FBI pushes back on judge’s release order, claims it’d take 66 years to release info on Seth Rich’s computer

The subject of Seth Rich, the DNC staffer who was found murdered in July 2016 in Washington, D.C.’s Bloomingdale neighborhood, has long fueled conspiracy theories and it seems the FBI, in attempting to prevent the release of information found on Rich’s laptop computer, is happy to huck buckets of metaphorical gasoline onto the flames of skepticism surrounding his death.

In September, the Bureau was ordered by a federal judge to turn over the information, which the FBI had previously denied it had.

“With regard to Seth Rich’s laptop, the Court finds the Government improperly withheld this information under FOIA Exemptions 6 and 7(C),” ruled Judge Mazzant, adding, “the Government shall produce the information it possesses related to Seth Rich’s laptop and responsive to Plaintiff’s FOIA requests within 14 days of this Order.”

 

In an October 27 filing, the FBI asked the judge to reconsider that decision.

“The FBI requests clarification and/or reconsideration of the Court’s Order concerning the applicability of Exemptions 7(D)-3 and 7(E)-6 to the compact disc containing images of Seth Rich’s personal computer,” the filing reads. “If this motion is denied, the FBI requests that this Court enter a stay to allow the FBI time to review and process the contents of the compact disc containing images of Seth Rich’s personal laptop to withhold the names and other identifying information of third parties mentioned pursuant to FOIA Exemption 6 and 7(C), at a 500 page per month production schedule.”

According to the feds, “While the exact amount of data contained on the disc is not known, the FBI estimates that the images of Seth Rich’s personal laptop comprise approximately 400,000 pages, plus images and videos.”

“At that rate, 6,000 pages containing information potentially relevant to Rich’s murder would be processed — but not necessarily released — every year over the course of the next 66 years,” The Blaze reports.

As BizPac Review reported in 2016, suspicions surrounding the death of 27-year-old Rich sprang up almost immediately and reached a fevered pitch after Wikileaks founder Julian Assange went on Fox News and offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of his killer.

Speaking to Megyn Kelly, Assange suggested that Rich was behind the leak of emails that proved the DNC rigged the presidential primary in favor of Hillary Clinton.

“We’re very interested in anything that might be a threat to alleged WikiLeak sources,” he said. “We’re not saying that Seth Rich’s death necessarily is connected to our publication. That’s something that has to be established. But if there’s any question about a source of WikiLeaks being threatened, then people can be assured that this organization will go after anyone who may have been involved in some kind of attempt to coerce or possibly, in this case, kill a potential source.”

While Rich’s wallet, credit cards, watch, and cellphone were still on him when his body was discovered, police initially claimed he was murdered as the result of a botched robbery.

In 2017, private investigator Rod Wheeler told Fox 5 that the computer was key to solving the case.

“Neither the police department nor the FBI have been forthcoming,” he stated at the time. “They haven’t been cooperating at all. I believe that the answers to solving his death lies on that computer, which is either at the police department or at the FBI. I have been told both.”

Citing a source within the D.C. police department, Wheeler claimed D.C. police were told to “stand down” in its investigation of Rich’s death.

“I have a source inside the police department that has looked at me straight in the eye and said, ‘Rod, we were told to stand down on this case, and I can’t share any information with you,'” he stated. “That’s highly unusual for a murder investigation, especially from a police department. I don’t think it comes from the chief’s office, but I do believe there is a correlation between the mayor’s office and the DNC.”

Wheeler later went on CNN and walked the claim back.

In September 2017, attorney Ty Clevenger filed a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request asking the FBI to provide “information on Seth Riche’s involvement in the DNC e-mail leaks,” The Blaze reports, adding, “The request included, but was not limited to, ‘any records or correspondence resulting from any investigation of [Seth Rich’s] murder.'”

On September 19, 2017, David M. Hardy, FBI section chief in charge of records, responded, claiming, “We were unable to identify mail file records responsive to the FOIA.”

According to Clevenger, the “FBI is hiding documents about murdered Democratic National Committee employee Seth Rich … so this morning I requested a criminal investigation into the cover-up.”

Once considered just another tin-foil claim, the FBI was eventually forced to admit that it was, in fact, in possession of “over 20,000 pages of potentially relevant material” after Texan Brian Huddleston, represented by Clevenger, filed a second FOIA request in 2020.


In a later claim, the FBI stated that “the compact disc containing images of Seth Rich’s personal computer was provided to the FBI by a local law enforcement agency.”

It was in September that Obama-nominated U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant ruled that the “FBI improperly withheld this information under FOIA.”

Had it not been for Huddleston, Mazzant wrote, “it is likely that the Government’s failure to locate over 20,000 pages of potentially responsive records would have gone unnoticed.”

Speaking to the Epoch Times, Clevenger said, “After dealing with the FBI for five years, I now assume that the FBI is lying to me unless and until it proves otherwise. The FBI is desperately trying to hide records about Seth Rich, and that begs the question of why.”

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