Archive

Archive for May 6, 2017

Some More Thoughts about Macron Leaks: May 6, 2017

May 6, 2017 14 comments

In my previous post on this topic, I wrote about some oddities concerning ‘MacronLeaks’. To recap, the main point I made towards the end of that post concerned the most peculiar timing of their release. As many of you might have heard, releasing them so late in an election superficially reeks of bad timing- especially when Macron looks like the favorite to win this election. Also, releasing it so close to the date and even time of legally enforced election silence in France seems a bit odd- especially since it carries the small risk of making that asshole look sympathetic.

So what is going on? Who is behind the leak? What is their likely calculation and motivation? And most importantly, who benefits from such a leak?

As I have said in many previous posts on similar topics, there are two paths to analyse such events. You can look at such events as part of some elaborate, choreographed and large-scale conspiracy OR you can see them as marginally interconnected scams perpetrated by conmen of average intelligence. I find the later path usually provides a far more accurate and realistic explanation for such events and occurrences. Explanations based on 11th dimensional chess moves are almost always wrong, while those based in human arrogance, greed, stupidity and hubris always turn out to be correct.

Having said that, let us look at the most likely parties involved in these leaks and their motivations- in no particular order of likelihood.

Possibility #1: Macron’s camp leaked those emails and other associated materials to make him look more sympathetic and increase electoral turnout for him.

The idea that Macron’s staff leaked those communications might, at first sight, seem odd. However they had the ability and motive to do it. The ability part is self-explanatory but the motive part might seem a bit confusing, especially since most polls show Macron winning the upcoming french presidential election. However, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that somebody in the Macron camp had the bright idea that doing so might make him look more sympathetic and perhaps increase turnout for people who would vote for him.

History is replete with instances of campaign managers and underlings with such “bright” and usually disastrous ideas. You might remember that Robby Mook decided that HRC should not campaign in states such as Michigan and Wisconsin during the 2016 presidential in USA because it might give Trump the idea that they were not so strong in those two states. You might also remember how Donna Brazile screwed up Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign even more than that centrist hack could have done by himself.

Possibility #2: Somebody from within the old establishment of one of the two major political parties in France decided to teach Macron a lesson.

Macron’s rise in the french political scene has made him many enemies, both with the Socialist Party and Republicans. It is within the realm of possibility that somebody loyal to the establishment of one of the two was part of his campaign or has access to the leaked materials. While such an actions might look rather petty and vindictive to most people, it is squarely within what is considered acceptable behavior within the political sphere of any country. This is especially so since elections for the french national assembly occur just over a month from now.

Perhaps this is a case of settling old political scores or hobbling Macron after he assumes office and has to work with the newly elected National Assembly. Maybe this leak could be a warning shot from the old establishment to keep them happy after election. Or it is a quick glimpse into the dirt others in the french political establishment have on him. As I said before, this particular possibility is feasible as well as within the range of acceptable political intrigue.

Possibility #3: A state or non-state actor external to France decided to screw over Macron by releasing these leaks.

While this is the most popular possibility at this moment, I am not sure that it is the most likely. I mean.. sure, hackers employed by the Russian government could certainly hack into Macron’s emails and leak them to the world. But what is in it for them, given that polls show Macron having a significant lead over Le Pen. What would a leak released so late in the electoral campaign achieve? Especially since whoever obtained it had it for over a month before releasing it. To put it another way, if the “Russians” wanted to smear Macron they would (and could) have released this leak a few weeks ago when it would have caused more damage to his campaign. A more likely possibility is that countries such as USA or Ukraine hacked into Macron’s email and are leaking them to smear Russia.

We cannot also discount non-state hackers, either truly independent or partially allied with some country, hacking into those emails and releasing them- just for the lulz. Indeed, that is by far the most likely scenario if those leaks are due to actual hacking as opposed to some hare-brained campaign idea or internal french political intrigue. The timing of their release is however rather odd, since the only way they can really hurt Macron is by depressing voter turnout for him. It is an open secret in France that many who voted for Macron in the 1st round of election did so out of considerations of social respectability rather than agreeing with his policies. In other words, his support among the electorate is usually fragile. Perhaps the hackers know this and are using these leaks to reduce electoral turnout for him.

What do you think? Comments?