At one time, the FBI insisted they possessed no records relating to Seth Rich's murder. Now they’re asking a federal court for an order to seal the records that they said they didn’t have –- they have them, all right –- for 66 years.
Recall that Seth Rich was the young staffer for the Democratic National Committee who was murdered on a Washington DC street as he walked home in the early AM on July 10, 2016, in what was said to be a botched robbery. Rich was shot in the back twice and apparently left for dead; his wallet, phone and other valuables were not taken; and, as far as has been made public, there were no witnesses to the shooting. He died at the hospital.
After the homicide, there was, as described by the news outlet SLAY, “a vacuum of information” that continues to this day, along with an active suppression of reporting on Rich’s case. Since his shooting occurred soon after then-DNC chair John Podesta’s emails --- quite damaging to the DNC and Hillary --- were leaked to WikiLeaks, there was speculation that Rich, reportedly a Bernie Sanders supporter, might’ve been the real source of those leaks. Gee, it might not have been a Russian hack at all; we certainly have never seen proof that it was. Didn't matter; the “Russian DNC hack” narrative was the wellspring for the whole Russia Hoax. Take away the "Russian hack," and it all falls apart.
If the DOJ wants to stop such a “crazy conspiracy theory” in its tracks, all they have to do is release what they have on Seth Rich. It should be easy to set the record straight if this is indeed nothing more than a botched robbery. Perhaps Rick’s death really was just one of those random, senseless murders. After all, robberies and shootings happen frequently in DC, and the “cold case” files are full of them.
But that’s not the way the FBI is reacting to requests for information. They want a court to reverse an order to comply or, failing that, to have the information sealed for 66 years. The FBI made this latest filing in response to a court order made September 29 by U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant for the Eastern District of Texas that it “produce the information it possesses related to Seth Rich’s laptop” in response to a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. Mazzant gave them 14 days; that deadline passed on October 13.
Apparently that’s not all the FBI is withholding. They’ve got three reports from CrowdStrike dating from 2016 regarding the alleged “Russian hack” on the DNC servers. Recall that Crowdstrike never turned over copies of the DNC hard drives to the FBI and that, amazingly, the Bureau did not press them for these, opting simply to go with the CrowdStrike report.
As reported in a “premium” story by THE EPOCH TIMES, “The FBI’s assertion that the privacy interest Rich’s family members hold outweighed the public interest was rejected by Mazzant, who noted the Bureau cited no relevant case law supporting the argument.”
Previous rulings in other cases have found that loved ones of dead people have a substantial privacy interest in preventing the disclosures of autopsies, death scene photographs, and other materials from a person’s final moments, but those considerations don’t apply in this case, Judge Mazzant said.
A dead person has no right to privacy, but isn’t it thoughtful of the FBI to be so concerned with the privacy of Seth Rich’s family after all this time? Those people at the Bureau are so nice! One thing we have to give the FBI --- they are nothing if not considerate.
Recall that Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded that the “Russian government” was responsible for publicly releasing the DNC emails online and that “Seth Rich played no role in this scheme.” He decided this even though an executive for CrowdStrike, in a sworn deposition, said they had no evidence of Russian hacking, only an opinion.
Here’s Judge Mazzant’s 53-page order, which in its first few pages offers some background on the case as well --- very interesting reading.
When plaintiff Brian Huddleston, through attorney Ty Clenenger, first requested information from the FBI, they told him they didn’t have any. But emails disclosed in a separate case told a different story, and in 2020 the FBI had to admit they possessed thousands of documents. The Bureau then identified about 20,000 files that were potentially responsive to the request, later narrowing that down to 1,563 pages. To date, they have produced...75 pages.
The FBI argued that they had no way of knowing if the information they have that purportedly was “extracted from Seth Rich’s personal laptop” and provided to them by “a source” was real, but Clevenger and Huddleston countered that their cyber expert can determine that. The “source” apparently gave them a compact disc with information contained on Seth's laptop. “The FBI did not open an investigation into the murder of Seth Rich,” they said, “nor did it provide investigative or technical assistance to any investigation into the murder of Seth Rich. As a result, the FBI has never extracted the data from the compact disc and never processed the information contained on the disc.” Well, then, how do they know it needs to be squirreled away for 66 years?
Oh, they have an answer to that! To produce the information, the FBI would have to convert the information on the disc into pages and then review the pages to redact information “per FOIA.” They request time to do this at 500 pages a month, which adds up to almost 67 years. Attorney Ty Clevenger told THE EPOCH TIMES, “After dealing with the FBI for five years, I now assume that the FBI is lying to me unless and until it proves otherwise. The FBI is desperately trying to hide records about Seth Rich, and that begs the question of why.”
TechnoFog, on Substack, says the FBI is claiming documents must be withheld on “national security grounds” because “disclosure of the information would threaten intelligence-gathering efforts.” Some of the information they have on the case, they say, was “provided by foreign government agencies under an implied assurance of confidentiality.” It may –- or may not –- include whether the FBI used a “code name” associated with Seth Rich. (Now, why would they do that?) They say their information includes “details of intelligence activities, sources, and methods relating to national security.” Ah, the intel community’s ever-reliable “sources and methods” line. But it worked –- the order from Mazzant, an Obama appointee, still does not require the production of any of that.
Sorry to have to say it, but the FBI’s own arguments are building the case for a “conspiracy theory.” And that seems odd, when with a little transparency and cooperation they could so easily put it to rest, right? If they were using a code, they can redact it. If they were using confidential sources, they can redact those names. The more they try to withhold thousands of pages information, especially with “national security” arguments such as this, the less Rich’s death sounds like a random homicide.
The revelation of who really leaked those emails --- which might just thaw out the cold case into Seth Rich’s death --- will likely have to be answered by Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks. But even though he long ago offered $20,000 for information leading to Rich’s killer, he has so far lived up to his promise to NEVER reveals a source. I wish he’d make an exception this one time. More to come.