09/03/437193853/former-clinton-aide-who-built-private-email-server-pleads-the-5th

    Every couple weeks, usually associated with some major chunk of automation going down, I sit back and just think that my job might be occasionally suckacious, but at least I haven't gotten a few hundred flights grounded (or some similar newsworthy level of impact). Having to go in front of a Congressional committee and answer questions (or worse, NOT answer questions) about a mail server install is pretty freaking high on that "I'm happy I don't have THAT job" list.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If they are legitimate

    It seems more likely he got them from somewhere else than Clinton's server, like from one of the ever growing list of people who have access to them due to being involved in some aspect of the many 'investigations' into this.

    If he hacked her actual server it would have had to have been a long time ago since it was shut down a while back. Why would he had held onto these emails for all this time? He certainly couldn't have known it was going to garner this much publicity.

    Besides, blackmail would seem to work best when no one but the victim knows about it. A half million for the Clintons is nothing - that's a couple speeches. Making a public demand he's going to have the FBI on his ass, and it is essentially impossible for him to collect - or for Clinton to want to pay him off since he could easily be a conservative plant hoping to make her look bad by being caught trying to pay off a hacker to silence him.

    I'd guess there's about a 5% he actually has them, and about a 0.05% chance he actually got them off her server but waited this long to try blackmail...

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: If they are legitimate

      That all depends... it could be that this person despises the Clintons and managed to grab them early on, and then held onto them as "insurance". Maybe trying to derail a political campaign. IF it was early on, there's the possibility they have the so-called "deleted" emails. Those would be the gold mine no matter how stupid they are. For all anyone knows, they were spam.

  8. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Meanwhile in DC

    The GOP are partying. Their only hope of getting a Republican into the White House is for the whole Democratic party to be tarred by the Clinton brush.

    They failed to get Bill impeached so nailing Hilliary is their next shot.

    Taking down HC is a great way to get lots of campaign $$$$$

    HC is the Democratic front runner. The GOP candidates are ..... Well Donald 'Toupee' Trump and a few others.

    Over here? Well, the self destruction of the Labor Party is small fry in comparison.

    1. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile in DC

      Indeed. Our US election campaigns, besides being enormously long and well-funded, are quite entertaining as well. The downside is that one of the candidates is quite likely to be elected.

    2. Zog_but_not_the_first
      Headmaster

      Re: Meanwhile in DC

      Over here? Well, the self destruction renewal of the Labor Labour Party is small fry in comparison the one to watch.

      FTFY

    3. Eric Olson

      Re: Meanwhile in DC

      Given the cast of misfits that have overrun the primary process for Republicans, the serious folks are being drowned out. For the sake of the nation, we can only hope that the idiots flame out and leave the handful for a legitimate primary to see who can actually win.

      The problem for them is that the reality is that H. Clinton was never going to win many self-identified Republicans or conservatives, and those who claim to be independent tend to have a spotty voting history (they often stay home, making them hard to count on). Politics in the US has moved to the edges, where the primary is about mobilizing your slice of the ideological base and outlasting everyone else while raising gobs of cash, and the general election is less about appealing to the center and more about mobilizing the rest of your ideological base to turn out. Couple that with the Electoral College that leaves only a handful of states in the crosshairs of the candidates, and you end up with a situation where these kinds of events actually have little bearing.

      We used to joke that even if the donkey ran, my grandfather would vote for it. Well, the reality is that whoever wins the primary for each party is going to start off with 190+ electoral votes, and they only need to figure out the path to victory to get the remaining 79 electoral votes from about thirteen states. The rest of the country doesn't matter, and the candidate doesn't even really matter. It's so polarized, the only thing that keeps it going completely haywire is that there are requirements for the job (35 or older, natural born citizen, haven't already served 2 terms as president, and.... that might be it?)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meanwhile in DC

      Bernie Sanders is clean.

      - El Reg Post Paid for by Bernie Sanders

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    U.S. Politics

    maybe he's hoping that with all the money sloshing around trying to buy the presidency someone will think it's worth half a mill to embarrass Hilary.

  10. Grandpa Tom

    With all the IT people reading this thread I wonder why no one has asked about the backup tapes for the server. I'm sure that there are takes squirreled away in some secure off site location. The company that managed the server must have made such a provision.

    Wonder if that is where the hacker found all those emails.

  11. Tubz

    Put her behind bars !

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