An expert says we won't have to wait until October for an election-changing surprise

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Is Russia Behind the DNC Hack?

A well-respected author, who has been called the "premier futurist in the national security environment" by The Wall Street Journal, thinks that we won't have to wait too much longer for an "October Surprise" that could have major implications for the presidential election.

"I don't think we're going to have to wait until October," Dr. Peter Singer, a strategist at the think tank New America and the author of "Ghost Fleet," told Business Insider. "There's clearly more to come."

Singer spoke with Business Insider about the ongoing leaks from the massive hack into the Democratic National Committee by two different Russia-linked hacker groups. A hacker calling himself "Guccifer 2.0" initially posted an opposition research file on Donald Trump before moving on to embarrassing emails within the DNC and personal-contact information for House Democrats.

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UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 11: Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., attends a news conference at the DNC where members of the Congressional Black Caucus PAC endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, February 11, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Representative James Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, speaks during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Thursday, July 28, 2016. Division among Democrats has been overcome through speeches from two presidents, another first lady and a vice-president, who raised the stakes for their candidate by warning that her opponent posed an unprecedented threat to American diplomacy. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - JUNE 29: Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., attends a rally with lawmakers and gun violence victims to call for action on gun safety measures on the steps of the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Baltimore, Md., June 29, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MAY 16: Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., speaks at a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on the Smith-Amash Amendment to the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act that would 'prevent the indefinite detention of and use of military custody for individuals detained on U.S. soil - including U.S. citizens - and ensure access to due process and the federal court system, as the Constitution provides.' (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 21: Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., speaks with a reporter at the Senate subway on Tuesday, July 21, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
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Many in the Democratic Party are fearing the release of documents that could be much worse.

Whether more released documents change the election or not, Singer contended that we've seen this type of thing play out in the past — Russia meddling in an election — with the intended goal not always being to change who wins, but instead to sow doubt in the electorate.

In 2014, Russia-linked hackers attacked the computers of Ukraine's central election as votes were being cast. In one incident, they used a virus that would declare the far-right — and pro-Russian — candidate the victor, even though he got only 1% of the vote. Russian state TV almost immediately declared him the winner.

So perhaps the election won't be hacked, but the information surrounding it will seem tainted and untrustworthy to people.

"That's where this latest Trump track of 'the polls are false, if I lose it's been stolen' — it's laying the groundwork for a narrative that we can see coming," Singer said. "The idea is to cast illegitimacy on an election."

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NSA former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden is seen via live video link from Russia on a computer screen during a parliamentary hearing on the subject of 'Improving the protection of whistleblowers', on June 23, 2015, at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Snowden, who has been granted asylum in Russia, is being sought by Washington which has branded him a hacker and a traitor who endangered lives by revealing the extent of the NSA spying program. AFP PHOTO / FREDERICK FLORIN (Photo credit should read FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) prepares to do a live interview with FOX News in the Russell Senate Office Building rotunda on Capitol Hill June 1, 2015 in Washington, DC. In protest of the National Security Agency's sweeping program to collect U.S. citizens' telephone metadata, Paul blocked an extension of some parts of the USA PATRIOT Act, allowing them to lapse at 12:01 a.m. Monday. The Senate will continue to work to restore the lapsed authorities by amending a House version of the bill and getting it to President Obama later this week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) does a live interview with FOX News in the Russell Senate Office Building rotunda on Capitol Hill June 1, 2015 in Washington, DC. In protest of the National Security Agency's sweeping program to collect U.S. citizens' telephone metadata, Paul blocked an extension of some parts of the USA PATRIOT Act, allowing them to lapse at 12:01 a.m. Monday. The Senate will continue to work to restore the lapsed authorities by amending a House version of the bill and getting it to President Obama later this week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 31: The U.S. Capitol is illuminated at dusk, May 31, 2015 in Washington, DC. The National Security Agency's authority to collect bulk telephone data is set to expire June 1, unless the Senate can come to an agreement to extend the surveillance programs. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 4: Larry Klayman (C), of the political advocacy group Freedom Watch, holds a news conference with Charles Strange (L) and Mary Ann Strange on the steps of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit November 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Stranges, who joined the class action lawsuit, allege that their phones were tapped when they began questioning the circumstances around the death of their son, a Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan in 2011. The DC Circuit Court held an oral argument over the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 4: Larry Klayman (2R), of the political advocacy group Freedom Watch, ends a news conference with Charles Strange (2L) and Mary Ann Strange (C) on the steps of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit November 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Stranges, who joined the class action lawsuit, allege that their phones were tapped when they began questioning the circumstances around the death of their son, a Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan in 2011. The DC Circuit Court held an oral argument over the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 12: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) arrives in front of U.S. District Court to announce the filing of a class action lawsuit against the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander and FBI Director James Comey. Paul said he filed the lawsuit to stop NSA surveillance of U.S. phone records because Obama has Òpublicly refused to stop a clear and continuing violation of the 4th amendment.Ó (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 4: (L -R) Freedom Watch representatives Brandon Wheatley, Dina James and Larry Klayman talk outside of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit November 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. The DC Circuit Court held an oral argument over the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: Admiral Michael Rogers, commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, speaks at George Washington University May 11, 2015 in Washington, DC. The George Washington University's Center for Cyber and Homeland Security held a discussion on the state of cybersecurity threats to the United States. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: Admiral Michael Rogers, commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, speaks at George Washington University May 11, 2015 in Washington, DC. The George Washington University's Center for Cyber and Homeland Security held a discussion on the state of cybersecurity threats to the United States. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Singer said that it's in Trump's interest to tell supporters not to believe the polls, or cast doubt on the election in November, but it also plays right into Russia's goals.

"It's the idea of sowing dissension, sowing doubt, and delegitimizing," he said. "This is classic information warfare operations that date back to the Stalin era. It feels new to Americans, but it actually fits a prior pattern."

As Singer said, our voting system has had its problems since the "hanging chad" days, but now, he said, "we've got a direct threat to it."

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