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A simple two-letter typo might have cost Hillary Clinton the entire election

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton makes her concession speech after being defeated by Republican President-elect Donald Trump. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

In yet another unbelievable turn in the incredible story of the 2016 election, it looks as though a simple two-letter typo might have begun the wheels turning slowly toward Hillary Clinton's defeat.

The New York Times revealed Tuesday the machinations of foreign hackers in an attempt to gain access to sensitive material. The target that finally got them the info to damage Clinton came from John Podesta, her campaign chairman:

Hundreds of similar phishing emails were being sent to American political targets, including an identical email sent on March 19 to Mr. Podesta, chairman of the Clinton campaign. Given how many emails Mr. Podesta received through this personal email account, several aides also had access to it, and one of them noticed the warning email, sending it to a computer technician to make sure it was legitimate before anyone clicked on the “change password” button.

The email was a fake warning from hackers that appeared to be from Google, telling Podesta to change his password through a link they provided. The "phishing" scam is a popular one that depends on the gullibility of the victim.

Or a typo:

“This is a legitimate email,” Charles Delavan, a Clinton campaign aide, replied to another of Mr. Podesta’s aides, who had noticed the alert. “John needs to change his password immediately.”

Having read the message, Podesta must have thought it was OK to click the link and reset his password — exactly the opposite of what Delavan intended.

Mr. Delavan, in an interview, said that his bad advice was a result of a typo: He knew this was a phishing attack, as the campaign was getting dozens of them. He said he had meant to type that it was an “illegitimate” email, an error that he said has plagued him ever since.

And that's how more than 60,000 emails of Hillary's top aides fell into the hands of allegedly Russian state-sponsored hackers.

The rest of the story was a cascade of email leaks and damaging headlines that helped give Trump an enormous edge in late deciders that pushed him over the top. And if the story is accurate, it's because of a two-letter typo. That's gotta sting.

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