Debunked: Podesta's "Wet Works" Refers to Assassinations [Firing People & Other Unpopular Tasks]

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member

Podesta Wet Works Martha.jpg

Summary: By "wet works" Podesta was referring to personnel changes in the Clinton Campaign after the disastrous 20 point loss to Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire primary that day.

In an email that John Podesta sent to Steve Elmendorf, he said:

"Didn't think wet works meant pool parties at the Vineyard"

Since this email was sent four days before Justice Scalia's death it is being promoted as evidence that Scalia was assassinated. By all accounts, including Scalia's family, he died of natural causes. But what of this small piece of evidence? Is that true that Podesta could only be referring to an assassination?

Look at the context of the email. Elmendorf talks of a "rough night", and the date is Feb 9, 2016. That's the day of the New Hampshire primary, which was won decisively by Bernie Sanders, finishing 20 points ahead of Clinton. That's obviously what the "rough night" refers to. The most likely thing that "wet works" refers to is the subsequent bloodletting within the Clinton Campaign - i.e. firing people. Described in the media as a potential "bloodbath".

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiep...n-bloodbath-after-new-hampshire-loss-n2117430
The term was also used by Keith Olbermann
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/22574559/...atthews/t/new-hampshire-primary-coverage-jan/
"Wet works" or just "wetwork" is actually an a euphemism for murder or assassination, however the usage is not limited to that - it can also mean tough or distasteful work. While it's not a common phrase, a brief search of the internet shows several usages that do not involve killing people. In fact it most commonly is used in the context of staff reorganizations with terminations.

https://www.ft.com/content/08fd0306-14c6-11dd-a741-0000779fd2ac
Notice the other similar words there: "rough up", "kneecap", "dispose of". Clearly these are meant figuratively, as it's just an article about encouraging people to speak up in boardroom debates. The reference is about getting rid of team members who are not working out. Just like with the Clinton campaign.

https://books.google.com/books?id=sdKQDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA141&lpg=PA141
http://www.politicalcortadito.com/2013/11/26/miami-beach-aides-fired-hired/
Again, "wet work" refers to getting rid of staff by firing them, not killing them.

http://slippedisc.com/2012/02/high-flying-asian-orchestra-runs-into-heavy-weather/
Again this is referring to staff changes, terminating people.

It's not limited to that usage though:
http://ched-macquigg.blogspot.com/2012_08_01_archive.html
Even the Conservative leaning Fox News has used the term similarly, in a political campaign context.
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/01/24/state-union-key-to-obama-election-re-branding.html
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/12/01/can-newt-end-gops-conservative-cannibalism.html
"Wet work" has also been used in the sense of political work that does not look good, for example Richard Nixon's early years in politics:
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/07/summer-of-nixon-109378_Page4.html#.WAF-o5PyvmE
I don't think they are suggesting Nixon was assassinating people for Eisenhower.

And in similar but more obscure usage referring to political (non-killing) dirty work.
https://www.facebook.com/secularsch...6994147695787/747485828646613/?type=1&theater
And here's the Koch Brothers, their "wet work" seems to be the Super PACs and targeted ads.
http://www.salon.com/2012/07/10/the_untold_story_of_koch_twins_and_mitt_romney/
Some more obscure usage:

Even John McCain had lawyers doing "wet work" for him.
http://www.metafilter.com/75311/Sarah-Palin-may-be-a-better-debater-than-you-think

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=104x2347960
And of course, Trump:
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog...ubio_shows_character_assassination_works.html
Bob Woodward used the term "wet work" in his book "The Price of Politics"
https://books.google.com/books?id=RaGDAAAAQBAJ&pg=PT107
And a minor clarification of the quote, "the Vineyard" is a common term for Martha's Vineyard - a popular retreat for the rich and powerful, and a place where Clinton had been many times. Note the capitalization.
 
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Trailspotter

Senior Member.
"Wet works" or just "wetwork" is actually an old KGB term for assassination
This "supporting" ink to an English Wikipedia article is rather odd, because there is no equivalent Russian article in Wikipedia. Nevertheless, it refers to a common Russian expression "мокрое дело" (literary, "wet case"), which is not specifically related to KGB or its predecessors. It came from Russian criminal slang, where it meant a crime that resulted in homicide.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
This "supporting" ink to an English Wikipedia article is rather odd, because there is no equivalent Russian article in Wikipedia. Nevertheless, it refers to a common Russian expression "мокрое дело" (literary, "wet case"), which is not specifically related to KGB or its predecessors. It came from Russian criminal slang, where it meant a crime that resulted in homicide.

Thanks, I've removed the KGB reference, but left the link to Wikipedia. The etymology isn't too important, just the US English usage.
 
...Summary: By "wet works" Podesta was referring to personnel changes in the Clinton Campaign after the disastrous 20 point loss to Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire primary that day. ...

This is a good analysis and probably correct, but I found another possible explanation.

Wikileaks has one other e-mail exchange between Podesta and Elmendorf from exactly 1 week earlier, in which Elmendorf mentions "talking the bedwetters off the ledge". Could be that "wet works" is a joke in reply to this.

https://www.wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/3188
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Wikileaks has one other e-mail exchange between Podesta and Elmendorf from exactly 1 week earlier, in which Elmendorf mentions "talking the bedwetters off the ledge". Could be that "wet works" is a joke in reply to this.

Podesta already replied to that on the same day. With "Thx"

https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/3188
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Just another reference to firing people as "wet work"
http://www.fakesteve.net/2007/02/wet-work.html
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesl...e-dumbest-thing-a-ceo-ever-said/#2d5031d711a1
 
Snopes has offered a slightly different explanation:

The negative story related to Sanders' attendance at lavish Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee retreats held at Martha's Vineyard.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Snopes has offered a slightly different explanation:

The negative story related to Sanders' attendance at lavish Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee retreats held at Martha's Vineyard.

Possible. The main point here is that the usage of the term by a campaign manager has several possible meanings, most of which are vastly more likely than "assassinating a supreme court judge, ha ha".
 

1988

New Member
Okay, thank you that does seem likely. But what about "pool party" ? Scalia was on a overnight retreat with members of his hunting club, this could be referred to as a social party, or hunting party. The pool aspect could tie into the wet aspect of the previous sentence.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Okay, thank you that does seem likely. But what about "pool party" ? Scalia was on a overnight retreat with members of his hunting club, this could be referred to as a social party, or hunting party. The pool aspect could tie into the wet aspect of the previous sentence.
you're seriously reaching now. of course the pool aspect ties in with the 'wet works' term, that's why he chose 'pool party'.. because they are wet.

"I didnt think wet works meant the hunting party at the Ranch".. makes no sense as far as what you seem to be implying.
 

SRV

New Member
I don't see any link to explain the vineyard ref (a capital letter?)... it was the most suspicious element for me.

On first read of the email my first move was to research the site of the event... 'bout fell off my chair when I got to an aerial view of the property and saw, the Vineyard... and the Pool.

So, a key element is debunked because of a capital letter... there is no connection between the staff firing theory and a vineyard, why?

And btw, I don't see any data on the firings either... how many, who, and what position? I don't recall any significant moves (Clinton kept DWS on after she was proven to be as dishonest as common criminal) by the campaign!
 

Landru

Moderator
Staff member
I don't see any link to explain the vineyard ref (a capital letter?)... it was the most suspicious element for me.

On first read of the email my first move was to research the site of the event... 'bout fell off my chair when I got to an aerial view of the property and saw, the Vineyard... and the Pool.

So, a key element is debunked because of a capital letter... there is no connection between the staff firing theory and a vineyard, why?

And btw, I don't see any data on the firings either... how many, who, and what position? I don't recall any significant moves (Clinton kept DWS on after she was proven to be as dishonest as common criminal) by the campaign!
It's pretty much described in the OP. The Vineyard is probably Martha's Vineyard. Unless you have evidence to the contrary.
 
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