Journalist Seymour Hersh has given us good reason to believe what many have long suspected: that the “hacking” of the Democratic National Committee, which supposedly delivered the White House to Donald Trump, was an inside job. In a recorded phone conversation (here’s a transcript) with Ed Butowsky, a Republican operative who has been financing an investigation of the Seth Rich affair, Hersh told Butowsky that Seth Rich, who worked for the DNC and was murdered on July 10, 2016, was in contact with WikiLeaks, and wanted money for access to the DNC emails.
Hersh doesn’t buy the conspiracy theory surrounding Rich’s death: he sees it as a random event, one that wasn’t too unusual given the neighborhood Rich lived in – and yet this haphazard tragedy may have led to the unraveling of the mystery that is, today, at the core of our politics: the controversy over who delivered the DNC/Podesta emails to WikiLeaks.
The Democrats, the media, and the War Party contend that the Russians hacked into the DNC, and fooled John Podesta into handing the keys to his emails over to them: a full-fledged federal investigation, complete with a special counsel, is now busy trying to find evidence of the Trump campaign’s collusion with this nefarious plot. On the other hand, the case for Russian “hacking” has been fragile from the start, and has only gotten less tenable as time goes on. Now another blow has been delivered to the “Putin did it” conspiracy theory, one that may indeed prove fatal.
Hersh contends that, upon Rich’s death, the District of Colombia police went into his apartment – with a warrant — and examined his computer, but they couldn’t get into it. So they called in the DC cyber unit, which didn’t do much better, and so they called in the FBI’s Washington field office, the cyber unit, and they got in. “What I know came off an FBI report,” says Hersh. “Don’t ask me how. You can figure it out.” Well, yes, we can indeed. He goes on to say:
“And so what the report says is that sometime in late spring, we’re talking June you know summers in June 21st, late spring would be after, I presume, I don’t know, I’d just say late spring, early summer and he makes contact with WikiLeaks. That’s in his computer and he makes contact.”
Hersh notes that the last DNC/Podesta emails posted by WikiLeaks are from late May 2016, or “early summer,” a timeline that fits in with the sequence of events: his contact with WikiLeaks followed by his death in what appears to be a random shooting. Hersh continues:
“So, they found what he’d done. He had submitted a series of documents, of emails. Some juicy emails from the DNC, and you know, by the way all this shit about the DNC, um, you know, whether it was hacked or wasn’t hacked, whatever happened, the democrats themselves wrote this shit, you know what I mean? All I know is that he [Seth] offered a sample, an extensive sample, you know I’m sure dozens of emails and said ‘I want money.’”
This note of realism – “I want money” – for the first time provides us with something that has previously been missing from the arguments of those who have claimed that the “hacks” were an inside job, and not a case of Russian cyber-warfare: motive. After all, why would Rich, supposedly a loyal employee of the DNC and a committed Democrat, hand over embarrassing emails that would hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign? Well, now here we have it. If true, this not only explains why Rich would do such a thing, but also why the Rich family is furiously denying that their son was in any way connected with the DNC/Podesta email revelations.
Hersh goes on to detail what is in the FBI report:
“Then later WikiLeaks did get the password, he had a Dropbox, a protected Dropbox, which isn’t hard to do, I mean you don’t have to be a wizard IT, you know, he was certainly not a dumb kid. They got access to the Dropbox.”
And so, according to Hersh, WikiLeaks must have reached a deal with Rich, and the rest is history. It’s not clear to me what “They got access to the Dropbox” means: is Hersh talking about WikiLeaks, or the FBI? In any case, Rich apparently took precautions to cover his ass, as Hersh relates:
“He also, and this is also in the FBI report, he also let people know, with whom he was dealing, and I don’t know how he dealt, I’ll tell you about WikiLeaks in a second. I don’t know how he dealt with the WikiLeaks and the mechanism but he also, the word was passed according to the NSA report, ‘I’ve also shared this box with a couple of friends so if anything happens to me it’s not going to solve your problem.’ Ok. I don’t know what that means.”
Well, something did happen to him, but we’ll pass over that and note that Hersh mentions “the NSA report.” So the FBI, in investigating this case, turned to the National Security Agency, which has access to everyone’s online communications, and came up with evidence confirming that Rich was in contact with WikiLeaks, that he had a secure Dropbox, and that he was concerned that he might be in danger. Hersh says “the word was passed” – but to whom? There are more mysteries here than we can uncover with just these bits of information.
According to Hersh, a warrant exists for the DC police entry into Rich’s residence. There’s also a report from the FBI, which Hersh has not seen, as far as I can tell, but which has perhaps been read to him. As Hersh puts it:
“I have somebody on the inside, you know I’ve been around a long time, and I write a lot of stuff. I have somebody on the inside who will go and read a file for me. This person is unbelievably accurate and careful, he’s a very high-level guy and he’ll do a favor. You’re just going to have to trust me.”
Hersh’s record speaks for itself: from exposing the My Lai massacre to ripping the lid off the false flag Syrian “chemical attack,” he’s made a career out of unmasking the lies and machinations of the War Party. I’ll take his word over the word of some anonymous spook leaking to the Washington Post any day of the week. And perhaps this is the time to point out that there’s just as much evidence for what Hersh is telling us as there is for the tall tales of “collusion” with Moscow that have been retailed by the “mainstream” media for a solid year.
The “Russia-gate” conspiracy theory never had any real evidence to support it aside from the arbitrary assertions of three US intelligence agencies: the “proof” they submitted to the public was laughable, as Jeffrey Carr and other cyber-warfare experts have pointed out. Yet we don’t have the actual evidence to support Hersh’s contentions, although if he’s right there is indeed a paper trail: the warrant, the FBI and NSA reports, and probably more.
However, it is an exercise in elementary logic to take the simplest explanation for how the DNC/Podesta materials got out – an insider with access did it for money — rather than assume it was an elaborate Russian conspiracy involving teams of hackers, the Russian intelligence agencies, and Vladmir Putin himself. Apparently our brainless media, not to mention our not-very-intelligent “intelligence community,” have never heard of Occam’s Razor.
Hersh, who has been around the block several times, and is intimately familiar with how the intelligence community operates – as well as being personally familiar with the individuals involved – is onto the game that’s being play here. In his words:
“I have a narrative of how that whole fucking thing began, it’s a Brennan operation, it was an American disinformation and fucking the fucking President, at one point when they, they even started telling the press, they were back briefing the press, the head of the NSA was going and telling the press, fucking cock-sucker Rogers, was telling the press that we even know who in the GRU, the Russian Military Intelligence Service, who leaked it. I mean [it’s] all bullshit…. Trump’s not wrong to think they all fucking lie about him.”
It’s all bullshit: Russia-gate, the “collusion” gambit, and the whole avalanche of fake “news” that purports to describe a Russian conspiracy to “undermine our democracy.” It’s a lie, pure and simple. More than that: it’s an exact inversion of the truth. Because what’s happening is that a vast intelligence-gathering apparatus is being utilized to undermine an elected President and undertake what is in effect a “legal” coup d’etat. But then again, projection has always been an essential element of the War Party’s methodology.
I’m not surprised that Hersh’s revelations have been studiously ignored, even by some “alternative” news sites. Despite this ominous silence, there has been one attempt to cut Hersh off at the pass: National Public Radio ran a piece about the lawsuit Butowsky is being served with in which Hersh’s conversation is quoted. NPR tellingly edits out what Hersh actually said in that conversation, but does cite Hersh purportedly saying Butowsky misunderstood him.
However, it looks like Hersh didn’t know he was being recorded, because the recording directly contradicts both Hersh and what NPR is reporting. An email exchange between Butowsky and Hersh, in which the former pleads with the famous journalist to go public, has been published, and when a reporter called him for comment Hersh clammed up:
“‘I’m not going to comment about that stuff, I mean, come on, I live in the real world.’
“When asked to confirm that it was him speaking on the bombshell audio recording, he stated, ‘I’m not going to talk to anybody about that. No comment.’”
While Hersh is being called on to clear this matter up, there are several reasons why he might not do so, at least quite yet. He could be working on his own story, and – in the same vein – doesn’t want to burn his source, who would be understandably nervous about possibly being outed.
Whatever is going on here, Hersh’s contentions are now public. The truth, whatever it may be, is going to come out.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
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I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.