Donna Brazile says it broke her heart to have to tell Bernie Sanders 'the truth'

Former interim DNC chief's book focuses on historic cyber-espionage campaign

By Michael Putney - Senior Political Reporter , Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

MIAMI - Donna Brazile, who was in South Florida this past week for the Miami Book Fair, said it broke her heart to have to call Bernie Sanders Sept. 7, 2016 to tell him that Hillary Clinton's campaign had an unethical advantage during the process of selecting the Democratic presidential nominee. 

During an interview with Michael Putney of "This Week in South Florida," which aired Sunday morning, she said it upset her to learn that there was a joint fundraising agreement between the Clinton campaign and the staff of the Democratic National Committee.

"And to give control, is like you are the homeowner, but you just gave away your basement, your attic and your garage," the former interim DNC chief said. "That's giving one campaign unfair advantage to take over the house."

Brazile's new tell-all book -- "Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House" -- focuses on the challenges she faced while juggling the discovery that Russian  hackers had breached a DNC server carrying critical data and her frustration with Clinton's campaign.  

"The intruders had been sitting in our voter data files for months," Brazile wrote, adding that the hackers hounded the Democratic Party into the final days of the 2016 election.

Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike revealed the breach  in June 2016. There was malicious software on a backup server code-named Raider.  Brazile said the hackers didn't just copy voter data files, but they "also could have manipulated what was there" and "essentially had the keys to our whole digital kingdom."

Brazile also confirms there was a team of Silicon Valley "white hat" hackers who set up shop at the DNC to help with security, but she didn't identify them. She also shares details about the paranoia that took over the DNC and how nearly $2 million were spent to remediate the damage. 

 Mike Murray, who identified himself as  one of the volunteers, is vice president of intelligence for the mobile security firm Lookout. He told The Associated Press that he believed the culprit was Fancy Bear, a cyber espionage group that CrowdStrike reported was associated with a Russian military intelligence agency. 

Brazile, who was Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign manager, also described her dysfunctional relationship with Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook. She wrote about how their contentious exchanges often descended into shouting matches peppered with expletives. 

"The truth was that no matter how much noise I made, my thoughts were irrelevant to them," Brazile said. 

Brazile replaced Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz after the hack. She said she gives Wasserman Schultz "some tough love in the book" because she should have known what was going on. Brazile said she should have known about the financial agreements' fundraising approach and about the hacking long before it went public. 

"At a time when the party is hemorrhaging money and you are broke, you need to figure out ways to cut the budget," Brazile said, adding that Wasserman Schultz allowed consultants, who didn't show up in the office, to earn about $25,000 a month. 

Brazile's book raises questions about the U.S. political system's flaws that she believes distorted the democratic process and paved the way for the then-Republican nominee Donald Trump to become president. She has said her hope is to make sure that the Democrats learn from their experience to win the White House back  in 2020.

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