The bombshell story which broke last week from the Wall Street Journal has shed additional light on the Trump Campaign’s possible, perhaps even likely, collusion with Russia to tilt the election in their favor. The interview of the GOP operative Peter W. Smith would have certainly led to dozens of media outlets reaching out to him for follow-up questions, but that’s now impossible. Peter W. Smith passed away on May 14th, just 10 days after the WSJ talked to him.
This story has intrigued me, not only because it is the first such story to actually link Trump campaign officials to possible Russian hackers, but also because of the fact that we don’t know the circumstances of Smith’s death. The coroner and his family have remained quiet up until this point. Yes, I do understand that any 81-year-old man, even one who appears to be in great health, could die at any time, but it’s not just the timing of his death which perplexes me.
Like most journalists covering this story likely have done, I have paid a visit to Smith’s personal blog at PeterWSmith.com. At first glance, the website appears to be just an ordinary blog with a political slant to it, but once I began reading Smith’s entries I realized that it’s a direct line into the man’s head. Perhaps I could get a better feel for what Smith was thinking leading up to his death. After all, he even made two short entries into the blog on May 13, the day before he passed away.
Before I get into his blog entries, let’s first look back at the circumstances of the Wall Street Journal interview, on or around May 4th. Smith actually reached out to the WSJ as he seemed very interested in providing his story to them. Staff writer Shane Harris met with Smith, who he said seemed to be in very good health. Following the interview, Harris believed he’d likely meet with him several more times in the weeks and months to follow, but Smith’s death obviously prevented such meetings. Smith also seemed very happy to discuss the matter, was seemingly proud of his work and extremely forthright.
Smith went on to explain to Harris that he had created a group which he hoped could acquired the 33,000 missing emails that Clinton deleted. In doing so, he talked to five different hacking groups who claimed to have access to the emails, 2 of which were likely from Russia, working with or on behalf of the Russian government. Smith also implicated Michael Flynn and Michael Flynn Jr. by showing documents alleging that both men were working with his group. Later documents obtained by the WSJ that Smith used to try and recruit computer experts for his group showed that Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway and others within the Trump campaign were also tied to his work in some way. Smith’s interview basically linked those working for the Trump Campaign to Russian Hackers, showing that Flynn and others within the campaign were in fact at least trying to work with foreign hostile powers in order to obtain dirt on Trump’s opponent.
On or around May 4th, the time of the interview with Shane Harris from the WSJ, Smith was completely forthcoming with this information. Meanwhile, what he began posting publicly to his blog shortly after, told an entirely different story.
On May 6th, just two days after his interview with Harris, Smith posted an article he wrote, titled “Tinfoil Hat Coalition Reaches End of Line With Trump- Russia Connection.” It reads as follows:
“No less a source than FBI Director James Comey has said there is no bear there on the Trump-Russia connection. Comey’s comment came in the response noted in the New York Post story linked here. This is significant because Comey is not only the investigator, but he also steps into the role of judge and jury.
Other parties who have reached the same conclusion are: former acting CIA Director Mike Morell, who said there is no connection, as did former intel czar General James Clapper. The press and the Dems have no storyline, other than their campaign theme that the Russians caused Hillary’s loss.
This story will play through slowly, as numerous House and Senate committees want in on the action, and the same witnesses will be taken over the coals in numerous forms.
The real story is the manner in which information on the key Republican targets, General Mike Flynn, Roger Stone, and Carter Page, were outed by the Obama administration. Former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice can with a straight face say she did not leak information to the press, as she did not need to. The Obama administration shared with all of the countless intel agencies information gathered just prior to their departure, ensuring that a leak would occur somewhere.”
Then again Smith posted another story on May 13th, a day prior to his sudden death, titled “Three Agencies, Not 17, Behind Russian Interference Allegations”. This story tried to dissuade readers from the Russian narrative by arguing that only three agencies, the NSA, CIA and FBI were alleging Russian interference into our elections, not 17 like the mainstream media had been claiming. Smith also tried to say that these three agencies are all “suspect in terms of their credibility”, and pro-Democratic.
So the question must be asked, why, just a couple days after being so liberal in his interview with the WSJ, revealing information which seemed to point to the Trump Campaign colluding with Russia, was Smith now suddenly posting the opposite on his public blog? Did Smith perhaps receive some sort of threat? Did he realize that he took things too far and may have blown the cover of those he had worked with?
I’m certainly not one for conspiracy theories, and I’m not by any means suggesting that Smith’s death was some sort of murder/cover-up, but I’m also pointing out that something doesn’t add up here and things should be investigated further. Someone is lying here. Is it the right-leaning Wall Street Journal publishing accounts of Smith’s interview incorrectly? I doubt it. So is Smith himself a liar here? If so, who did he lie to? Was it the WSJ in the interview, or the readers of his public blog in his efforts to perhaps appease someone threatening him for speaking to the media?