Peter Smith killed himself days after he was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal where he claimed to be working with Russian hackers to retrieve some 33,000 deleted Clinton emails and pass them to Michael Flynn, a former campaign adviser to Donald Trump.
Smith left a statement police referred to as a suicide note, according to the report, in which he said there was "NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER" involved in his death. He died at the Aspen Suites in Rochester, which the report characterized as a "hotel used nearly exclusively by Mayo Clinic patients and relatives".
A Journal reporter, who covered Smith, previously said the operative likely died of natural causes but the Tribune revealed that a public record identified Smith's death as resulting from suicide.
Smith's cause of death is listed as "asphyxiation due to displacement of oxygen in confined space with helium", according to the Tribune. The hotel he was staying in at the time of his death was predominantly used by patients at the nearby clinic.
But now, the Chicago Tribune has obtained detailed documents - including a suicide note - explaining how the 81-year-old took his own life in a hotel room just across from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Smith's former associates said he was suffering from health issues and frequently complained of heart problems.
Smith was found with a bag over his head and a source of helium.
Smith implied that he was working with Gen. Mike Flynn and that he was convinced that Russian hackers had the missing emails. Police, who do not suspect foul play, also found a Walmart receipt for "Helium Jumbo", among other items, although they said they had not reviewed security camera footage to see who made the purchase. Details on whether Flynn was involved in Smith's mission are not known.
According to the Journal, Smith recruited a team to find the emails over Labor Day in 2016.
The Journal said Flynn did not respond to requests, the White House declined comment, and the campaign said Smith never worked for it and that any such action undertaken by Flynn, if true, was not on its behalf. He also led private equity firms for more than 40 years.