On Friday, April 23, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released documents under orders from a federal judge relating to the investigation into the murder of Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich. On July 10, 2016, Rich was murdered with a gun near his Washington D.C. home. The official explanation for Rich’s murder was robbery, but his wallet, phone, and watch were not taken.
Attorney Ty Clevenger had filed a lawsuit against the FBI on behalf of Texas resident Brian Huddleston for documents related to the investigation whose FOIA request had been denied. Clevenger has released 68 of these pages on his website, some of which are new to the public domain, and the pages have also been uploaded to Scribd.
These documents include an unclassified November 11, 2017, FBI Boston memo, which summarizes the opening of a case prompted by a “Dark Web Threat” tip received by NYPD. FBI connected Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC) received the intel that a website “listed _________ as a target.” The memo concludes: “Given _________, it is conceivable that an individual or group would want to pay for his death.” This memo does not name Seth Rich; all names are redacted. But that has not stopped conjecture that there is a link between Rich’s death and the June 22 death of a former UN official who was said to have accidentally crushed his own throat prior to scheduled testimony against Hilary Clinton and the Democrat Party, and yet another untimely death of a process server in the class action lawsuit by Bernie Sanders supporters that alleged election fraud against Wasserman Schulz and the Democratic Party.
Within the released documents, there are three pages of an interview with an unnamed Assistant U.S. Attorney about Seth Rich’s background and the events surrounding his death. Another interview in the release references Rich’s murder and is dated September 2016. It has an interviewee with a name redacted who calls herself a colleague of Rich. The FBI summarizer states that the interviewee suspected “hackers would release…[20,000 stolen emails] around the time of the DNC.” Context is redacted, but that interview summary separately mentions Paul Manafort and Donald Trump.
For context, on March 16, 2016, Wikileaks had dumped the Hillary Clinton server email archive, and twelve days after Rich’s death, began a leak release that included 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments in total to and from heads of the DNC. The emails were unfavorable to chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schulz, who would eventually be ousted, as well as Hillary Clinton, who had just been named the nominee.
The documents also include an FBI interview with former Trump aide Richard Gates from 2018, who took a guilty charge on one count of false statements and one count of conspiracy against the United States in a plea deal the year before. The interview summary also mentions Seth Rich and the DNC leaks, as well as interest among opposition researchers in the Trump campaign.
One page references a then open FBI case that investigated Guccifer2, the moniker of the anonymous persona that, according to the FBI here, “implies he hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) servers.” Four pages are dedicated to investigators’ interview of Dana Rohrbacher in relation to a Michael Isikoff article for Yahoo that claims Assange was offered a pardon in exchange for proof that Russia was not the DNC hacker.
Julian Assange has not made an explicit public admission of the leaker’s identity to protect his source. Multiple outlets have retracted articles that claimed Seth Rich was the leaker, including Yahoo’s Michael Isikoff, as UncoverDC previously reported.
The DNC employed cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike to find out how their servers had been compromised and by whom. It was concluded that the culprit was likely to be Russian or even connected to Russian intelligence—but the connection was never certain, and the reasoning seemed contradictory. Crowdstrike’s analysis effusively praised those responsible, saying the ‘tradecraft is superb’ and ‘operational security is second to none.’ But Cyrillic comments were left behind along with the name of a Soviet spy chief, and IP addresses were re-used.
Tracy Beanz, Editor-In-Chief of UncoverDC, reported in May 2020, “To reaffirm—Crowdstrike, the company hired to take a look at what happened at the DNC, has stated under oath in front of the HPSCI, that they do not have any evidence that the data supposedly gathered during this “attack” was exfiltrated.”
Bill Binney and members of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) claim that it wasn’t a remote hack at all but theft by an insider located on-site. Their report claims forensic evidence shows that the data was downloaded at speeds consistent with a local thumb drive rather than through the internet. It further examines metadata from Guccifer to reach the same conclusion as UncoverDC reported and others have done for years.
The 2019 Binney/FIPS report has been cited in criticisms of the Trump administration’s apparent lack of action:
“…the President or someone close to him asked Mike Pompeo, at that time the head of the CIA, to meet with Binney. Binney demonstrated to Pompeo that the President was being systematically lied to by the intelligence agencies about the Russian cyberwar, election-meddling fable, which has now been used to cripple the Trump Presidency for over two years. Binney offered to assist in an investigation to unearth the truth as to the perpetrators of the lie, but he never heard a word back thereafter.”
The first page of this latest FBI declass includes an email that was sent to Peter Sztrok, Jonathan Moffa (FBI), and other redacted recipients from a redacted sender and then forwarded from Sztrok to Lisa Page. Its last response reads “FYSA. I squashed this with [redacted]” (‘FYSA’ may mean ‘for your situational awareness,’) after a chain of discussion about a now-famous Assange interview where the FBI email says Assange suggested that “Seth Rich was a Wikileaks source” and “may have been killed because he leaked the DNC e-mails to his organization.”
Summaries of interviews with Paul Manafort are also included in the released FBI documents with references to Roger Stone’s relationship to the Trump campaign and whether he had advanced knowledge of WikiLeaks release of the John Podesta emails. Four more pages related to the DNC and Hillary for America “provid[ing] the FBI with digital evidence in furtherance of [the Mueller] investigation,” hand-delivered through legal firm Perkins Coie May of 2018. Another interview summary with Jason Fishbein is included, who told the Palm Beach Post that he gave 500 pages of material to Mueller investigators, “mainly printouts of his exchanges with WikiLeaks representatives.”
Four pages of a fourteen-page investigative interview of Jerome Corsi dated January 4, 2019, are also included in the 68 pages, referencing “previous interviews” with the FBI and saying he “had a hard time determining whether or not he was actually remembering things or if he was inventing them.” The interview summary contains information and opinion that Corsi is said to have given about topics including WikiLeaks, Roger Stone, Guccifer, DCLeaks, Seth Rich, Fusion GPS, John Brennan, and whether he had advanced knowledge of the Podesta emails leak. Finally, the document includes a consent document that Jerome Corsi gave to the FBI to search some unidentified computers.
With Friday’s release, Clevenger now has some, but not all, of the documents he is seeking. He says that there are thousands of pages and a laptop that are not public, including 576 pages identified by the FBI as relevant.
Clevenger sought Seth Rich documents from the FBI prior to this latest release, which resulted in a legal volley that included various delays and denials, including one response from the FBI that the office had “conducted a reasonable search and found no responsive records.” But when that separate 2020 FOIA request from Judicial Watch for emails between Peter Sztrok and Lisa Page returned the one with the subject “Seth Rich,” Clevenger said that “new evidence proves otherwise.”
Clevenger had previously called the “Seth Rich” email between Strzok and Page, which had already been in the public domain, “unequivocal proof that the FBI is hiding records about Seth Rich.” Per Craig Murray of Consortium News, the FBI claimed no records and then found them, so “what other falsely denied documents does the FBI hold about Rich[?].”
Clevenger had requested a criminal investigation in a letter to U.S. Attorney John Durham, U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue, and Inspector General Michael Horowitz. In it, he said it appeared to have been a “fraud on the court” and implied it was an intentional coverup:
“Mr. Hardy’s staff purportedly searched for ‘Seth Conrad Rich’ but failed to search for ‘Seth Rich,’ another tactic designed to exclude responsive records.” Clevenger concluded, “It appears that FBI personnel are deliberately hiding records about Seth Rich and deliberately deceiving the court about the reasonableness of their searches for those records. Worse, this sort of bad-faith non-compliance appears to be the norm.”
Attorney Clevenger says, “virtually no one in official Washington has lifted a finger to help.” He added he has a source that tells him the NSA is hiding records about communications between Assange and Rich and that he attempted to get them declassified:
“… I sent a letter to Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell … and I copied the letter to Republican Senators Chuck Grassley, Lindsey Graham, and Ron Johnson, as well as Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. Mr. Grenell left office shortly thereafter, so I sent it with a cover letter to the current Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, on June 2, 2020. To date, no one has responded to the letter. Absolutely no one. And for reasons that I do not yet fully understand, none of the Republicans in Congress (or even in the Trump Administration) are willing to go anywhere near the subject of Seth Rich.”
Brad Bauman, who became the spokesperson for the Seth Rich family, has been called a “professional Democrat crisis PR consultant” by a WikiLeaks tweet, and Jessica McBride, a reporter for Heavy, said that Bauman is “entrenched in progressive circles.”
Seth Rich's new "family spokesman" is Brad Bauman a professional Democrat crisis PR consultant with the Pastorum Group.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 11, 2016
It was also reported that he has ties to the Bauman Foundation and David Brock, founder of Media Matters, and references a report by William Craddick of Disobedient Media, now deleted, that claimed Brock and his affiliations include foreign special interests, organized crime, Soros’ Open Society Foundation, and the Chinese government, along with looser ties to political actors involved in “voting fraud and violent disruption of political events.”
According to InfluenceWatch, The Bauman Foundation has an endowment that has given money to groups that include UnidosUS (previously the National Council of La Raza) and William Brennan Center for Justice*.
According to a Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson who corresponded via email with The Epoch Times on Sunday, “The [Seth Rich] case is still active and being investigated.”
*This article has been edited from its original release to replace CIA Head John Brennan Center for Justice to William Brennan Center for Justice.