National Security Agency to release records about Americans illegally spied on by FBI

Buckle up, kids. The National Security Agency has agreed to produce records about the FBI’s illegal snooping on 16,000 Americans, according to a letter that I received from the NSA this afternoon, and that suggests a political fight between the two agencies.

Four months ago, the FBI refused to even search for records about the illegal surveillance, which was first made public on September 4, 2020, when the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court released a December 2019 order from U.S. District Judge James Boasberg outlining the FBI’s abuses. In a February 3, 2021 letter responding to my Freedom of Information Act request, FBI Section Chief Michael G. Seidel made the absurd claim that my request did “not contain enough descriptive information to permit a search of our records.”

Obviously, Judge Boasberg was able to determine who the 16,000 Americans were, and note that I sent the exact same letter to the FBI that I sent to the NSA, specifically referencing Judge Boasberg’s order: [cont. on p.2]

CIA calls Kash Patel a liar

Back in February, former Trump Administration official Kash Patel told Aaron Mate at RealClearInvestigations that the CIA was sitting on damning information from the House Intelligence Committee about “Russian collusion,” and President Trump had refused to de-classify the information. Today, the CIA essentially called Mr. Patel a liar.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request that I submitted on April 28, 2021, the CIA responded by saying that it could not find any such records from the intelligence committee. You can read my FOIA request by clicking here and the CIA response by clicking here. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Mr. Patel for purportedly leaking classified information. Maybe he leaked classified information that doesn’t exist?

Stay tuned. We will appeal the CIA decision administratively, the appeal will be rejected, and then we will file suit in federal court.

FBI releases records about murdered DNC employee Seth Rich

This afternoon the FBI finally released records about murdered DNC employee Seth Rich and the 2016 theft of Democratic National Committee emails that were later published by Wikileaks. Those documents provide new information, but generally raise more questions than answers.

Of 576 relevant pages identified by the FBI, only 68 were produced, and most of those 68 pages are heavily redacted. They reference Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Richard Gates, Donald Trump, Jr., Jay Sekulow, and Jerome Corsi, among others.

I haven’t had time to thoroughly review the documents, but here are a few things that stand out:

  • On page 64, a November 11, 2017 memo from FBI’s Boston Field Office is almost completely redacted, but the last sentence reads as follows: “Given _________, it is conceivable that an individual or group would want to pay for his death.”
  • A witness interview form begins on page 65, and it appears to be the interview of former Asst. U.S. Attorney Deborah Sines, the prosecutor assigned to the Seth Rich murder case. [Continued on p.2]

CIA refuses to say whether it framed Russia for leaked DNC emails; FBI apparently ignored Seth Rich’s laptop

The Central Intelligence Agency will neither confirm nor deny that it fabricated the Russian “fingerprints” in Democratic National Committee emails published in 2016 by “Guccifer 2.0,” and the FBI implicitly acknowledged today that it never reviewed the contents of DNC employee Seth Rich’s laptop despite gaining custody of the laptop after his murder.

The revelations came in two separate Freedom of Information Act lawsuits filed by my clients in the Eastern District of Texas. For those of you who live under a rock, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange strongly implied in a 2016 interview that the leaked DNC emails came from Mr. Rich, while the political / bureaucratic / media establishment has steadfastly maintained that the emails were hacked by agents of Russia.

The latest admissions blow a hole in the government / media narrative, suggesting that federal officials not only ignored Seth Rich’s role in the leaks, but fraudulently shifted the blame to Russia.

In The Transparency Project v. Department of Justice, et al., my client asked to see records indicating whether the CIA or its Directorate of Digital Innovation, its contractors, etc. inserted Russian “fingerprints” into the metadata of the emails that were released publicly. (You can review the entire request by clicking here and reading Paragraph 11).

In a joint report filed today, the CIA informed the court that it intends to assert a Glomar response to the request, i.e., that it “cannot confirm or deny” the existence of such records. To make sure I was not reading too much into that non-response, I contacted one of my investigators, Larry C. Johnson, who retired from the CIA. [Continued on p. 2]

National Security Agency hiding communications between Seth Rich and Julian Assange

The National Security Agency is hiding records about murdered Democratic National Committee employee Seth Rich, according to one of my sources, who informed me yesterday that the records are classified as a special access program (the highest level of classification) because they include intercepted communications between Mr. Rich and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Meanwhile, I’ve been authorized to release the transcript of a July 15, 2020 deposition of Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Sy Hersh, wherein Mr. Hersh is forced to admit that he did speak with a senior intelligence official about an FBI report about Mr. Rich and Wikileaks. That contradicts much of what Mr. Hersh has said publicly since early 2017 (more on that below).

As my regular readers know, Mr. Rich was murdered in Washington, D.C. on July 10, 2016, and shortly thereafter Wikileaks published thousands of DNC emails that were very embarrassing to then-Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. On August 9, 2016, Mr. Assange intimated that the DNC emails were obtained from Mr. Rich, not Russian hackers.

If you doubt my source, recall that three weeks ago — after three years of denials — the FBI was finally forced to admit that it had thousands of records about Mr. Rich, as well as his laptop. Meanwhile, virtually no one in official Washington has lifted a finger to help.

On May 7, 2020, for example, I sent a letter to Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell asking him to de-classify the NSA’s records about Mr. Rich, and I copied the letter to Republican Senators Chuck Grassley, Lindsey Graham, and Ron Johnson, as well as Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. Mr. Grenell left office shortly thereafter, so I sent it with a cover letter to current Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on June 2, 2020.

To date, no one has responded to the letter. Absolutely no one. And for reasons that I do not yet fully understand, none of the Republicans in Congress (or even in the Trump Administration) are willing to go anywhere near the subject of Seth Rich. It’s like the last bus stop before Pizzagate (maybe I need to start looking into that, too). [Continued on p.2]

Demoted Texas Ranger suffers new humiliation

Texas State Trooper Brent Davis was stripped of his badge and gun last week, according to multiple sources, almost three years after being demoted from the Texas Rangers. As usual, the Texas Department of Public Safety is trying to keep things quiet.

The former ranger gained notoriety in 2018 after DPS learned that he had been sleeping with the widow of Ron Horaney of Longview, whose murder he was supposed to be investigating. The revelation caused considerable embarrassment to DPS and likely compromised the murder investigation.

According to my sources, several rangers appeared last week at DPS offices in Tyler, where Trooper Davis had been patrolling a desk since 2018, and they removed all law-enforcement property assigned to Davis, including his uniform and state vehicle. One source informed me this afternoon that Davis submitted his retirement papers this week.

Former and current DPS personnel initially suspected that Davis was stripped of his weapons because he would soon be arrested. As I reported in early 2019, several of my law enforcement friends thought Davis and the widow, Faezah Horaney, should have been at the top of the list of murder suspects. [Continued on p.2].

FBI changes story, finally admits it has thousands of pages of documents about Seth Rich

After three years of claiming that it could not find any records about murdered Democratic National Committee employee Seth Rich, the FBI admitted today that it has thousands of pages of information about him, further admitting that it has custody of his laptop.

So what changed between then and now? Here’s an excerpt from the email that I received this morning from an attorney representing the FBI against my client, Brian Huddleston, in Huddleston v. FBI, Case No. 4:20-CV-00447 (E.D. Tex.):

FBI has completed the initial search identifying approximately 50 cross-reference serials, with attachments totaling over 20,000 pages, in which Seth Rich is mentioned.  FBI has also located leads that indicate additional potential records that require further searching.  At this time, FBI anticipates processing  only the pages where Seth Rich is mentioned, along with perhaps another page or two in each situation to provide context.  The issue right now with this batch of documents is the amount of labor required to ingest all of the material so that the responsive pages will, first, be in a page format, secondly, can be identified from among the thousands of non-responsive pages, and finally, be processed. 

FBI is also currently working on getting the files from Seth Rich’s personal laptop into a format to be reviewed.   As you can imagine, there are thousands of files of many types.  The goal right now is to describe, generally, the types of files/personal information contained in this computer.  Furthermore, the FBI will continue to evaluate the responsiveness of these files under the FOIA.

In summary,  FBI has made significant progress in the search, but there is still much work that lies ahead, including (1) ) processing the approximately 50 cross-references (with thousands of pages to ingest and sort through), 2) undertaking some level of review of the personal laptop, and 3) completing all remaining searches.

Unfortunately, these efforts are hampered by FBI FOIA office’s reduction to a 50% staffing posture due to Covid.

In light of the status of this search and the work left to be done, we propose an additional 3 months to complete the tasks described above.  At that time, we will propose a production schedule and briefing schedule.

I would like to provide this status update to the Court with the proposed schedule.  Please let me know if you would like to file something jointly with the Court, or if you  would prefer that I file this and you can respond accordingly.

In his 2018 declaration, Mr. Hardy also testified that the Metropolitan Police Department in D.C. was solely responsible for investigating Mr. Rich’s murder. So why does the FBI have Mr. Rich’s laptop rather than MPD? And after fighting tooth and nail to hide this information for so long, why is the FBI coming clean now? [Continued on p.2]

Intelligence chief won’t release documents about spying on U.S. journalists

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, now headed by former Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe, will not release documents about spying on U.S. journalists, according to a letter dated yesterday. In its response to a Freedom of Information Act request, ODNI claimed that it could not even admit or deny that the records exist because they would be classified.

In government-speak, that means, “The records exist, but we are not going to search for them because we really don’t want to release them.”

This should not surprise any followers of former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who filed a federal lawsuit alleging that government operatives hacked into her computers and electronic devices. In speeches, articles, and books, she has decried the relative passivity of U.S. journalists and media executives in the face of government hacking and spying on former Fox reporter James Rosen, herself, and others.

As a former journalist, I share Ms. Attkisson’s exasperation with the media’s reaction (or non-reaction) to government surveillance, although I am not surprised by it. If Richard Nixon had the means to intercept journalists’ communications in the 1970s, and journalists found out that he had done it, reporters and media execs would have been rioting in the streets. But if the Blessed Savior Obama was intercepting journalists’ phone calls and hacking their computers… well, he must have had a good reason.

Buffoons like CNN’s Jim Acosta are lauded for “bravery” for railing against President Trump on camera, but when the same media hacks learn that their Blessed Savior Obama used an Orwellian surveillance system against journalists, they bow their heads and say nothing.

It really is disgusting, almost like a rape fantasy for establishment journalists. I can imagine any number of hacks at CNN, MSNBC, or the New York Times who would be flattered if the Obama regime deemed them worthy of an intrusion.

Again, none of that surprises me. What does surprise me is Mr. Ratcliffe’s stonewalling. It is illegal for the CIA to conduct operations against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. (Of course, that didn’t stop John Brennan from spying on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee). Likewise, it is a crime for domestic agencies like the FBI to hack into journalists’ computers without a warrant.

For those reasons alone, ODNI cannot hide behind the veil of classification. Section 1.7 of Executive Order 13526 prohibits the use of classification for purposes of concealing government wrongdoing. And can anyone tell me with a straight face that ODNI is not trying to conceal government wrongdoing? [Continued on p. 2]

Updated FOIA requests, lawsuit for Seth Rich records, and quiet departure of FBI’s FOIA chief

I haven’t blogged much lately, in part due to a medical problem (not COVID, thankfully) that slowed me down considerably, but here’s a brief update:

  • On Monday, I filed an updated Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for records about Seth Rich, the Awan family, and government surveillance of journalists.
  • Re: Seth Rich, keep an eye on the National Security Division of the Justice Department. As you can see from the federal complaint, the NSD ignored a FOIA request that I filed back in 2018 for records about Seth Rich. And look at Paragraph 16, plus Exhibit 8. I think NSD is playing a bigger role in the “Russian hacking” narrative than most of us understood. By sending Seth Rich records there, it’s easier to keep things classified. So why would a “street robbery” investigation need to be classified?
  • In the Huddleston FOIA case, the government’s response is due on August 10, 2020. Mark your calendar. By that date, the FBI will have to explain what it has done to locate and produce records about Seth Rich. And this time around, the FBI doesn’t have the luxury of denying that the records exist.
  • Inspired by Sundance’s July 17, 2020 post at, this afternoon I filed a FOIA request for information about the undisclosed government contractors who were allowed to search the NSA database during the Obama regime. As explained by Sundance, it appears that the regime was indeed engaged in political surveillance, as some of the illegally-retrieved information ended up in the hands of Christopher Steele.
  • I also filed a more detailed FOIA request for information about government spying on journalists like Sharyl Attkisson and James Rosen during the Obama regime. As Ms. Attkisson has often noted, most journalists and journalism execs seem to shrug this off. Would they be so indifferent if Trump was doing the spying rather than Dear Leader Obama?

One more thing: A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the FBI’s FOIA letters were no longer signed by Section Chief David M. Hardy, but by Acting Section Chief Michael G. Seidel. What happened to Mr. Hardy? You may recall that Mr. Hardy filed a sworn declaration in 2018 claiming that the FBI searched its files and located no records about Seth Rich.

In September of 2019, however, Judicial Watch obtained an email string about Seth Rich in response to a FOIA request for communications between FBI lovebirds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, and in March of 2020 former U.S. Attorney Deborah Sines testified that the FBI had investigated Seth Rich’s laptop and his online accounts. In other words, Mr. Hardy’s testimony was false.

I repeatedly asked U.S. Attorney John Durham and DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to investigate whether Mr. Hardy lied under oath, and in an April 22, 2020 letter Mr. Horowitz wrote that he referred my complaint to the FBI’s Inspection Division. Was Mr. Hardy forced out? I don’t know, but if you have any inside information, please send it my way.

New FOIA lawsuit seeks FBI records about Seth Rich

This morning I filed a federal lawsuit in Sherman, Texas to force the FBI to release records about murdered Democratic National Committee employee Seth Rich. My friend and client Brian Huddleston filed a Freedom of Information Act request on April 4, 2020, and as usual the FBI ignored it, prompting the lawsuit.

As my regular readers know, I filed my own FOIA case two years ago in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, but that case has not been very productive. Suffice it to say that the judge in Brooklyn has shown a very strong interest in protecting the interests of the FBI.

n Friday, various media organizations reported that FBI General Counsel Dana Boente was forced to retire, and I hope that means the FBI’s cover-up regarding Seth Rich will soon come to an end… but I’m not holding my breath. If you want to help force the issue, please consider signing my White House petition [note: the hyperlink is not working, so you may need to cut and paste] to compel the release of records about Seth Rich. [continued on next page]