Republican Operative Behind WSJ Collusion "Bombshell" Committed Suicide

Tyler Durden's picture

A longtime Republican operative from Chicago’s North Shore who was at the center of a confusing Wall Street Journal story involving shadowy Russian hackers and Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 missing emails committed suicide, according to the Chicago Tribune. Peter W. Smith, 81, a former private equity executive and longtime political operative, killed himself in a Minnesota hotel room days after telling his story to a reporter from WSJ, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Smith left a carefully prepared file of documents, including a statement police described as a suicide note in which he said he was in ill health and that a life insurance policy was expiring.

Smith's death, which occurred on May 14, 10 days before the story was published, was one of the most bizarre developments in a hard-to-follow WSJ story that tried (and in our estimation, failed) to implicate former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in a sinister plot to enlist the help of some Russians to hack the 2016 election...thus 'proving' collusion.

In the story, Smith recounted to WSJ his mission to find Hillary Clinton’s missing 30,000 emails – the holy grail of opposition research – which he organized late in the summer of 2016. The project began over Labor Day weekend when Smith, who as WSJ notes had been “active in Republican politics,” assembled a group of technology experts, lawyers and a Russian-speaking investigator based in Europe to acquire emails the group theorized might have been stolen from the private server Mrs. Clinton used as secretary of state. Smith believed that, once found, at least some of the emails would prove to be relevant to her official duties at the State Department, handing the Trump campaign an enormous PR victory and possibly proving that she knowingly misled investigators.

Smith & Co. scoured hacker forums, ultimately finding 5 groups who claimed to have the missing emails, 2 of which were Russian.  However, Smith seemingly doubted the authenticity of the intelligence he received and, as a result, never leaked their contents.

Even more confusing, Smith says he eventually turned over the emails to Wikileaks, but the group hasn’t published them, and denies ever having received them. Smith told the WSJ reporter that he’d considered Flynn an ally, but stopped short of alleging that the two worked together on the project.

Of course, it's only deep in the story that the WSJ admits they have no idea if Flynn was even involved with Smith...but no one reads an entire article so it's fairly irrelevant.

What role, if any, Mr. Flynn may have played in Mr. Smith’s project is unclear. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Smith said he knew Mr. Flynn, but he never stated that Mr. Flynn was involved.

And another irrelevant detail from the WSJ:

Mr. Smith said he worked independently and wasn’t part of the Trump campaign.

Smith was found with a bag over his head with a source of helium attached. A medical examiner's report gives the same account, without specifying the time, and a report from the Rochester, Minnesota police further details his suicide, according to the Chicago Tribune. Smith's death occurred at the Aspen Suites in Rochester, records show. They list the cause of death as "asphyxiation due to displacement of oxygen in confined space with helium."

In the note recovered by police, Smith apologized to authorities and said that "NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER" was involved in his death. He wrote that he was taking his own life because of a "RECENT BAD TURN IN HEALTH SINCE JANUARY, 2017" and timing related "TO LIFE INSURANCE OF $5 MILLION EXPIRING."

Mystery shrouded how and where Smith had died, but the lead reporter on the stories said on a podcast he had no reason to believe the death was the result of foul play and that Smith likely had died of natural causes.

Smith had been staying at the hotel – in a room typically used by patients of the Mayo Clinic - for several days and had extended his stay at least once but was expected to check out on the day his body was found. "Tomorrow is my last day," Smith told a hotel worker on May 13 while he worked on a computer in the business center, printing documents, according to the police reports.

One of Smith's former employees told the Tribune he thought the elderly man had gone to the famed clinic to be treated for a heart condition. Mayo spokeswoman Ginger Plumbo said Thursday she could not confirm Smith had been a patient, citing medical privacy laws.

Smith had a history of doing opposition research against President Bill Clinton and had a hand in exposing the “Troopergate” allegations about Bill Clinton's sex life.

His obituary said Smith was involved in public affairs for more than 60 years and described him as a "quietly generous champion of efforts to ensure a more economically and politically secure world." Smith led private equity firms in corporate acquisitions and venture investments for more than 40 years. Earlier, he worked with DigaComm LLC from 1997 to 2014 and as the president of Peter W. Smith & Co. from 1975 to 1997. Before that, he was a senior officer of Field Enterprises Inc., a firm that then owned the Chicago Sun-Times and was held by the Marshall Field family, his obituary said.

Smith's last will and testament, signed last Feb. 21, is seven pages long and on file in Probate Court in Lake County, Illinois. The will gives his wife his interest in their residential property and his tangible personal property and says remaining assets should be placed into two trusts.

He was born Feb. 23, 1936, in Portland, Maine, according to the death record.

His late father, Waldo Sterling Smith, was a manufacturer's representative for women's apparel firms, representing them in department stores in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, according to the father's 2002 obituary. The elder Smith died at age 92 in St. Augustine, Fla., and his obit noted that he had been active in St. Johns County, Fla., Republican affairs and with a local Methodist church. Peter Smith wrote two blog posts dated the day before he was found dead. One challenged U.S. intelligence agency findings that Russia interfered with the 2016 election. Another post predicted: "As attention turns to international affairs, as it will shortly, the Russian interference story will die of its own weight."

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moorewasthebestbond's picture



Like I always say, suicide can sometimes be the honorable thing to do.

Cheka_Mate's picture

As they say in Arkansas 

"It's been known to happen..."

Son of Loki's picture

His suicide note said, "No foul play whatsoever."

Q: Was it typed before or after he 'sucided' himself?

bamawatson's picture

"do we find the cost of freedom guried in the ground?"

HopefulCynical's picture

And the lemmings traipse merrily over the cliff. Nothing to see here, people...move along...

tmosley's picture

TDS claims yet another victim.

Jim Sampson's picture

I wouldn't be surpirse if the note itself said "NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER, SUPER SERIAL"

Occident Mortal's picture

This whole Russia thing is a joke now.





Let that sink in for a moment. The victims of the crime, destroyed the evidence of the crime, and they spent a lot of time and money to destroy it properly.

Creepy_Azz_Crackaah's picture

Suicide note: "BTW - Seth Rich died of a mugging gone wrong."

Pinto Currency's picture

More today:

Cernovich: Klaus Eberwein Found Dead Before Testifying Against Clinton Foundation

Whoa Dammit's picture

How does someone get a tank of helium to kill themselves with? I don't think the average person can just go buy one.

francis_the_wonder_hamster's picture

It's actually pretty hard to do.  As a technical diver, one of our biggest, and growing, challenges is securing reliable sources of helium year in and year out.  The stuff is finite on this planet and we are running out.....absent a few nuclear blasts.

junction's picture

No, it is not that hard to do if you have a connection with a supplier of industrial gases like acetylene, oxygen and helium.  The problem for an outsider is that the one-use helium tanks for balloon inflation that you see on sale at Amazon are tanks containing an air-helium mix.  Older tanks may still have all helium in them but these tanks have no identifying marks, AFAIK. Amazon reviewers complained about the diluted helium tanks, the balloons lack buoyancy after a short while.  Several years ago, I was getting two oxygen tanks filled at a gas supplier (you need a prescription, by the way).  On one side by the filling station, they were about 8 big tanks, maybe six feet high, wrapped with some blue ribbon type spongy foam forming a diamond pattern.  I asked the worker there what was in the tanks and he said helium for the Cold Spring Harbor lab and left it at that.  Clinton privatized the Feds' helium reserve storage facility in Amarillo, Texas in 1996, little realizing that action will have the unforseen consequence now of  making it very hard for someone like Smith to get pure helium to use as a suicide gas.  Assuming, of course, his hyoid bone was not broken when he was strangled first by two female former Mossad agents posing as hotel cleaning ladies. 

jeff montanye's picture

this (additional) murder offers further openings for the alternative media and its investigative journalists. some other vulnerabilities strike me as: why did the fbi and now mueller's special counsel never get to look at the dnc's servers that the dnc announced had had emails stolen from them last summer and from which guccifer 2.0 (pretty much proven to be the dnc itself) announced s/he had taken emails, just in time for the cloud strike (ex fbi and current george soros founded) initiated media pile on starting with vice magazine accusing gucci of being russian (as instructed by cloud strike).  this is very fertile ground and there is absolutely no telling what goodies may await a good forensic perusal of the dnc data servers.

next up: why did the fbi (and now mueller's special counsel) never investigate the murder of seth rich?  here he was a dnc data analyst/manager murdered between the announcement of the theft and its full publication, in a good section of town, on a cell phone call, nothing taken, beaten badly, shot twice in the back yet not actually killed, taken to hospital where, possibly, many squirrelly things happened (let's break through that hipaa clusterfuck with a good search warrant), dead by morning, reward offered by julian assange of wikileaks, publisher of the complete emails (not snippets like gucci), something wikileaks has never done before or since.  seth rich could have been a russian or trump agent or both.  and the fbi, charged with solving the email thefts, does not even glance at his phone or computer?  that is too much for anyone to believe, unless their job or their life depends on their believing it.  or unless the fbi is accessory to first degree murder (wouldn't be the first time but this looks a little hinky even for them).

and after both of these incidents have been fully explicated for the sheeple and the truthers both, maybe it's close to time to ask for a real investigative run through of the storied events earlier this century starting with this television interview:

Kayman's picture

Mueller has one job. Destroy Donald Trump.  This drip, drip, drip gossip carnival is just the prelude to the planting/construction of "evidence".

Naturally they will find "intent" in this case.

The Deep State isn't going to happily let the supply of warm blood to their carcasses end without throwing all the rancid shit they can muster up.

wildbad's picture

+1 for the clinton / DNC body count.

anyone knows that insurance does not pay when its a suicide...except the dummies on the hit team.

the gas is plausible but nitrous would be better.

near the mayo for treatment is what i heard..not just a coincidence.

his friends knew nothing of an illness

Ragmar's picture

Not true, typical insurance policies deny benefits for suicides only in the first two years of being in force.  The language is specific to each policy.  

eclectic syncretist's picture

Helium is an inert gas, meaning it is stable and unreactive. It is made by stars during fusion of four hydrogen atoms into one molecule of helium gas, but on earth helium is purified as a byproduct from natural gas, and the US has some of the largest reserves of helium of any country.

He could have used nitrogen or carbon dioxide rather than helium if procurement was an issue.

Overfed's picture

Helium is a monatomic element on earth.

EddieLomax's picture

It seems an awfully elaborate way of going about killing yourself when carbon monoxide is far more deadly.  True, you cannot live on either of them, but the carbon monoxide gets absorbed by the red blood cells so you are going to lose conciousness and die quickly from even a relatively low concentration of instead perhaps getting 20% of the oxygen you need and just giving yourself massive brain damage.

I'm surprized he didn't choose the currently popular in Washington method of suicide, shooting yourself multiple times in the back/back of head, that seems reliable too...

True Blue's picture

While it is in short supply, helium is still available from industrial gas suppliers. I blend my own Nitrox and Heliox for scuba diving (you aren't getting my stax off the bottom without tri-mix unless you want to get either Ox-Tox or bent) and haven't yet had a serious issue getting the pure, uncontaminated gasses necessary to tri-blend. And have never needed a script -yet.

divingengineer's picture

That's why it is typically recycled in deep sea diving operations, where practical.

MalteseFalcon's picture

Go to the party section of WalMart.

Helium tanks right there for $15.

The tank says right on it: "for blowing up balloons, not for suicide."

a Smudge by any other name's picture

They also say "Warning: can not to be used for throwing at somebody's head because not only is it totally ineffective, it will just piss them off."

VinceFostersGhost's picture



for blowing up balloons


Or talking like a Chipmunk....

Dragon HAwk's picture

they sell them to fill up party balloons, a tank of propane torch fuel will do in a pinch. any gas that replaces oxygen in your lungs will work

SoDamnMad's picture

Strange he had his hands tied behind his back. How did he turn the valves on? sarc

EddieLomax's picture

And he probably broke and clawed at the furniture as he started to pass out.  Nothing to see here, please keep moving.

consider me gone's picture

You can buy helium for balloons at birthday parties. How hard could it be? A business license at most.

Straw Dog's picture

There is a childens toy, which is/was for sale at ToysRUs, it included an inflatable balloon and an attached aerosol can of hellium, I played around with one.

TuPhat's picture

Helium is available at most party stores to fill balloons.  The tanks are a little bit smaller than a small propane tank and not expensive.

DrZipp's picture

Party City?  I also have gotten small ones from Costco.

logicalman's picture

Nitrogen would have worked just as well.

Cheaper and more easily available.

Giant Meteor's picture

Repeat after me ..

In the note recovered by police, Smith apologized to authorities and said that "NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER" was involved in his death. He wrote that he was taking his own life because of a "RECENT BAD TURN IN HEALTH SINCE JANUARY, 2017" and timing related "TO LIFE INSURANCE OF $5 MILLION EXPIRING."

Walking Turtle's picture

Friend Dammit,

Acquisition of industrial gases in general (at least in the US) is far from proscribed.  There's always a deposit on the bottle (various sizes available) and a fee for the content, based on the cubic feet contained therein.  One MUST have some manner of flow-rate regulator (easily acquired at Point of Sale) to avoid discharging the entire contents in One Swell Phoop.  Also at least a decent adjustable wrench to attach the regulator to the bottle at the valve on top.

One expects that any well-stocked Party Supply Center would gladly do the whole transaction in the case of Helium.  One need merely buy a dozen or so mylar balloons, too, at purchase-time - the which can easily be discarded once "home" - or even <i>en route</i> back to the pad. 

Easy-peasy - and in light of that man's career and general standing, maybe a little TOO easy at that.

Which is why *I* want to know whether the cops on the scene ever found any new-packaged or new-like balloons in or near the room - wastebaskets, dumpster contents, automobile boot etc included.  Even criminals, when allowed to "get away with it", MIGHT learn how to engineer a Clean Deniable Zero-Evidence Kill, one expects.  For that matter, where is that WRENCH, anyway???

A trace of the bottle by its serial number would additionally finger its wholesale supplier.  From there the retail center that sold it could be identified for further examination.

After all, Helium is not classed as a toxic or otherwise dangerous gas, as would be chlorine or hydrogen.  It's easy to inhale, being non-flammable, non-corrosive and having no particular odor at all.  (Done it mese'f to make me voice be like Donald Duck for a few comical moments, fwiw.) 

And Miz H's krue have been at it a L-O-N-G time now, oi veh gevult. SOMEONE within THAT foul org just MIGHT have actually LEARNED something HELPFUL, hm...   

Just sayin'!  Mere well-informed forensic-grade theory.  (Being a lifelong industrial+exhibition glassblower one learns such things early, along the way.) 

Got me own s'picions, is all.  And that is all.  0{:-|o[

veritas semper vinces's picture

I hope you  are not insinuating something against Clintons. we all know "they are good people and have suffered enough"

Vigilante's picture

The Clinton Killing Machine still in full swing.

....but tell me more abt the ludicrous, fake Russsiagate.

nmewn's picture

Natalia V lies her way into a meeting with Trump Jr June 9 2016 and a month later Seth is murdered.  

The unmistakable stench of a Clinton. 

MsCreant's picture

And the hits just keep commin'.

clymer's picture


+1 for creativity though. Helium.. Who woulda thunk

FatTony7915726's picture

Five bullets to the back of the head & one in the forehead was definitely a suicide.  Case closed!

EuroPox's picture

And, here's another one!
Eberwein was supposed to appear before the Haitian Senate’s Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission next Tuesday - he was expected to testify that the Clinton Foundation misappropriated Haiti earthquake donations from international donors... but clearly decided that shooting himself in the head was a better option.

Whoa Dammit's picture

From the above article:  "He was also a partner in a popular pizza restaurant in Haiti, Muncheez, and has a pizza — the Klaus Special — named after him."

EuroPox's picture

Yeah I noticed that but it doesn't say if they have any ping pong tables there.

dfwpike's picture

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you commit suicide doesn't that make your life insurance policy null and void?

MalteseFalcon's picture

Yes.   Null and void.


Sokhmate's picture

Nail & void, if you soucided yourself with a nailgun (doubletaps ok)

VegasBob's picture

The suicide provision in a life insurance policy normally is in effect for only one or two years, depending on the state where it was issued.  After that, the insurance company would have to pay off...