The Nation reviewing challenged DNC hack article

The Nation magazine is reviewing a controversial article questioning the idea that the Democratic National Committee was hacked by Russia-backed groups.

The review comes after cybersecurity experts disputed the technical evidence used in the article. 

A representative from The Nation confirmed that the review began last week and remains underway. 

The article from writer Patrick Lawrence hinges on the idea that internet upload speeds would not be fast enough for a hacker to download the leaked files at a rate implied by an analysis of those files. Lawrence uses the debate over the speeds to argue that the files had to have come from an internal DNC leaker, instead of through a hack.

There were a few problems with the theory, raised in The Hill and elsewhere. 


The article claims that metadata in the files showed hackers downloaded them at 23 megabytes per second, which it says is slower than American internet providers would be able to transmit the documents. Therefore, it reasoned, the documents had to be copied via a USB storage drive by someone with physical access to the network.

But while 23 megabytes is a faster upload speed than most home internet services, it is not faster than the internet services and cloud services used by large business networks. Business networks can purchase speeds up to 125 megabytes a second. 

Experts also noted that, even if the files showed evidence they had been copied to a USB drive, there was no reason to think that happened at the DNC. Instead, one of the hackers might have copied the files to a USB drive to pass them to someone else in their organization. 

The Washington Post reports that writers at The Nation have become concerned with a pro-Moscow tone at the traditionally progressive magazine. 

“I just felt that for some reason, we are too heavily invested in the defense of Putin and all his works,” columnist Katha Pollitt told The Post.

“These are our friends now? The Washington Times, Breitbart, Seth Rich truthers and Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpProgressive group launches M pro-Biden ad buy targeting young voters Ilhan Omar: GOP response to calls for police reform 'was vicious' White House considers sweeping travel ban on members, families of the Chinese Communist Party: report MORE Jr.? Give me a break. It’s very upsetting to me. It’s embarrassing.”