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Posts Tagged ‘Julian Assange’

The National Security Agency has responded to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request concerning direct communications between Seth Rich, a former staffer for the Democratic National Committee, and Julian Assange and/or Wikileaks. The NSA issued a “Glomar Response”, where it chose to neither confirm nor deny the requested information due to its existence or “non-existence” being “properly classified”.

The NSA response reveals that communications between Rich and Assange/Wikileaks are subject to classification laws. Their release will have major national security implications that directly impact US Russia relations, and may facilitate disclosure of suppressed secret space program technologies.

I filed the FOIA request after communicating with Ty Clevenger, Esq., who had on October 10, 2017, filed an FOIA request regarding communications between Rich and Assange, along with many other individuals. In his original FOIA letter to the NSA, Clevenger requested:

All documents, records, or communications referencing or containing communications between Seth Rich and any of the following: Julian Assange, Wikileaks, Kim Dotcom, Aaron Rich, Shawn Lucas, Kelsey Mulka, Imran Awan, Abid Awan, Jamal Awan, Hina Alvi, Rao Abbas, and/or any person or entity outside of the United States. (pdf available here)

The NSA wrote a final response to Clevenger on October 4, 2018:

Your request has been processed under the provisions of the FOIA. Fifteen documents (32 pages) responsive to your request have been reviewed by this Agency as required by the FOIA and have found to be currently and properly classified in accordance with Executive Order 13526. These documents meet the criteria for classification as set forth in Subparagraph © of Section 1.4 and remains classified TOP SECRET and SECRET. (pdf available here)

The Clevinger’s FOIA request and the NSA’s response was the subject of an article by Mark McCarty published by Medium.com on April 19, 2019, where he analyzed its consequences for those claiming Rich was the real source of the DNC emails being handed over to Wikileaks. Unfortunately, McCarty’s article was taken down by Medium.com and he was removed as an author from the site in what appears to be a flagrant case of censorship.

I wrote an article on April 25, 2019 commenting on the issues raised in McCarty’s article and NSA’s response to Clevinger’s FOIA request. Of particular interest was what a prominent NSA whistleblower, William Binney, had to say about the NSA’s response:

“Ty Clevenger has FOIAed information from NSA asking for any data that involved both Seth Rich and also Julian Assange.

And they responded by saying we’ve got 15 files, 32 pages, but they’re all classified in accordance with executive order 13526 covering classification, and therefore you can’t have them.

That says that NSA has records of communications between Seth Rich and Julian Assange. I mean, that’s the only business that NSA is in — copying communications between people and devices.”

In closely examining Clevinger’s request and the NSA’s response, what is left unclear is exactly who Rich was communicating with that the 15 documents (32 pages) were referring to.

This was due to the initial FOIA request by Clevinger being very broad in scope since it asked for multiple individuals that Rich was communicating with in addition to Assange/Wikileaks. Basically, the NSA’s response, as cited above, made it unclear whether the information it had concerned communications between Rich and Assange, or Rich and one of the other named parties.

In order to narrow the scope of the inquiry into Rich’s communications, I filed my own FOIA request to the NSA on April 27, 2019:

I am researching the circumstances surrounding the death of Seth Conrad Rich (“Seth Rich, born January 3, 1968), who was murdered in the District of Columbia on July 10, 2016. I request all documents, records, or correspondence referencing or containing communications between Seth Rich and Julian Assange or Wikileaks.

Click image to enlarge. (p.2 is here)

I received the following response by the NSA on May 1, 2019.

We have determined that the fact of the existence of non-existence of the materials you request is a currently and properly classified matter in accordance with Executive Order 13526, as set forth in Subparagraph (c) of Section 1.4. Thus, your request is denied pursuant to the first exemption of the FOIA which provides that FOIA does not apply to matters that are specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive Order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign relations and are, in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive Order.”

Here is the relevant Section 1.4 referred to by the NSA with emphasis on subparagraph (c):

Sec. 1.4. Classification Categories. Information shall not be considered for classification unless its unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause identifiable or describable damage to the national security in accordance with section 1.2 of this order, and it pertains to one or more of the following:

(a) military plans, weapons systems, or operations;
(b) foreign government information;
(c) intelligence activities (including covert action), intelligence sources or methods, or cryptology;
(d) foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources;
(e) scientific, technological, or economic matters relating to the national security;
(f) United States Government programs for safeguarding nuclear materials or facilities;
(g) vulnerabilities or capabilities of systems, installations, infrastructures, projects, plans, or protection services relating to the national security; or
(h) the development, production, or use of weapons of mass destruction.

The NSA’s response is known as a “Glomar Response”, which is different from a regular denial of a request for official government records as explained by Nate Jones from Unredacted.com:

The Glomar Response is different than a regular FOIA denial—when an agency states that it has the records but that it will not release them.  When an agency replies with a Glomar Response, it refuses even to admit that documents exist; this makes research (and the appeals process) much more difficult. 

The NSA’s decision of neither confirming nor denying the existence of direct communications between Rich and Assange/Wikileaks affirms that the NSA is unwilling to directly admit such correspondence exists and makes it difficult for researchers to reach a definitive answer. Nevertheless, what the NSA’s response does reveal is that the alleged communications between Rich and Assange/Wikileaks are a matter of national security.

The NSA response is a startingly admission given what has been previously learned about Rich’s role in handing over the DNC emails to Assange and Wikileaks as discussed in my previous article on Rich. Basically, we know that law enforcement sources told journalists Seymour Hersh and Sean Hannity/Fox News that Rich was the source for the DNC party email links.

In addition, Binney was part of a group of former U.S. intelligence officers that wrote a report released on July 24, 2017 explaining why it was impossible for the DNC files to have been downloaded by online hackers, and the most likely explanation was an inside source with direct access to the DNC server who leaked the files through a thumb drive:

Forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computer. After examining metadata from the “Guccifer 2.0” July 5, 2016 intrusion into the DNC server, independent cyber investigators have concluded that an insider copied DNC data onto an external storage device.

The NSA’s responses to Clevinger and my FOIA requests take on even more significance given recent attempts to debunk any purported connection between Rich and Assange/Wikileaks. Michael Isikoff, writing for Yahoo News on July 9, 2019, insisted that the Russians were the real source of the leak and not Rich:

Russian government-owned media organizations RT and Sputnik repeatedly played up stories that baselessly alleged that Rich, a relatively junior-level staffer, was the source of Democratic Party emails that had been leaked to WikiLeaks. It was an idea first floated by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who on Aug. 9, 2016, announced a $20,000 reward for information about Rich’s murder, saying — somewhat cryptically — that “our sources take risks.”

Many mainstream news sources ran with Isikoff’s story which neglected to discuss Binney’s intelligence assessment, the NSA FOIA responses, and what Seymour Hersh had been told about Rich being the source for the leak. It appeared that Isikoff’s story was an attempt to get in front of a developing story stemming from Assange’s looming extradition to the US, and his expected testimony tying Rich to the DNC emails released by Wikileaks.

The conclusion that emerges from the NSA FOIA responses and what other researchers have revealed is that the Deep State has framed Russia for a domestic leak by a disgruntled DNC employee, Seth Rich. The Deep State’s purpose was to undermine Trump’s presidential campaign and his subsequent administration through concocted Russia collusion charges, and to impede meaningful cooperation between Trump and Putin on a host of global policy issues.

One of these global policy areas concerns the official disclosure of exotic aerospace technologies secretly used by the US and Russia in their respective secret space programs, which I have described elsewhere. The disclosure of such technologies could do much to resolve global security and energy problems, but would have major repercussions for the petroleum and pharmaceutical industries that are dependent on antiquated fuel and medical technologies.

What has clearly emerged since the DNC emails were leaked is that the mainstream news media, along with major social media companies such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Google, have all colluded to deceive the US and the global public over the real source of the leaked DNC emails. As the truth emerges about Rich being the true source for emails leaked by Wikileaks in 2016, the role and power of the Deep State in manipulating public opinion so brazenly for over two years is about to be exposed. This exposure will open the door for exotic technology disclosures that can revolutionize life on our planet.

© Michael E. Salla, Ph.D. Copyright Notice

Note: Special thanks to Ty Clevenger who kindly gave me permission to release his original FOIA request and the NSA’s response.

Further Reading

The April 11 arrest of Julian Assange has resurrected the narrative that emails stored on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) were not hacked by Russia, but leaked by a disenchanted employee, Seth Rich, who wanted to expose how Bernie Sanders was systematically undermined during the 2016 primaries by the DNC. According to this narrative, Rich communicated with Assange and handed over the DNC emails through Wikileaks’ secure online drop box.

Assange first stated in a June 12, 2016, interview that Wikileaks had more of the missing emails from Hillary Clinton’s private email server during her time as Secretary of State: “We have upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton … We have emails pending publication, that is correct.”

Two days later, the computer security company “Crowdstrike” published a report that the DNC email servers had been hacked by Russia. The mainstream media quickly embraced the Russia hacking narrative to explain why Clinton and DNC emails were in the hands of Wikileaks.

Here’s what the Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima had to say on June 14, 2016:

Russian government hackers penetrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee and gained access to the entire database of opposition research on GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, according to committee officials and security experts who responded to the breach.

However, multiple sources pointed out major problems with Crowdstrike as a competent and impartial investigator into the alleged Russian hacking:

The Nakamura [Nakashima] piece marked the first salvo in the Russian hacking meme. But the claim was not backed up by independently verified forensic evidence—it rested solely on the conclusions of a computer security company—Crowdstrike. The pro-Ukrainian politics of Crowdstrike’s founder, Dmitri Alperovitch, and his strident opposition to Russia cast a pall of bias over the findings of Crowdstrike. No U.S. Federal Law Enforcement official or agency was given access to the DNC servers. Neither the FBI nor Homeland Security were permitted to examine the servers and the alleged evidence of a hack. 

In his 2019 best-selling book, Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump, Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service officer, detailed the multiple flaws in the Crowdstrike investigation and the puzzling decision to deny the FBI access to the allegedly hacked DNC email server.

Almost a month after Assange’s interview that Wikileaks had more Clinton emails and was vetting them for eventual release, Rich was murdered on July 10, 2016, in very strange circumstances. Nearly two weeks later, on July 22, Wikileaks dumped 20,000 DNC emails on its website.

A July 25, 2016, story published in Vox by Timothy Lee covered the Wikileaks DNC dump and found that many showed the DNC favored the Clinton campaign over Bernie Sanders. In November 2017, Donna Brazile, the former chair of the DNC, confirmed that the DNC had systematically supported Clinton over Sanders. Brazile’s admission provides a solid foundation for understanding what motivated Rich to leak to DNC emails to Wikileaks in the first place.  

In an August 2016 Dutch television interview, Assange firmly hinted that Rich’s murder was related to his leaking of DNC emails to Wikileaks:

Assange: Whistleblowers go to significant efforts to get us material and often significant risks. There was a 27-year old that works for the DNC who was shot in the back… murdered.. for unknown reasons as he was walking down the street in Washington.

Host: That was just a robbery wasn’t it?

Assange: No. There’s no finding.

Host: What are you suggesting?

Assange: I am suggesting that our sources take risks and they become concerned to see things occurring like that.

Wikileaks then offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of those responsible, fueling the rumors that Rich was Wikileaks source.

Those who claimed that Rich was responsible for the release of the DNC emails were vilified and forced to backtrack on their claims. Here’s how Wikipedia summarized the situation:

Fact-checking websites like PolitiFact.com,[5][8] Snopes.com,[9] and FactCheck.org stated that these theories were false and unfounded.[4] The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post wrote that the promotion of these conspiracy theories was an example of fake news. [10][11][12]

Influential figures such as Fox News and Sean Hannity were forced through litigation to abandon their investigations into Rich’s murder due to his parents leading the charge condemning “conspiracy theories”.

Rich’s parents condemned the conspiracy theorists and said that these individuals were exploiting their son’s death for political gain, and their spokesperson called the conspiracy theorists “disgusting sociopaths”.

A story published by two Fox News reporters, Malia Zimmerman and Ed Butowsky, in May 2017 was subsequently pulled from the news site and Hannity also stopped covering the story.

Even Bongino’s book, Spygate, failed to mention the Rich connection and what this meant to the whole Russia hacking narrative, which he uncritically endorsed as valid.

After Fox News reporters and Hannity suspended their investigations into Rich leaking the DNC emails, only alternative news sources were willing to investigate the available evidence. Most prominent among them was National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower, William Binney, who was among the first to conclude that Rich was responsible for the leaking and that Russia was being framed by the Deep State.

Binney, a former Technical Director at the NSA, together with Ray McGovern, a 27 year CIA analyst, wrote on September 20, 2017:

We stand by our main conclusion that the data from the intrusion of July 5, 2016, into the Democratic National Committee’s computers, an intrusion blamed on “Russian hacking,” was not a hack but rather a download/copy onto an external storage device by someone with physical access to the DNC.

After Q Anon publicly emerged in late October 2017, Seth Rich was soon mentioned in several posts alluding to his role as the true source for the Wikileaks DNC email leaks, and that he was murdered as a result by hitmen tied to the MS-13 criminal gang and the Clintons.

The alternative news investigation into Rich’s role in leaking the DNC emails subsequently languished but gained renewed life a year later on October 4, 2018, when the NSA responded to a Freedom of Information request that showed Rich had indeed been communicating with Assange. In their response to a FOIA request filed by attorney Ty Clevenger about information concerning Seth Rich and Julian Assange, the NSA wrote:

Your request has been processed under the provisions of the FOIA. Fifteen documents (32 pages) responsive to your request have been reviewed by this Agency as required by the FOIA and have found to be currently and properly classified in accordance with Executive Order 13526. These documents meet the criteria for classification as set forth in Subparagraph © of Section 1.4 and remains classified TOP SECRET and SECRET.

Since the FOIA request and the NSA response were not released, the NSA’s startling admission received no attention by the mainstream media, and only a few alternative media sources picked up the story. One of these was an April 19, 2019, article by Mark McCarty who cited a blog post published six months earlier (October 23, 2018) that first discussed the NSA FOIA response.

McCarty raised important questions over the precise language used in Clevenger’s FOIA request and what this meant in terms of documents being withheld. In his April 19, 2019, article he pointed out that many of these questions were resolved by Binney in an April 17 interview:

“Ty Clevenger has FOIAed information from NSA asking for any data that involved both Seth Rich and also Julian Assange.

And they responded by saying we’ve got 15 files, 32 pages, but they’re all classified in accordance with executive order 13526 covering classification, and therefore you can’t have them.

That says that NSA has records of communications between Seth Rich and Julian Assange. I mean, that’s the only business that NSA is in — copying communications between people and devices.”

Binney’s interpretation of what the NSA had admitted through FOIA is astounding in its implications. The single issue that has come to dominate analyses of the 2016 election is that Russia hacked the DNC and interfered with the integrity of the US Presidential election by passing this on to Wikileaks.

This spawned the nearly two-year Mueller investigation into Trump’s collusion with Russia, which generated reams of anti-Trump and anti-Russia stories in the mainstream media. Both Trump and Russia were vilified by a hostile media that was anxious to promote the Russia hacking narrative, and ridiculing anyone suggesting that Rich was the true source of the DNC info being released to Wikileaks, not Russia.

The NSA’s admission is the first concrete sign that the Deep State and the mainstream media are about to be exposed for willfully lying and misrepresenting the truth. Assange is all but certain to be extradited to the USA, and will reveal what he knows about Rich and his connection to the DNC email dumps.

While the questioning and extradition of Assange are likely to take an extended period of time, it’s worth emphasizing that the truth is already known to the NSA, which is keeping this classified for the moment. It is not known when and how this information will be released, and whether it will be done through Assange, the NSA or some other process.

Despite knowledge of the Rich and Assange connection, the NSA and its two directors since the DNC hacking – Admiral Mike Rogers (2014-2018) and General Paul Nakasone (2018-) – have done very little to publicly alter the mainstream news narrative that Russia had hacked the DNC servers; and that Rich’s murder was unrelated to the DNC documents that Wikileaks released less than two weeks after his murder.

Why did the NSA stand by and allow the accusations of Russian hacking to grow to the extent that relations with Russia have been severely damaged, economic sanctions imposed, and a two-year long investigation was established into potential collusion between the Trump Presidential Campaign and the Russians?

One answer worth exploring is that the Deep State had much to fear about a potential collaboration between Trump and Putin in revealing many advanced technology secrets possessed by their respective intelligence services; secrets which President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev unsuccessfully attempted to unlock 56 years ago, with tragic consequences for both.

© Michael E. Salla, Ph.D. Copyright Notice

[Note: An expanded audio version of the above article is available on YouTube.]

[Update 4/25/2019 – A May 16, 2017 article published by the Free Thought Project discussed reports about alleged email communications between Julian Assange and Seth Rich provided by a former homicide detective, Rod Wheeler, from confidential FBI sources. A week later, Wheeler’s comments were retracted. It’s important to note that the 2018 NSA FOIA release confirms that the email correspondence did take place and was being tracked by the NSA]

Further Reading