‘Russiagate’ — The Most Trustworthy Current Information

Eric Zuesse

This summary is up-to-date as of August 6th, but it will start with a leak from a phone-conversation on August 1st, in which Seymour Hersh reveals “what I know” about the Russiagate matter, the matter that dominates today’s U.S. international news. Hersh, of course, is the investigative journalist who broke the My Lai massacre, was among the first reporters to disclose Obama’s support of Al Qaeda in Syria, and broke many other controversial news-reports exposing government-lies — none of which Hersh-articles has been disproven, despite the controversiality of his disclosures. And his record for sheer honesty is vastly better than that of any of his many detractors, and it’s a record that stands out especially because such sincerity is the rarest commodity in journalism regarding international relations (which has been Hersh’s specialty throughout his long career).

During the later portion of this phone-call, by the world’s greatest investigative journalist, Hersh presented “a narrative [from his investigation] of how that whole fucking thing began,” including the identities of the people he believes to be actually behind the ‘RussiaGate’ claims, and why those anti-Russia allegations are dominating the U.S. ‘news’ as they now are.

In a youtube video upload-dated August 1st, in which, clearly, Hersh’s distinctive voice is speaking (and speaks as he does in private, whenever he’s talking about lying by the government and by the press), he revealed, from his inside FBI and Washington DC Police Department sources — now, long before the Justice Department’s Special Counsel Robert Mueller will be presenting his official ‘findings’ to the nation — that the charges alleging Russia had anything to do with the leaks from the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to Wikileaks, extend the Obama Administration’s CIA-concocted lies. He says that those charges spread by the press, were, in his opinion, planted by the CIA. He says that Wikileaks had gotten only leaks, including at least one from the murdered DNC-staffer Seth Rich, not information hacked by or from any outsider (including ‘the Russians’), but that Rich didn’t get killed for that, but was instead shot in the back during a brutal robbery, which occurred in the high-crime neighborhood where Rich lived. Here is the video, and here is the complete transcript of his statement there (along with my added clarifications [in brackets], plus my boldfacing of key passages in it):

… about the kid, and I’ll tell you what I know:

(Mumble) comes off an FBI report, don’t ask me how, I can figure out, I’ve been around long enough:

The kid gets — I don’t think he was murdered [because of this leak] I don’t think he was murdered because of what he knew, the kid was a nice boy, 27, he was not an ITS person, he learned stuff, he was a data-programmer, but he learned stuff, and so he was living on one street, somewhere, he was living in a very rough neighborhood, and in the exact area where he lived, there had been about, I am sure you know, there had been about 8 or 9 or 10, violent robberies, most of them with somebody brandishing a gun [here are that neighborhood’s crime-statistics], and I am sure you know, his [the kid’s] hands were marked up, the cops concluded [HERSH HAD HAD ACCESS TO THE POLICE REPORT] he fought off the people, he tried to run, and they shot him twice in the back with a 22, small-caliber, and then the kid that did it ran, he got scared. So, the cops do this, here’s what nobody knows, what I am telling you, now maybe you do know something about it: When you have a death like that, DC cops, as you’re [dealing now with a person who is] dead, you generally don’t zip and go, yep I know, what’s the motive, what’s going on, you have to get to the kid’s apartment and see what you can find. If he’s dead, you don’t need a warrant, but most cops get a warrant because they don’t know if the guy has a roommate, so they get a warrant, I’m just telling you, there is such a thing. They go in and can’t do much with his computer, [to find the] password, the cops don’t know much about it, so the cops have a cyber unit in DC, and they’re more sophisticated, they come in and look at it. The idea is maybe he has had a series of exchanges with somebody who said ‘I am going to kill you motherfucker’ over a girl, and they can’t get in, the cyber guys are a little better, but they can’t make sense of it, so they call the FBI cyber unit. The DC unit, the Russian[-monitoring] and field office is a hot-shit unit. The guy running the Washington field office, he’s like a three-star at an army-base, he’s ready [mumble], you know what I mean, he’s going to do a top job. There’s a cyber unit there that’s excellent. What you get in a warrant, the public information you get in a warrant doesn’t include the affidavits underlying why you are going in, what the reason was. That’s almost never available, I can tell you that — the thesis of a warrant as a public document 99% of the time. So they call in the feds, the feds get through, and here’s what they find [HERSH HAD HAD ACCESS TO THE FBI REPORT]. This is according to the FBI report. What they find is, first of all you have to know some basic facts, one of the basic facts is there is no DNC or protected email that exists beyond May 22nd, the last email from either one of those groups. So, what the report says, is:

(2:50-) At some time in late spring, which we’re talking about in June 21st, I don’t know, just late spring early summer, he makes contact with Wikileaks, that’s in his computer, and he makes contact. Now, I have to be careful because I met Julian [Assange] in Europe ten twelve years [ago], I stay the fuck away from people like that. He has invited me and when I am in London, I always get a message, ‘come see me at the Ecuadorean’ [Embassy], and I am fucking not going there. I have enough trouble without getting photographed. He’s under total surveillance by everybody.

They found, what he had done, he [Seth Rich] had submitted a series of documents, emails from DNC — and, by the way, all this shit about the DNC, you know, was it a ‘hack’ or wasn’t it a ‘hack’ — whatever happened, it was the Democrats themselves wrote this shit, you know what I mean? All I know is that, he offered a sample, he sends a sample, you know, I am sure dozens of emails, and said ‘I want money’. Later Wikileaks did get the password [SETH RICH DID SELL WIKILEAKS ACCESS INTO HIS COMPUTER.] He had a drop-box, a [password-]protected drop-box, which isn’t hard to do. I mean you don’t have to be a whiz at IT [information technology], he was not a dumb kid. They got access to the drop-box. This is all from the FBI report. He also let people know with whom he was dealing, I don’t know how he dealt, I’ll tell you all about Wikileaks in a second, with Wikileaks the mechanism, but according to the FBI report, he shared his box with a couple of friends, so ‘If anything happens to me, it’s not going to solve your problem’, okay? I don’t know what that means. But, anyway, Wikileaks got access. And, before he was killed, I can tell you right now, [Obama’s CIA Director John] Brennan’s an asshole. I’ve known all these people for years, Clapper is sort of a better guy but no rocket-scientist, the NSA guys are fuckin’ morons, and the trouble with all those guys is, the only way they’ll get hired by SAIC, is if they’ll deliver some [government] contracts, it’s the only reason they stayed in. With Trump, they’re gone, they’re going to live on their pension, they’re not going to make it [to great wealth]. I’ve gotta to tell you, guys in that job, they don’t want to live on their pension. They want to be on [corporate] boards like their [mumble] thousand bucks [cut].

I have somebody on the inside, you know I’ve been around a long time, somebody who will go and read a file for me, who, this person is unbelievably accurate and careful, he’s a very high-level guy, he’ll do a favor, you’re just going to have to trust me, I have what they call in my business, long-form journalism, I have a narrative, of how that whole fucking thing began.

(5:50-) It’s a Brennan operation. It was an American disinformation, and the fucking President, at one point when they even started telling the press — they were back[ground]-briefing the press, the head of the NSA was going and telling the press, the fucking cocksucker Rogers, telling the press that we [they] even know who in the Russian military intelligence service leaked it. All bullshit. They were telling. I worked at the New York Times those fucking years, they’re smart guys, but they’re totally beholden on [to] sources. If the President or the head of the CIA tells them something, they actually believe it. I retired at the Times at the end of the Vietnam War 1972, because they were just locked-in. So that’s what the Times is, these guys run the fuckin’ Times, and Trump’s not wrong, I wish he would calm down, get a better press secretary, you know, not be so — Trump’s not wrong to think they all fucking lied about him.

The slight media-coverage that this statement by Hersh receives is focusing on widespread allegations that Seth Rich was murdered in order to silence him. All such media-coverage ignores much of what Hersh actually said on the phone (where Hersh makes clear that, according to the police record, Rich was, indeed, murdered in a regular robbery), and therefore should be viewed as an example of what the Washington Post and others in the mainstream press call ‘fake news’, but which actually applies to the mainstream media, on both the left and right, above all (since they’re all actually protecting and serving the same aristocracy). Hersh said both that Seth Rich did leak to Wikileaks (which many Republicans allege), and that the allegations that he was murdered for that are false (which many Democrats allege). Hersh was contradicting both the Democratic Party’s ‘news’ media and the Republican Party’s ‘news’ media. This is not something that a journalist would do in order to advance his own career, but it’s typical of Hersh, a fiercely independent journalist, who really does care about truth above all else.

The purpose of those distorting ‘news’ stories might be a desire, on the part of both the Democratic Party aristocrats and the Republican Party aristocrats, to distract the public’s attention away from the far deeper understanding that drives the “narrative” that Hersh, in that clip, is describing: rot by the U.S. aristocracy, which controls both of America’s political Parties, to deceive the American public. The objective of the press is to protect the nation’s aristocracy. That fact is not publishable; it is American samizdat. Corruption rules America. The public do not. This situation is what Hersh describes in his “narrative.”

But there is more in the ‘hacking’ story than what Hersh talked about: There wasn’t only the leak from the DNC computer (which Hersh was discussing); there was also the leak from John Podesta’s computer, and this information was published by Wikileaks later on. We’ll first summarize the former (the part that Hersh did discuss):

According to Josh Marshall’s very helpful 11 July 2017 “Look at the Timeline” (which unfortunately accepts, uncritically and without challenge, the U.S. government’s and U.S. ‘news’media’s allegations that ‘Russian hacks’ instead of Clinton-campaign leaks were behind this):

June 12th, 2016: Julian Assange first announces that Wikileaks has Clinton emails which are soon to be released. “Wikileaks has a very big year ahead … We have emails related to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication.”

June 14, 2016: Washington Post publishes first account of hacking of the DNC computer networks, allegedly by hackers working on behalf of the Russian government.

June 15th, 2016: “Guccifer 2.0”, later identified by US government officials and other private sector analysts as a fictive persona created by Russian intelligence operatives, contacts The Smoking Gun to take credit for hacking the DNC.

June 27th, 2016: First hacked DNC emails posted to “DCLeaks” website. …

July 22, 2016: Wikileaks releases first tranche of DNC emails dating from January 2015 to May 2016.

Hersh says “late spring early summer, he makes contact with Wikileaks, that’s in his computer, and he makes contact.” Presumably, this release of information constituted the DNC emails that Seth Rich had sold to Wikileaks.

On 5 July 2017, the Washington Times reported that:

It is perhaps the key piece of forensic evidence in Russia’s suspected efforts to sway the November presidential election, but federal investigators have yet to get their hands on the hacked computer server that handled email from the Democratic National Committee.

Indeed, the only cybersecurity specialists who have taken a look at the server are from CrowdStrike, the Irvine, California-based private cybersecurity company that the DNC hired to investigate the hack — but which has come under fire itself for its work.

Presumably, Robert Mueller’s investigation will subpoena that evidence — the DNC’s computer from which the 22 July 2016 information-release by Wikileaks was introduced — if it hasn’t yet subpoenaed that. Clearly, the DNC has someting to hide there, and the FBI didn’t press the matter. The only question on the matter is whether Mueller as Special Counsel is honest and truly impartial, or not (as the FBI under Obama was not).

On 6 August 2017, an anonymous technical specialist posted online “(2) Guccifer2.0 Timeline — What Happened & When Did It Happen?” and presented a timeline of the first of the two leaks (the one Hersh was discussing), and documented, in a detailed technical analysis, the extreme unlikelihood that any hack at all was entailed in the first information-release. Perhaps Seth Rich’s leak was the only one that was involved in the first release — the release that Assange announced on 12 June 2016.

Later than the DNC leak(s), the release from John Podesta’s computer occurred:

October 7, 2016: Wikileaks releases first batch of Podesta emails.

That release is either from a second, independent, inside-leaker, or else like the U.S. ‘news’media allege, again by an outside hacker (together now called “Russiagate”). If it was the former (a leak), it was from someone who had access to Podesta’s computer. A well-informed narrative does exist along that line, but it has been suppressed in the ‘news’-reports. It alleges that someone had handed a thumb-drive or other physical copy of information from Podesta’s computer, to Craig Murray, a friend of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, when Mr. Murray visited Washington DC on 24 September 2016 and returned with it to London and handed that data to Assange inside the Ecuadorean Embassy.

As regards the information-release from Podesta’s computer, however, far less challenge to the official U.S. line that Russia was behind this release has been issued. But Sam Biddle of The Intercept did headline on 14 December 2016, “Here’s the Public Evidence Russia Hacked the DNC — It’s Not Enough”. He there challenges the “Russiagate” narrative, as regards the information-release from Podesta’s computer. As to whether Mueller’s investigation can be trusted to provide truthful answers to that matter (and to disprove Craig Murray’s narrative, or else to discredit the Russiagate narrative, regarding the second information-release), any such conclusion, at the present time, would be pure speculation.

In the court of public opinion, however, the U.S. government should be on trial here, regardless of whether or not the Russian government is. The idea that ‘the enemy’ of the American people is Russia, instead of America’s aristocracy, is the successor to the idea that ‘the enemy’ of the American people was Salvadore Allende, and was Saddam Hussein, and was Muammar Gaddafi, and was Viktor Yanukovych, and was/is Bashar al-Assad. It’s a lie. We’ve been ruled by lies. Only if the government of the United States is placed on trial by the American public, can democracy become established or re-established here. A government that actually represents only the very rich, with mere tokenism for everybody else, is no democracy. The “us” versus “them” is internal, and the “them” control (and benefit from) both Parties; it is not external. That truth is not publishable in the United States; it is American samizdat. The present article is being submitted to all major and most minor U.S. ‘news’media in case any of them are bold enough to break from America’s recent past and allow the American people (or their audience) to consider the reality. All of America’s major ‘news’media have a stake in the status-quo, but maybe someday one of them will have conscience and break ranks. All that’s required is one of the majors, to have conscience. That would do it. If none of them do, would Robert Mueller? What would the tooth-fairy say?


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • kimyo

    you use the exact phrase ‘from john podesta’s computer’ five times in the above piece.

    you also say ‘it was from someone who had access to Podesta’s computer’.

    the wiki article you link to states:

    ‘In March 2016, the personal Gmail account of John Podesta, a former White House chief of staff and the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, was compromised in a data breach, and a collection of his emails, many of which were work-related, were stolen.’

    do you have any proof that podesta’s computer was compromised? the reports i’ve seen do not support such a position. the basic story seems to be that he was tricked into giving up his gmail password, i’ve never seen any mention of his computer being hacked.

    • cettel

      The allegation is that the ‘hacker’ needed Podesta’s password in order to get into his computer and copy information from it.

      • kimyo

        who is alleging this?

        • cettel

          That’s the mainstream-storyline, in just about all of the ‘news’media.

          • kimyo

            got a link? searching ‘podesta computer hacked’ at google news gives zero results supporting your claim.

            any link will do. i’ve never seen a single instance of an msm outlet claiming information from podesta’s computer was leaked. i’ve seen dozens of reports like this from the nyt:

            On Thursday, private security researchers said they had concluded that Mr. Podesta was hacked by Russia’s foreign intelligence service, the GRU, after it tricked him into clicking on a fake Google login page last March, inadvertently handing over his digital credentials.

          • Robert McMaster

            You’re good. Keep on demanding evidence verification, back it up, who bloody well sez? What’s that guys name? When exactly? At what exact address?

            When they run out of gas, then the scam is laid bare.

          • kimyo

            usually when zuesse makes things up his motive is clear. in this case, it’s unfathomable.

            newspeaking ‘podesta’s gmail was hacked’ into ‘podesta’s computer was hacked’ serves no apparent purpose.

          • Robert McMaster

            Whatever, putting precise questions as you have and not being put off. Drilling down relentlessly – that is good and proper work kimyo

          • nomadd

            er… im pretty sure thats not a link.

          • cettel

            I didn’t say that there was there’s a “msm outlet claiming information from podesta’s computer was leaked.” I say the main stream media claim it was hacked. I say that that’s the mainstream storyline.

          • kimyo

            I say the main stream media claim it was hacked

            thus, you must have at least one link which shows this. please share it.

          • ICFubar

            kimyo, cettel is not alleging that MSM has it correct only writing that that is what the MSM is selling.
            Skip to the 15:30 to view the interview of McGovern by RT, titled “Earth Overshoot Day” on the VIPS forensic discoveries on the DNC leaks.. http://raymcgovern.com/

      • ICFubar

        Podesta’s password was Apparently “passWord” or so we are given to believe…a grade 8 kid with a keyboard might have figured this one out….but the VIPS have put this to rest with their meat data forensic evidence pointing a down loaded leak.

  • Trumps ADMITTED they met with Russians to throw a U.S. election. Ummmmmm……aren’t the Trumps PALLIN’ WITH COMMIES? Which is what the rightwing noise machine has been calling US forever? And it turns out THEY are?





  • ICFubar

    I’ll tell you what I know….just prior to Hersh’s entry Ray McGovern, Bill Binney and friends at Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) managed to do an IT forensic meta data analysis of the DNC-Podesta email leaks and found the time of the download and the time zone in which the download took place, eastern daylight savings and the eastern seaboard. More importantly they got the speed a which the download took place which was direct access to the server to a thumb drive rather than the much slower speed of a hack over the internet. This work by the VIPS was just beginning to grow legs when Hersh arrives on the scene with his limited hangout of declaring Seth Rich’s murder was a botched robbery in line with the official story. and with the disparaging remark meant to implicate Rich’s motive was money rather than patriotic in nature. Remember whistle blowers are never ever hired again and some money might come in handy.

    Where Hersh’s by line breaks down and the limited hang out tag seems to apply is in the anonymous report by a frightened Doctor at the hospital where Rich was treated, operated on and expected to make a full recovery from the two small caliber (.22 rimfire) gun shot wounds. At this point the patient was still unnamed only revealed later. The patient, then in recovery, and his room was then swarmed by law enforcement officers (LEOs) and all medical staff excepting one Doctor were ordered out and rounds discontinued. When allowed back, the at this point unnamed patient was dead. The Doctor reporting on this event, after later learning the patient was Seth Rich, said he had never seen anything like it and was very worried for his safety. If I knew of this Doctor’s report you can bet Hersh did to if he is anywhere near worth the salt attributed to him and yet he pronounces the bona fides of the official story of a mugging gone terribly wrong….”ER surgeon at Seth Rich’s hospital says his gun wounds were not fatal”

  • diogenes23

    While Hersh might have informers as to how and who contacted wikileaks, he does not have any informers as to how Rich was killed, except circumstantial.

  • paul

    I think Hersh is generally a limited hangout guy.