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Fox News retracts Seth Rich conspiracy story

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BY JOE CONCHA - 05/23/17 02:50 PM EDT

"Fox News on Tuesday retracted a story regarding the 2016 killing of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich after massive outcry over sharing conspiracy theories about the murder.

"On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich," the retraction reads. "The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting.”

"Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed.”

Fox did indicate, however, it will continue investigating the story.

Rich, 27, was shot and killed last year on the streets of Washington, D.C. Since his slaying, right-wing news outlets have sought to link his death, without evidence, to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the WikiLeaks release of hacked emails from the campaign.

Fox News host Sean Hannity has particularly focused on the Rich story in recent days, both on air and on Twitter.

The family of Seth Rich wrote a letter to Hannity's executive producer urging the primetime program to stop pushing the conspiracy theory.

“Think about how you would feel losing a son or brother. And while dealing with this, you had baseless accusations of your lost family member being part of a vast conspiracy," Aaron Rich wrote in the letter, which was provided to CNN.

"As the family, we would hope to be the first people to learn about any such evidence and reasons for Seth's death," Rich continued.

"It is a travesty that you would prompt false conspiracy theories and other people's agendas rather than work with the family to learn the truth."

The Rich family thanked Fox for the retraction.

"The family would like to thank Fox News for their retraction on a story that has caused deep pain and anguish to the family and has done harm to Seth Rich's legacy," a family spokesman told CNN.

"We are hopeful that in the future Fox News will work with the family to ensure the highest degree of professionally and scrutiny is followed so that only accurate facts are reported serving this case."

Hannity took to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon to defend his decision to cover the story..."

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Sean Hannity Loses Advertisers For Promoting Debunked Conspiracy Theory

Advertisers abandoned Bill O’Reilly when they learned that he paid millions to settle claims of sexual harassment. Now, some companies are dropping Sean Hannity for promoting a baseless conspiracy theory involving the murder of a DNC staffer last year.

With the loss of O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly, Sean Hannity is Fox’s last big star. His 10 p.m. broadcast regularly attracts over 2 million viewers. He is also one of the last links to former CEO Roger Ailes, who recently passed away, and former co-president Bill Shine, who left earlier this month.

Hannity has promoted the theory that, contrary to the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies, Russia did not hack the Democratic National Committee during last year’s election. Instead, he believes, 27-year-old DNC staffer Seth Rich leaked the documents to Wikileaks, and Rich was murdered not as the result of a bungled robbery, as the D.C. police say, but by allies of Bill and Hillary Clinton in retaliation for the leaks.

This is, of course, a load of hooey. There’s no evidence linking Rich to Wikileaks or of a vast conspiracy involving U.S. intelligence and the police. When Fox News published a story claiming there were contacts between Rich and Wikileaks, they later retracted the story, saying, “The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting.”

Seth Rich’s family pleaded with Fox to stop promoting the theory, and urged the D.C. police to release information to debunk it.

Nevertheless, Hannity persisted. Even after Fox retracted the story, and Hannity said he’d no longer discuss the story “out of respect for the family’s wishes, for now,” he promised his viewers, “I’m not going to stop trying to find the truth.”

Hannity persists because he wants to paint the ongoing investigation of ties between the Trump administration and Russia as a left-wing conspiracy. As he told his radio show audience on Tuesday, “the entire Russia collusion narrative is hanging by a thread.” On Twitter, he wrote, “If Seth was wiki source, no Trump/Russia collusion.”

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THIS is the bottom line. There isn't a there... there. The Russian hack and influence was and still is a dnc construct... never verified... wholly fabricated by the leftist ruling elite while obstructing the fbi, nsa... etc. It's  also another illustration of comey's incompetence... and the complicit media.

March 20, 2017: Then-FBI Director Comey and NSA Director Rogers appear before the House Intelligence Committee.

HURD: Have you been able to -- when did the DNC provide access for -- to the FBI for your technical folks to review what happened?

COMEY: Well we never got direct access to the machines themselves. The DNC in the spring of 2016 hired a firm that ultimately shared with us their forensics from their review of the system.

HURD: Director Rogers, did the NSA ever get access to the DNC hardware?

ROGERS: The NSA didn't ask for access. That's not in our job...

HURD: ... So director FBI notified the DNC early, before any information was put on Wikileaks and when -- you have still been -- never been given access to any of the technical or the physical machines that were -- that were hacked by the Russians.

COMEY: That's correct although we got the forensics from the pros that they hired which -- again, best practice is always to get access to the machines themselves, but this -- my folks tell me was an appropriate substitute.

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And who were the "pros" that supplied the fbi the forensics?

"June 14, 2016: The Washington Post reports "Russian government hackers penetrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee." On what did the paper base this claim? The Post cites "committee officials and security experts who responded to the breach."

These "security experts" are with CrowdStrike, a private cyber security firm hired and paid by the DNC.

While reading the following chronology, it is important to bear in mind that the FBI has never examined the DNC computer network because the DNC prohibited the FBI from doing so. Also, that the FBI, under former Director Comey, not to mention former President Obama and the "Intelligence Community," thought this was perfectly ok.

Another point: According to a NYT story that would be published on December 13, 2016, by mid-June of 2016, about when the DNC went public with claims of "Russian hacking," the DNC had already secretly replaced its entire computer system!

The Times reported:

In the six weeks after CrowdStrike’s arrival [in late April, it seems], in total secrecy, the computer system at the D.N.C. was replaced. ... All laptops were turned in and the hard drives wiped clean ...

This same Times story further noted that it was also in mid-June of 2016 that the DNC, its lawyer, Michael Sussman, and senior FBI officials met for the first time.

Among the early requests at that meeting, according to participants: that the federal government make a quick “attribution” formally blaming actors with ties to Russian government for the attack to make clear that it was not routine hacking but foreign espionage.

“You have a presidential election underway here and you know that the Russians have hacked into the D.N.C.,” Mr. Sussmann said, recalling the message to the F.B.I. “We need to tell the American public that. And soon.”

Was the evidence of this incendiary charge already "replaced"? If so, does that mean the evidence of "Russian hacking" was already destroyed before the FBI walked in the door?

I don't know the answers to these questions -- but I think they are perfectly good questions.


In the Washington Post story of June 14, 2016, DNC chief executive Amy Dacey explained to the Post what happened after she received a call from "her operations chief" about "unusual network activity" noticed by the IT team in "late April."

That evening, she spoke with Michael Sussman, a DNC lawyer who is a partner with Perkins Coie in Washington. Soon after, Sussmann, a former federal prosecutor who handled computer crime cases, called [CrowdStrike president Shawn Henry], whom he has known for many years.

I highlight "that evening" "DNC lawyer" "Perkins Coie" "Crowdstrike" and "many years" to highlight the political nature of this chain of damage control. Dacey spoke with Sussman, the DNC lawyer, that evening -- instead of, say, the FBI cyber crime unit that day. As a Perkins Coie partner, Sussmann is with the leading Democrat law firm: Perkins Coie has produced an Obama White House Counsel; a lawyer to ferry that copy of Obama's "birth certificate" from Hawaii to the White House; and it has represented the DNC, Democrats in Congress, Obama's presidential campaign, and, at that moment in June 2016, the Clinton presidential campaign.

With all of those Democrat interests in mind, the DNC and Perkins Coie chose to turn to CrowdStrike. Who, what is Crowdstrike? Here is one hair-raising theory. It is a fact that CrowdStrike's Moscow-born co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch is a nonresident senior fellow of the Atlantic Council, a globalist, interventionist and swampist think tank, which gave Hillary Clinton its Distinguished International Leadership Award in 2013.

The political nature of the DNC's choice of a politically connected cyber-security firm itself is not surprising; what is five-alarm-shocking, though, is that the FBI has never verified the firm's "Russian hacking" findings."

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