Friday morning the Russian embassy in the UK tweeted a meme suggesting Hillary Clinton was connected to the murder of Seth Rich. Here’s the tweet:
— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) May 19, 2017
So, first of all, there’s the graphic. “Who killed Seth Rich?” is superimposed over the face of Hillary Clinton. Obviously, the suggestion being made is that Rich was murdered for the leak of DNC material which damaged Clinton. But it could also be taken as suggesting that Hillary herself ordered a hit on Rich.
Then there’s the text which states that Seth Rich was “#WikiLeaks informer….” That’s a claim that was recently made in two stories by Fox News. According to these stories, the FBI examined Rich’s computer after his death and found thousands of stolen DNC emails and proof that Rich was in contact with WikiLeaks.
Ed looked at those stories earlier this week and found them less than convincing. They require you to assume the FBI and the DC police are jointly participating in a cover-up of the real reason for Rich’s death. Shortly after Ed’s story went up, NBC News reported that two FBI agents denied the FBI had, or had ever examined, Rich’s computer:
Meanwhile, a current FBI official and a former one completely discount the Fox News claim that an FBI analysis of a computer belonging to Rich contained thousands of e-mails to and from WikiLeaks.
Local police in Washington, D.C., never even gave the FBI Rich’s laptop to analyze after his murder, according to the current FBI official.
And a former law enforcement official with first-hand knowledge of Rich’s laptop said the claim was incorrect. “It never contained any e-mails related to WikiLeaks, and the FBI never had it,” the person said.
Of course, that’s what they would say if they were part of a cover-up/conspiracy. But if that’s true then the family of Seth Rich must also be part of the conspiracy because they said none of this is true. It’s also worth noting that the investigator quoted in that initial Fox 5 story later told Newsweek he had never seen Rich’s laptop and had “nothing firsthand” about what was on it. All of that to say, there is good reason to believe Seth Rich was not the source of the DNC’s hacked emails.
So why is the Russian embassy tweeting this? One explanation is the one I raised back when Julian Assange first hinted that Seth Rich might have been his source. Russia and Assange were clearly not happy with being linked as source and distributor of the hacked emails from the DNC, DCCC, Podesta, etc. Assange prefers to claim he is independent, not the face of a Russian government cyber effort, and Russia has always denied that it played any role in the hacking.
Recall that shortly after our government began to publicly blame Russia for the hack last year, an online figure appeared calling himself Guccifer 2.0. Guccifer 2.0 claimed he (not Seth Rich) was behind all of this. Further investigation suggested Guccifer 2.0 was not a real person at all but a Russian propaganda effort created to take credit for something the Kremlin was denying involvement in.
So a week or so after doubts began to circulate about Guccifer 2.0, Assange pours gasoline on a conspiracy theory floating around on Reddit which says Seth Rich was the real source. He never really says it outright, but he suggests it could be true. Again, the result is that Assange maintains apparent distance from Russia and Russia has someone new to blame as it continues to deny responsibility for the hack. The fact that the Russian embassy is now pushing the same story Assange was last year shows they both prefer it to the alternative, i.e. that Russia hacked the DNC and gave the material to WikiLeaks.