Peter W. Smith: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Twitter/Peter W. Smith

Peter W. Smith's Twitter page. His most recent tweets were replies referencing his blog.

Peter W. Smith, 81, was found dead just 10 days after he admitted to trying to get Hillary Clinton’s missing emails from Russian hackers.  He left a note behind in all caps saying there was “NO FOUL PLAY” involved. His death has now become the subject of quite a few conspiracies, from both the Clinton side and the Trump side. Just before he died, he wrote a personal blog post about Russia.

Here’s what you need to know.

1. After an Interview With the Wall Street Journal, He Was Found Dead with a Note that Said ‘NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER’

After Smith talked to the Wall Street Journal about how he was trying to get Hillary Clinton’s missing emails from Russia hackers, he was found dead just 10 days later, on May 14. The stories were published in late June. The reporter said at the time that he believed Smith died of natural causes and wasn’t killed. But the Chicago Tribune learned from a death record that Smith had committed suicide.

Smith was found with a bag tied over his head, attached to a helium source. A funeral home employee said they saw a helium tank in his room. The employee told The Chicago Tribune that it was about the size of a propane tank.

Smith was found in a hotel near the Mayo Clinic on Sunday, May 14. The cause of death was listed as: “asphyxiation due to displacement of oxygen in confined space with helium.” The Rochester Police Chief had said the cause of death was “unusual,” according to The Chicago Tribune. But others said the method was fairly well known.

Police found a note left behind by Smith, written in all caps, The Chicago Tribune reported. The note included the following:




Smith left behind a wife, Janet L. Smith, three children and three grandchildren. His will gives his interest in his residential and personal property to his wife, and the rest of his assets will be placed in two trusts.

It’s not known what was wrong with Smith’s health. A former employee thought he had a heart condition that was being treated, but a Mayo clinic spokeswoman would not confirm.

The death certificate wasn’t easy to obtain. In early July, The Palmer Report shared that they were having trouble tracking it down, because state law typically only let you file a request for a death certificate if you were claiming property related to the death.

2. He Said He Found Five Groups of Hackers Who Claimed to Have the Emails

Smith was on a quest to get Hillary Clinton’s emails and he thought Russian hackers were his best bet, he told The Wall Street Journal. He had assembled his team in September 2016, before the election, theorizing that the emails might have been stolen from her private server. He was specifically wanting the 30,000 personal emails that Clinton had deleted.

He told The Wall Street Journal that he found five groups of hackers, including two Russian groups, who claimed to have the missing emails.

He also implied that he had been working with retired Lt. Gen Mike Flynn while Flynn was an advisor to Trump. He told a computer expert who was working for him at the time that he was talking to Flynn about his research. When he spoke with The Wall Street Journal, Smith only said that he knew Flynn but did not say Flynn was involved in his investigation.

Some have said that Smith might be the missing link in a Trump-Russia probe, if he was collaborating with Trump’s campaign while trying to get the emails. He said he was working independently.

3. Smith Did Opposition Research on Other Politicians in the Past, Including Bill Clinton

This wasn’t Smith’s first time researching a political opponent. The Republican had a history of doing opposition research on politicians, including Bill Clinton. He played a role in exposing some allegations about Bill Clinton’s sex life, namely Troopergate, along with wanting to look into a trip Bill Clinton had taken to the Soviet Union in 1969, The Chicago Tribune reported. He later said he had spent $80,000 back then trying to get negative information about Bill Clinton into the mainstream media.

Smith had worked in public affairs for more than 60 years, and was also an investment banker managing mergers and acquisitions.

But he was especially known for his work with Republicans. A 1995 Craig’s Chicago Business article said that he was a confidante of Newt Gingrich and was one of his earliest supporters, donating more than $109,000 since 1989. The article went on to say that he hosted lunches in the Wrigley Building for “visiting GOP luminaries.”

In a hacked email released on DC Leaks, Smith wrote in October 2015 about how he had a great talk with Matt Boyle, Washington Political Editor for Breitbart, about “the Speaker story” and how the story would “bubble over weekend and bloom on Monday.” This referenced a story that was going to try to force Paul Ryan out of his role as Speaker of the House.

Smith said he wasn’t upset about his emails possibly being hacked. “I’m not upset at all. I try in my communications, quite frankly, not to say anything that would be embarrassing if made public.”

4. Smith Actively Disagreed on His Blog About Russia Interfering with the Election, and Wrote a Post About It the Day Before He Died

Smith spent a great deal of time on his blog,, disagreeing with the idea that Russians interfered with the election. Although his website is currently down, a look at Internet Archive reveals his posts. He wrote two the day before he died. One headline read: “Three Agencies, Not 17, Behind Russian Interference Allegations.”

On May 6 he wrote: “Tinfoil Hat Coalition Reaches End of Life with Trump-Russia Connection.” The post reads:

His blog posts alternated between support and advice for Trump and disagreements with the Democratic Party and mainstream stories about Russia. He had been posting on his blog since November 11, 2016, but in recent times his posts were getting shorter and shorter.

5. His Death Has Been the Subject of Conspiracy Theories

Peter W. Smith’s death was immediately the subject of conspiracy theories, and the note he left behind has done nothing to quell them.

Some of the conspiracies stem from the long-running conspiracy about “Clinton body bags” and rumors that people who had incriminating evidence died. Snopes covered these rumors extensively. But his death is also sparking rumors from the opposite side, based on his possible connections to Trump. It seems that everyone is finding a reason to talk about Smith’s death.

Here are some reactions currently circulating online to the latest news about Smith:


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If you are a RESPONSIBLE member of the GOP, and you want your boss to win on his own MERIT, then you don’t run around trying to get the “GOODS” on your boss’ political opponent, by COLLUDING with “Russian HACKERS”! And so… in addition to Trumpy Junior attempting to secure what was believed by Junior to be a “sure thing” on Hillary Clinton from a Russian lawyer (but then, said by Junior to be bogus!), you also have a member of the GOP COLLUDING with “Russian HACKERS” to get “THE GOODS” on Hillary, THROUGH THE PROCUREMENT OF S-T-O-L-E-N DNC EMAILS! It’s time, for JAIL TIME!
Please!… no emails!… Jesus is Lord!


Please seek help or you’ll probably end up committing suicide yourself…..isn’t interesting though that Seth Rich had these emails and now Peter Smith and they’re both dead??? So, your thinking is that Trump did it so he wouldn’t capitalize on Shillary’s emails to the Russians?? Yep, you need help badly with your TDS…

Kitty Carlisle

This is Trump to the hilt. A murderous racketeer Mobster Monster. Wrong person dIed. Should be ALL people with the last name TRUMP.


Yeah like I guess John Bush, Anthrax singer during their terrible period (93-2008) has to be hanged from a tree too?

Your post makes no sense. This guy was a scumbag, but David Brock and the other fruitcake who ran correcttherecord (Brock ran mediamatters if I remember well) were not doing massive opposition research…and mostly did so on Bernie Sanders, had you let Sanders win like he did, those 12 states Hitlery stole from Bernie, which is now proven in stone, none of this bad Trump shit would be happening (not american and not a trump fan, but neither a clinton fan, a pure neutral eye like me can say so. I say next elections…hell primaries in 2018 be observed by the UN, y’know the thing the US is enforcing on so many countries while your system is rigged with the machines, votes that are not counted (up to 60k in Wayne County (Detroit) having no votes for the President, where yes, if those were counted and those machines ditched and voter suppression in the flyover states didn’t make it so a guy named Jeff Hernandez can’t vote at all in the US because another Jeff Hernandez in another state is prevented from the way 48 states out of 50 allow convicted felons to vote after a few years, yet that law isn’t enforced, they’re out of the game forever. Like Clinton supporters. She could barely get 500 people in a hotel conference room while outside Bernie rallies had thousands of people getting registered, some becoming delegates etc.

The real travesty to Democracy happened in the Democratic Party. Oh the irony…


‘…mediamatters and CTR were both opposition research, internet trolling, misinformation/disinformation campaigns for Hillary’, sorry jumped ahead a bit there. Bill Clinton did things as slimy as Nixon and all were mostly kept under the radar. But the number of close people to the white house like Vince Foster and Ron Brown being killed (Ron Brown’s murder is not even disputable). Anyway, good luck with your illusions that politics are played clean by the Democrats. They sometimes are, like Obama’s first term, again the opposition research was his against Hillary. Then he 4 aces in his hand, congress, senate, judiciary and blew it, blew it so bad. Not as visibly as Trump, but the implications of all that he blew are mankind-destructive, potentially. And your kind is forcing Trump’s hand into doing even worse shit like those new sanctions on Russia…on Iran (wtf?) and North Korea (sanctions fly by, it doesn’t affect the elite government body and army scientists to make missiles). China’s not too happy with Trump so it’s letting its guard dog bark harder than ever.

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