Thanks to Judicial Watch, a new batch of emails have surfaced that put the FBI in a whole lot of trouble with at least two Federal Judges. Attorney Ty Clevenger made repeated FOIA requests to the FBI for all emails and communications dealing with Seth Rich and his murder. The FBI denied they had any such communications. Whoops! There are now five emails and one text message that show that denial is not true. Let's dig into the details.
The FBI, in the person of David Hardy, affirmed in an affidavit that there were no responsive records. Hardy is the Section Chief of the Record/Information Dissemination Section ("RIDS"), Information Management Division ("IMD"),1 Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), in Winchester, Virginia. Here are the relevant portions of his first affidavit:
On September 30, 2017, by electronic submission via the OIP online portal, Plaintiff submitted an administrative appeal of the FBI's September 19, 2017 determination. Specifically, Plaintiff alleged the FBI limited its search to the Central Records System("CRS") for main file records. Additionally, Plaintiff noted that any responsive records likely would be found in emails, hard copy documents, and other files in the FBI's Washington Field Office; therefore, the FBI should be directed to conduct a thorough search, to include emails and other records in the Washington Field Office. . . .
(9) By letter executed on November 9, 2017, OIP advised Plaintiff it affirmed the FBI's determination. OIP further advised Plaintiff that to the extent his request sought access to records that would either confirm or deny an individual's placement on any government watch list, the FBI properly refused to confirm or deny the existence of any such records because their existence is protected from disclosure pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(7)(E). . . .
(19) CRS Search and Results. In response to Plaintiff's request dated September 1, 2017, RIDS conducted an index search of the CRS for responsive main and reference file records employing the UNI application of ACS. The FBI searched the subject's name, "Seth Conrad Rich," in order to identify files responsive to Plaintiff's request and subject to the FOIA. The FBI's searches included a three-way phonetic breakdown5 of the subject's name. These searches
located no main or reference records responsive to Plaintiff's FOIA request.
(20) Subsequently, the FBI conducted additional searches of the CRS via the UNI application of ACS and a Sentinel index search for both main and reference file records. The FBI used the same search terms it used in its original searches as described supra. This new search also resulted in no main or reference file records being located responsive to Plaintiff's FOIA request. . . .
(25) The FBI conducted an adequate and reasonable search for records responsive to Plaintiffs FOIA request; however, no records were located. First given its comprehensive nature and scope, the CRS is the principle records system searched by RIDS, to locate information responsive to most FOIA/Privacy Act requests, as the CRS is where the FBI indexes information about individuals, organizations, and events for future retrieval. See , 14, supra. Second, the CRS is the FBI recordkeeping system where investigative records responsive to this request would reasonably be found. Given Plaintiffs request sought information about an individual subject, Seth Conrad Rich, who was murdered in the District of Columbia on or about July 10, 2016, such information would reasonably be expected to be located in the CRS via the index search methodology. Finally, the office likely to conduct or assist in such an investigation — WFO — confirmed that it did not open an investigation or provide investigative or technical assistance into the murder of Seth Conrad Rich, as the matter was under investigation by the MPD, who declined the FBI's assistance.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1746, I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct, and that ibits A – E attached hereto are true and correct copies.
Well, guess what? Just as Ty Clevenger anticipated, the relevant emails were in the Washington Field Office. To make matters worse, some of these emails were sent to FBI Headquarters. David Hardy either is incompetent or he has lied. There is no middle ground. In either case, his submission was not true.
Here are the emails (I transcribed them and put them in chronological order to facilitate your ability to read them and understand what is being communicated).
10:32 am — Message sent from FBI's Washington Field Office Public Affairs officer to at least three other Washington Field Office FBI Agents. In addition, there are three other blacked out areas in the addressee field, which appear to be the names of persons who do not work at the Washington Field Office.
I hope you are well. I heard from the front office that you are covering for BLANK this week. Various news outlets are reporting today that Julian Assange suggested during an overseas interview that DNC Staffer, Seth Rich, was a Wikileaks source and may have been killed because he leaked the DNC e-mails to his organization, and that Wikileaks is offering $20,000 for information regarding the death of Seth Rich last month. Based on this news, we anticipate additional press coverage on this matter. I hear that you are in a class today; however, when you have a moment can you give me a call to discuss what involvement the FBI has in the investigation.
12:53 pm — Message replying to the 10:32 am message, sent from FBI Washington Field Office with at least four other Washington Field Office FBI Agents addressed on the message. There also are two other blacked out addresses, which may indicate personnel not in the Washington Field Office.
Adding BLANK (a name to the addressee list). I am aware of this reporting from earlier this week, but not any involvement in any related case. BLANKED OUT.
12:54 pm — Message sent from FBI Washington Field Office with at least four other Washington Field Office FBI Agents addressed on the message. There also are two other blacked out addresses, which may indicate personnel not in the Washington Field Office.
Adding BLANK for real. Stupid Samsung. (Apparently the author of this message failed in the preceding message.)
1:00 pm — Message replying to the 12:54 pm message, sent from FBI Washington Field Office with five other Washington Field Office FBI Agents addressed on the message.
Hi. (THE REST OF THE MESSAGE IS BLANKED OUT.)
1:25 pm — Message replying to the 1:00 pm message, sent from FBI Washington Field Office with five other Washington Field Office FBI Agents addressed on the message. Plus, two other BLANKED out addressees not identified.
Thanks BLANK will do.
7:09 pm — Message from FBI Washington Field Office to Jonathan Moffat and Peter Strzok of the FBI's Criminal Division and two other BLANKED out addressees.
FYSA (For Your Situational Awareness). I squashed this with BLANK
7:49 pm Text message from Peter Strzok to Lisa Page forwarding her this email chain.
The initial response to the query from the Public Affairs Office of the Washington Field Office is telling. The Agent could have responded very simply–The FBI was not involved in any facet of the Seth Rich investigation. This was a local matter handled by the DC Police.
But that is not how the Agent responded. And then he took the step of adding in people at FBI Headquarters. How do we know this? The message from the Washington Field Office at 7:09 pm was sent to the Criminal Division to Agents Moffat and Strzok.
Ty Clevenger now has ample ammunition to return to court and insist that the FBI be required to identify all agents involved in these email chains and to discuss what they knew about the Seth Rich case. David Hardy declared under the penalty of perjury that there were no such emails. I doubt that the two judges involved in the relevant cases on this matter will be happy to learn that the FBI stonewalled a valid FOIA request and a
Below is the copy of the email chain. You need to read from bottom to top.
Sid Finster says
I will be shocked if the judge does anything about it beyond a slap on the wrist an an admonition not to get caught again.
Explain, would you? Maybe I didn’t read carefully enough.
Strictly it had to be handled by DC police, nevertheless the FBI was made aware of it– and should have taken over at that point?–and somewhere up the chronology ladder Peter Strzok got envolved, not quite the way he should have though, instead he only forwarded the latest mail to his “interior lover”. Suggesting??? Peter Strzok as man in charge my have stopped the FBI from taking over?
thanks larry.. what are the chances seth rich was an intel asset?
Larry Johnson says
Very unlikely that he was an intel asset.
David Habakkuk says
I think it is premature to prejudge the question of how successful the FBI will be in heading off the attempts of Ty Clevenger and Ed Butowsky to penetrate the wall of silence which has been erected around the involvement of that organisation in covering up the truth about Seth Rich’s murder, and his involvement in leaking the materials from the DNC published by ‘WikiLeaks.’
It is also material here that other parts of the cover-up may be running into trouble.
Further indications that contingency plans to use Steele as a ‘patsy’ were made early on, and are now being implemented, come in an extraordinary article published in the latest edition of the ‘Sunday Times’ by the paper’s Political Editor, Tim Shipman.
Important parts of this were reproduced in a piece by Daniel Chaitin in the ‘Washington Examiner’, headlined ‘Top British spy report: “Strong possibility’ that anti-Trump dossier was completely fabricated”, which links to the original article.
(See https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/top-british-spy-report-strong-possibility-that-anti-trump-dossier-was-completely-fabricated .)
The original is, unfortunately, behind a paywall – but can be obtained if one is prepared to take the trouble to sign up for the free allowance allowed by the papers.
In fact, much more interesting than the fact that a well-known British writer about spies, Rupert Allason, aka ‘Nigel West’, who is clearly a conduit for elements in our security services, has been brought in in support of the strategy of making Steele the ‘patsy’, are paragraphs that make a claim which Chaitin does not appear to notice. These read:
‘In November (2016 – DH], the FBI began checking out Steele and his sources. The inspector- general found that former colleagues described Steele as demonstrating “poor judgment” by “pursuing people with political risk but no intel value”.
‘More worryingly, they worked out that most of Steele’s information came from a “primary sub-source”, identified by American media as a Belarus-born businessman, Sergei Millian. The FBI interviewed Millian three times, in January, March and May 2017.
‘He told the FBI that he was an unwitting source and much of what he had told Steele was “just talk”, “word of mouth and hearsay” or conversations “had with friends over beers”. The claims about Trump cavorting with prostitutes at the Ritz-Carlton were “rumour and speculation” or said “in jest”. The inspector- general’s report says Millian “made statements indicating that Steele misstated or exaggerated” what he had told him and that his reports were far more “conclusive” than was justified.’
As it happens, while I have seen Millian referred to as a source for the dossier attributed to Steele, I have – so far at least – not seen him identified with the supposed ‘Primary Sub-source.’
A critical question is whether the ‘Sunday Times’ is right in claiming that the person whom the FBI are reported by Inspector-General Horowitz as interviewing in January, March and May 2017, in a version which that figure’s report accepts, was in fact Millian.
What Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch have to say in the apologia they published last November under the title ‘Crime in Progress’, following their attempt to claim that there was serious sourcing for the ‘golden showers’ claim, seems worth bringing into the picture:
‘Steele said that one of his collectors was among the finest he had ever worked with, an individual known to U.S. intelligence and law enforcement. Neither Simpson nor Fritsch was told the name of this source, nor the source’s precise whereabouts, but Steele shared enough about the person’s background and access that they believed the information they planned to pass along was credible.’
The suggestion seems clear that this was the ‘Primary Sub-source.’
Anyone who did the most basic research into Millian would very rapidly realise that the notion that he could have the kind of ‘background and access’ making the claims made in the dossier attributed to Steele ‘credible’ was laughable.
A rather obvious hypothesis, I think, was that the ‘Primary Sub-source’ was actually – to hark back to the title of a book and film about a classic British disinformation operation – ‘The Man Who Never Was.’
The actual truth, I think, is likely to have been well-summarised by Lee Smith in the opening paragraphs of his review of the Simpson/Fritsch book, which is headlined ‘A crime still in progress’:
‘Crime in Progress is, inadvertently, the cruelest book ever written about the American media. Its authors, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, are the two former Wall Street Journal reporters who founded the DC-based consultancy Fusion GPS. In 2016, the Hillary Clinton campaign paid them to use their former media colleagues to push a conspiracy theory smearing her Republican opponent, Donald Trump. The crime is still in progress.
‘To help top-notch journalists market the fantasy that one of the world’s most familiar faces was a secret Russian spy, Fusion GPS co-ordinated with the FBI to forge a series of “intelligence reports”. They attributed these lurid memos to a down-on-his-luck Brit, a former spy named Christopher Steele.’
(See https://spectator.us/crime-progress-russiagate-whistleblowers/ )
My only reservation about this is that I do not think that Steele was ‘down-on-his-luck’, until he found that his partners in the ‘crime still in progress’ were planning to wriggle out of their own responsibility by making him the ‘patsy’, or ‘fall guy.’
To give intelligence credibility to a farrago which, as Smith suggests, is likely to have been cooked up in Fusion GPS, with the assistance of criminal elements in the U.S. law enforcement and intelligence apparatus, it was helpful to bring in an old confederate of both, Steele.
(One could also then appeal to that curious snobbery that often makes Americans take seriously precisely the kind of ‘Brit’ to whom they should give a very wide berth!)
This, ironically, created a situation where those criminal elements could then suggest that their only fault was in being credulous about claims made by a British intelligence officer whom it was suggested past experience gave them reason to trust.
A natural way of developing this strategy would be to find someone like Millian, and use him to buttress the central claims that the dossier 1. was actually produced by Steele, and 2. that it had actual sources, rather than being largely fabricated. (As so often, the W.C. Fields principle applies: ‘Never give a sucker an even break.’)
It seems clear that Horowitz has been prepared to go along with this strategy, and that a very large number of ‘suckers’ among those on the other side of the fence from Simpson and Fritsch have fallen for it, hook, line and sinker. (It might be invidious to name names.)
The likely reason why all this happened, of course, is that a succession of events – the discovery that material from the DNC had been leaked and was going to be published by ‘WikiLeaks’, the identification of Seth Rich as the figure responsible, and then his murder – produced an urgent need for a cover-up.
Inevitably, given the shortage of time, this was imperfect, and gave hostages to fortune.
It is clear that Clevenger and Butowsky have, and probably will continue to have, difficulties in getting judges to follow the evidence where it leads.
However, the former is a first-class ‘ferret’, and I think it is premature to rule out the possibility that some of the people who are adjudicating these cases may decide that they do not want to continue to cover up a ‘crime still in progress.’
As it happens, Clevenger has written to John Durham, Richard Donague, and also Michael Horowitz, announcing that he wishes to file a criminal complaint in relation to the materials which Larry has discussed.
(An account with relevant links is given in a new post entitled ‘We now have unequivocal proof that the FBI is hiding records about Seth Rich’ on Clevenger’s ‘Lawflog’ blog, subtitled ‘Because some people just need a good flogging.’
See http://lawflog.com/?p=2282 .)
I would strongly recommend anyone seriously interested in seeing the truth about these matters exposed, and the conspiracy against the Constitution defeated, to sign up for alerts from Clevenger’s blog.
scott s. says
In fairness to the FBI, they didn’t say there were no emails, they said they used a search of CRS and that didn’t identify any emails. It isn’t clear to me from what was provided in this post whether the search would have included records from the WFO.
David Habakkuk says
Larry and Pat,
I posted quite a long response to ‘Sid Finster’, which has gone into spam.
Have been reading both the Simpson/Fritsch apologia, and also the book-length version of Heidi Blake’s attempt at ‘escapology’ on behalf of ‘BuzzFeed.’
Both drive a point home: one simply cannot take on trust anything these people say.
This also includes material like the Bruce Ohr 302s. I know think that these were crafted, between him, Pientka, Strzok et al, as part of contingency plans to make Steele the ‘patsy’ if the attempt to ‘escalate’ with the conspiracy against the Trump failed.
Diana Croissant says
The sorry fact is this: Out here in places like my town in flyover country, I could mention Seth Rich and no one would have the slightest idea who he was and why he should get justice–or at least that the truth about his life and death should be told.
Does he have family fighting for the truth about his death? Are there investigative reporters on the story?
Should we be silent about this?
David H et al
Re Christoper Steele, allow me to refresh your recollection with this piece from 3 years ago by John Helmer (too much detail to quote or attempt to summarize).
English Outsider says
Oldman22 -The article states – “Steele, who quit MI6 in 2009, never told his former bosses, what he was up to.”
I believe this judgement would now be revised, if one can trust newspaper articles detailing an earlier meeting with Sir Richard Dearlove that have since come out.
Sid Finster says
@David Habbakuk: I hope that you are right.
However, I have a little experience with how these things go down in the real world. I genuinely hope that this experience will prove misleading.
The omni-present Strzok/Page.
The DNC computer hack strikes me as another faux investigation identical in that regard to the Clinton e-mail investigation – half measures abounding. The question is why? The brief e-mail exchange between WFO and FBIHQ makes it perfectly clear that if the field investigators had not already taken an interest on following up on Rich as an obvious lead they certainly should have. It appears to me that they had not since the initial inquiry came down from the Public Affairs Office and seems somewhat less than urgent.
My question is why wasn’t the FBI all over this obvious lead if they wanted to get to the actual bottom of the DNC hack?
Flavius, They didn’t want to, because their inner cabal was already up to their eyeballs in sedition. Anything that would draw attention to that was streng verboten. Comey & the whole rotten bunch were largely hip to what was going on, & were fine with it, even if it meant letting a murder go unsolved when they could have helped. Just that bad. Burn them to the ground would be my preference. Sad that nothing like that will happen.
Off topic perhaps but the “Russiagate” event gave Hilary a convincing (to her supporters) explanation for her loss to Trump.
My suspicion ( fantastic I know) is that the real target of the democrat impeachment theatre is Biden. HRC has gone on record as saying that Biden’s candidacy is what is preventing her from running.
If Biden is discredited, then maybe HRC will find herself “drafted”.
blue peacock says
It looks like the FBI, DNI, CIA, DOJ and others who are part of the “protected” class like those that raped young girls care of Epstein are above the law.
The “law” also means that whoever the DOJ & FBI want to target either for retribution or to set an “example” can be made penniless and harassed and completely under the most intrusive total surveillance courtesy of a rubber stamp FISC and even convicted on the basis of fabricated evidence and affidavits and false testimony by FBI agents. The judiciary is by & large in lock step with “law enforcement” in the treatment of whom ever those running the show at the DOJ deem worthy of being screwed over.
To those that believe we live in a constitutional republic under the rule of law, I say dream on and keep smiling in your illusion. The reality is we are as bad as any tinpot banana republic. It’s just that we pretend we are the beacon of liberty and rest on the laurels of our forefathers. Our politics, big business and the governmental bureaucracy is just as corrupt as those we harangue as the epitome of corruption.
Sid Finster says
@Blue Peacock “To those that believe we live in a constitutional republic under the rule of law, I say dream on and keep smiling in your illusion. The reality is we are as bad as any tinpot banana republic.”
I’ve said that for a long time, and it typically angers listeners.
Diana Croissant says
I would never suggest that we should not keep the discussion regarding the death of Seth Rich out of the news. It should constantly be in the news and the topic of all political blogs. The death of any single American under suspicious circumstances that might be tied to violence for political purposes is an important story for all Americans.
I am simply always disappointed that people in my part of the nation often simply do not know or care about stories like that concerning Seth Rich’s death. Mostly they distrust both coasts of our nation and don’t pay enough attention to any news coming our of those areas, unless the news specifically affects our state.
I don’t agree with that attitude. I have just grown up here and know what will interest people here and what will go past them as being just “typical” of the mess in D.C. and in New York, etc.
I, myself, would never want to live anywhere but here in my home state, but I do often become frustrated that people here often ignore politics and become upset only when those politics affect them specifically.
David Habakkuk says
John Helmer is one of those sources who can produce absolutely invaluable information.
One of – many – instances are his articles establishing that the current Canadian Foreign Minister, and former ‘Financial Times’ Moscow Correspondent, Chrystia Freeland, is the absolutely unrepentant granddaughter of a notorious Ukrainian Nazi collaborator.
But precisely the fact that Helmer has a lot of very useful sources means that, on other occasions, he can produce complex mixtures of truth and falsehood.
And, from time to time, he is clearly a conduit for total BS. His account of Steele is, I strongly suspect, a case in point.
A critical problem in evaluating Helmer’s recent material is to know from where he is reporting.
According to a – highly interesting – recent commentary he produced on the lawsuit brought by ‘Consortium News’ in response to the attempt by the Canadian signals intelligence agency, Communications Security Establishment, to smear them over their reporting on Freeland, Helmer himself has been banned from entering Russia since September 2010.
(See http://johnhelmer.net/the-truth-the-irony-consortium-news-and-the-continuing-tale-of-chrystia-freelands-grandfather-and-his-and-her-nazi-scheme-for-ukraine-today/ ,)
So, it would seem that, ‘what is source for the goose is saucer for the gander.’
If, in principle, Steele could not have had good Russian sources because he could not visit the country, then should we not dismiss Helmer’s reporting, on the same basis?
Although I have complete contempt for the supposed Russian expertise of the former head of the MI6 Russia Desk, it needs to be discounted on rather more serious grounds.
In fact, at the time Helmer’s piece was published, there was clearly a massive ‘bulldogs under the carpet’ struggle going on in London, in the wake of Trump’s electoral victory, over whether they should use Steele as a ‘patsy’, to try and conceal the high-level complicity of our people in the campaign against Trump, or rally behind him.
It seems possible that Helmer picked up a lot of the BS put out by the ‘make Steele the patsy’ school.
That it is BS is not in question. Whether or not Helmer was uncritically channelling such sources, the fact that basic details of Steele’s history, as given in his report, have been distorted to diguise his chief target’s importance, seems quite clear.
(For instance, the more conventional dates, according to which he was stationed in Moscow 1990-3, and head of the Russia Desk 2004-9, are probably right.)
An interesting possibility – I would put it no strongly than that – is that on this occasion, BS from British intelligence sources may have been supported by BS from Russian.
(Yes, the fact that Helmer has not been in Russia for almost a decade does not mean that he could not have Russian intelligence sources.)
An important, and neglected point, is that there are not infrequently disguised common interests between otherwise inveterate antagonists in suppressing information.
So, it could well have suited elements in both the British and Russia intelligence apparatus, for rather different reasons, to portray Steele s as being, as it were, a lone ‘James Bond wannabee’, who wasn’t quite up to it.
This is likely to be almost the reverse of the truth. More and more evidence suggests that he was a pivotal figure in a campaign to subvert the American Constitution, in which key figures in British intelligence, foreign policy and security elites, as well as their American counterparts, were intimately involved.
That top Democratic leadership on your side, up to and including Obama, and also very important elements at the top of the Republican ‘establishment’, above all McCain, were intimately involved, is now becoming ever clearer.
How far our top political leadership on this side were involved, how far they were drawn rather reluctantly into because of the intimate ‘Five Eyes’ relationships, remains an open question.
English Outsider says
David Habakkuk – on the question of Steele being a loner, I do not see that that could be asserted. There have been too many articles and interviews linking Steele closely to the other UK figures. The “lone wolf” thesis could not possibly stand up.
You point out – ” More and more evidence suggests that he was a pivotal figure in a campaign to subvert the American Constitution, in which key figures in British intelligence, foreign policy and security elites, as well as their American counterparts, were intimately involved.”
Isn’t that the problem? Impossible to officially prove Steele wrong without incriminating a host of others too, in the UK in particular. It would be like unravelling knitting.
It must surely now be a question of whether Trump or his officials are prepared to embarrass the British in order to clear his name. Quite a puzzle for all concerned.
David Habakkuk says
The Miller Center talk was linked to at https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2006/09/miller_center_t.html, but unfortunately the link does not work, and the ‘Wayback Machine’ only accesses Colonel Lang’s post and the SST discussion – it does not provide access to audio or video.
As the ‘Just World News’ piece to which you link brings out, it was a rather comprehensive summary of our host’s view of the unfolding Middle East situation at that time. So it would indeed be helpful if a working link or transcript was in the public domain.
This history actually bears on the question you raised in response to my comments in the discussion of Larry Johnson’s piece on the further evidence emerging of the FBI’s systematic mendacity about Seth Rich.
Your metaphor of ‘unravelling knitting’ seems to me apt, in relation to the likely consequences of letting too much of the truth about what Christopher Steele has done – and also not done – become known.
Another relevant metaphor might have to do with skeletons in cupboards. As the number that have been – often rather hastily – bundled in increases, so the accumulated weight makes it more difficult to keep the door closed.
But, at the same time, it increases the risk that any opening of the door might mean not the controllable release of one or two skeletons, but an uncontrollable discharge of a very foul-smelling collection of old bones.
A consequence of this situation is that it is not merely the incompetents – and crooks – who have created this situation, but others who are trying to make the best of a bad job, who may have reasons to be apprehensive about what might happen if ‘the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’ were produced.
This is one of the reasons I have been reluctant to ‘rush to judgement’ and conclude that the fact that Barr has not used the declassification powers he has to better effect provides reason for assuming that he is really simply a ‘swamp’ creature trying to protect his fellows.
That said, reading the apologias by Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, and that by Heidi Blake, really does confirm my longstanding belief that there are a lot of incompetents, and crooks, in high places, and that a ‘cleansing of the Augean stables’ is long overdue.
Barbara Ann says
All is not lost, the Colonel’s 2006 Miller Center talk on “Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah” is available (audio at least) here:
First 4 minutes is preamble and can be skipped.