Specifically, the media pushed a letter signed by more more than 50 former intelligence officials to discredit the laptop story. The letter claimed the story had "all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation."
"If we are right," the letter went on to say, "this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this."
What is happening now?
Douglas Wise, a former senior CIA operations officer and former Defense Intelligence Agency deputy director, admitted that most of the letter's signatories believed a "significant portion" of the laptop story was authentic at the time they discredited it.
"All of us figured that a significant portion of that content had to be real to make any Russian disinformation credible," Wise told the Australian on Sunday.
Like other intel officials who signed the letter, Wise defended it by claiming it did not necessarily say what the media claimed.
"The letter said it had the earmarks of Russian deceit and we should consider that as a possibility," Wise said. "It did not say Hunter Biden was a good guy, it didn’t say what he did was right and it wasn’t exculpatory, it was just a cautionary letter."
In fact, Wise refused to display contrition for helping drive a narrative that was false. He told the news outlet, "I don’t regret signing it" and pointed to Rudy Giuliani allegedly visiting Ukraine to "to dig up evidence on the Bidens." He also said the "chain of custody" issues surrounding the laptop hard drive cast some doubt on its authenticity.
"Russians or even ill-intended conservative elements could have planted stuff in there," Wise claimed.
Hunter Biden remains under federal investigation for alleged tax crimes and for purportedly lying on a federal form when he purchased a firearm.
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