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Seth Rich Conspiracy Story Planted By Russian Intelligence: Report

Russian intelligence agents created a fake dossier that created the conspiracy theory around the murder of Seth Rich, the Democratic National Committee employee killed in Washington, D.C. three years ago this month, Yahoo News reported.

Yahoo reports that the Russian intelligence agency the SVR created a fake “bulletin” in the days after Rich’s murder, which occurred near the home he shared with roommates in a northern neighborhood of Washington, D.C., on the early morning of July 10. The main claims of that conspiracy — that Rich was planning to tell the FBI about election hacking he had uncovered from within the Hillary Clinton campaign, and was assassinated by Clinton’s personal hit squad — were first published broadly at whatdoesitmean.com, considered a propaganda tool of the Russian government.

Soon many other Russian sites, as well as American ones, were parroting that same conspiracy theory. It was picked up by Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, by Roger Stone, by the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, by Fox News and even by people who pledged to help the Rich family find the real killer. Fake social media accounts created by the Russian government-run Internet Research Agency spread the story online.

The former prosecutor in the case, Deborah Sines, interviewed for the podcast, said that she accessed two SVR reports on the conspiracy, and briefed former Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the case as well.

Yahoo’s report is part of a new six-episode podcast, “Conspiracyland,” which examines the Seth Rich story. Rich’s parents were interviewed for the podcast.

“You’re used, you’re lied to, you’re a pawn in your own son’s death,” Mary Rich, Seth Rich’s mother, told Yahoo. “I wish they had the chance to experience the hell we have gone through. Because this is worse than losing my son the first time. This is like losing him all over again.”

Ari Feldman is a staff writer at the Forward. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aefeldman

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