CIA Is Sued for Records on Now Debunked Letter Falsely Claiming the Hunter Biden Laptop Story Was ‘Russian Disinformation’

The notorious letter, signed by multiple American intelligence grandees, was part of an effort to suppress the laptop story prior to the 2020 election.

AP/Andrew Harnik
Hunter Biden at Fort McNair, June 25, 2023, at Washington. AP/Andrew Harnik

A conservative legal and media nonprofit organization, Judicial Watch, has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for CIA records related to the dissemination of a 2020 letter that claimed an explosive New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s laptop was “Russian disinformation.”

Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request “for all communications of the spy agency’s Prepublication Classification Review Board (PCRB) regarding an October 19, 2020, email request to review and ‘clear’ a letter signed by 51 former intelligence community officials.” Shortly after the Post’s story about Mr. Biden’s laptop broke, 51 former members of the intelligence community signed a letter that was proposed by Secretary Blinken and other top officials from both Democratic and Republican presidential administrations. 

The request to have the review board approve the letter’s release was sent by President Obama’s acting CIA director, Michael Morrell. Mr. Morrell told the House Judiciary Committee in May of this year that Mr. Blinken asked him to draft the letter and pursue as many signatories as possible. 

Individuals who signed the letter included Secretary Panetta, an acting CIA director, John McLaughlin, a deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Douglas Wise, and a national counterterrorism director, Nicholas Rasmussen, among others. Although they did not claim to have concrete proof that the laptop was “Russian disinformation,” they claimed that the Post’s publication of the laptop story represented “Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election.”

Mr. Blinken has been questioned publicly about his involvement in the drafting of the letter since Mr. Morrell told the Judiciary Committee about the secretary’s alleged proposal. In an interview with Fox News on May 1, Mr. Blinken was pressed about where the idea for the letter came from. “One of the great benefits of this job is that I don’t do politics and don’t engage in it,” he said, bluntly contradicting Mr. Morrell. “But with regard to that letter, I didn’t — it wasn’t my idea, didn’t ask for it, didn’t solicit it.”

Judicial Watch said in its press release announcing the FOIA request that it is seeking any and all communications the CIA and the review board had with Mr. Morrell and the letter’s signatories, including all “emails, email chains, email attachments, text messages, cables, voice recordings, correspondence, statements, letters, memoranda, reports, presentations, notes, or other form of record.”

In March 2022, the Washington Post, with the help of forensic experts, verified that the laptop belonged to Mr. Biden and was not part of a “Russian disinformation” campaign, as the letter claimed. In November of last year, CBS News also verified the legitimacy of the laptop. The hard drive contents were “consistent with normal, everyday use of a computer,” CBS News wrote, noting that its forensic experts had found “no evidence that the user data had been modified, fabricated or tampered with.”

The laptop first fell into the hands of a local computer repair shop owner at Delaware, John Paul Mac Isaac, who said Mr. Biden dropped the laptop off at his store for repairs in April 2019. Mr. Mac Isaac said Mr. Biden told him the computer had been water damaged and wanted him to recover its contents. Mr. Biden never returned to pick up his computer, making it Mr. Mac Isaac’s property. 

In an interview with the Washington Post, Mr. Mac Isaac said he contacted the FBI about the contents of the laptop after he had recovered many of the materials contained in the hard drive. Mr. Mac Isaac told the Post that he “saw some content that was disturbing and then also raised some red flags,” including “criminality … related to foreign business dealings, to potential money laundering and, more importantly, national security issues and concerns.” He later turned over a copy of the laptop’s hard drive to Mayor Giuliani, who then gave it to the Post. 

The laptop contained a trove of information about Mr. Biden’s business affairs, as well as thousands of sordid photos and videos depicting Mr. Biden smoking crack and having sex with prostitutes in upscale hotel rooms. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Greene would later display blown-up photos taken from the laptop of a naked Mr. Biden and prostitutes at a congressional hearing during which she accused him of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits sex trafficking.

Messrs. Biden and Mac Issac are now suing each other as a result of their tangling over the laptop. Mr. Mac Isaac is suing Mr. Biden, Congressman Adam Schiff, CNN, and other press outlets for defamation of character. Some of those lawsuits have been dismissed, but his claims against Mr. Biden are ongoing in federal court. 

Mr. Biden filed his countersuit against Mr. Mac Isaac in March, saying disclosing his laptop and its contents to national media outlets was an invasion of privacy. Mr. Biden’s attorneys have taken an aggressive tack in fighting allegations of corruption, going so far as to recommend that one of Mr. Biden fils’ most vocal antagonists,  Ms. Greene, be expelled from the House of Representatives.

“Mac Isaac’s knowing and intentional distribution of Mr. Biden’s personal and sensitive data was not carried out for any reasonable or legitimate purposes, but rather to try and expose Mr. Biden’s data to those that he knew or should have known would intend to create embarrassment and harm for Mr. Biden,” the first son’s lawsuit states.

The New York Sun

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