Letter from intelligence officers about Hunter Biden laptop was “coordinated” by Biden campaign, ex-official says: Back in October of 2020, a letter circulated from more than 50 intel officers, alleging the Hunter Biden laptop looked like Russian disinformation. A former top CIA official told Congress this week that the letter started with the Biden campaign.
Hunter Biden and the Letter
The report by the New York Post in September of 2020 that Hunter Biden’s laptop had been dropped off at a computer shop in Delaware, and later found its way into the hands of associates of Donald Trump, has been one of the most examined of the 2020 election cycle. Twitter and Facebook suppressed the story early on, and conservative media has been trying to pull scandals from that laptop for more than two years.
Not long after the New York Post story, more than 50 former intelligence officials, including five former CIA directors, signed on to a letter, titled “Public Statement on the Hunter Biden Emails.” The signatories to the letter had worked for the last several presidents, with several of them serving under Trump.
The letter stated that “the arrival of the U.S. political scene emails purportedly belonging to Vice President Biden’s son Hunter… has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”
“If we are right,” the letter said, “this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this.”
The letter was couched in the language of the signatories saying that it looked like a Russian operation, without outright stating that it was one.
“We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement,” the letter said.
Joe Biden Associates Had a Hand in Hunter Letter
Now, a former top intelligence official who was a signatory to the letter has stated that the Biden campaign, including then-adviser Antony Blinken, had “played a role in the inception” of that letter. Blinken is now the secretary of state, but was out of government and advising the Biden campaign at the time of the letter.
Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell stated that while being interviewed by the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.
Those two committees have now asked Blinken for documents and communications.
“Based on Morell’s testimony, it is apparent that the Biden campaign played an active role in the origins of the public statement, which had the effect of helping to suppress the Hunter Biden story and preventing American citizens from making a fully informed decision during the 2020 presidential election,” a letter from the two committee chairmen said.
Joe Biden later cited the letter in a presidential debate.
How Big a Deal is This?
While it was not known that the Biden campaign was directly behind the national security letter, it was pretty clearly seen at the time as a document meant to discredit a story that was being pushed by the Trump side.
Furthermore, this story is being positioned as the Biden campaign teaming up with the intelligence community to lie about the Hunter Biden laptop. But that’s not really what happened.
There was widespread speculation at the time that the Russians had something to do with the laptop story, especially since Trump’s own attorney, Rudy Giuliani, had been known to have spent a lot of time over the previous year in Ukraine digging up dirt on Hunter Biden, while Giuliani went on to play a role in the acquisition of the laptop. And it’s been known since 2020 that the Hunter Biden laptop story had been pitched, directly, by the Trump campaign to media outlets, with the New York Post biting after the Wall Street Journal said no.
There was also a lot of weirdness about the story the way it was first reported: Hunter Biden dropped off the laptop, never returned it, and the store owner, after trying to get it back to him, presented the laptop to the political enemies of his own customer’s family. Plus, one New York Post reporter reportedly refused to have his byline on the original story.
The suspicion that it was a foreign leaking operation was also the reason given for Twitter suppressing the story in the early days. Mark Zuckerberg later testified before Congress that social media companies had been warned about an upcoming Russian disinformation campaign, but not about the Hunter Biden laptop specifically.
There’s every reason to think the people who lent their names to that letter sincerely believed that it looked a lot like a Russian disinformation operation, even though they were likely wrong.
“The laptop’s devotees have lately been thrilled by the fact that major news outlets have finally come to the conclusion that it was not a piece of Russian disinformation,” New York magazine wrote in a deep dive last September.
Expertise and Experience:
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.