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For several months, the consensus within the intelligence services and the mainstream media has been that Russia hacked the emails of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hilary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta during the 2016 presidential election.

Some critics of that view, however, suggested that the “Russian hack” may have been an inside job by a disgruntled Bernie Sanders supporter or a rogue campaign staffer, in part or in whole.

On Monday night, the local Washington, D.C. Fox affiliate reported that a private investigator working for the family of murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich believes that “there is tangible evidence on Rich’s laptop that confirms he was communicating with WikiLeaks prior to his death.” Wikileaks released the DNC and Podesta emails, and is widely believed to have connections with Russian intelligence, although the organization has denied that claim.

Rich was murdered in the early hours of July 20, 2016, and the case has never been solved. His shocking death “set off a flurry of international speculation and conspiracy theories” the Daily Mail reported last August, “including claims that Rich, who worked in the voter access department, leaked sensitive DNC documents to Wikileaks.” One of those “conspiracy theories” may now be more substantive than initially suspected, if the laptop claim is true.

Rod Wheeler, the private investigator, told Fox 5 that the laptop is in the possession of the FBI or the local police, but he has not been able to confirm either. Nor has anyone provided public evidence of a motive in the Rich murder, other than robbery.

Pending further evidence, the idea that the DNC hack was an inside job is still just a conspiracy theory — but no crazier than the idea that Russia colluded with Donald Trump, for which no evidence has emerged.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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