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Hunter Biden's laptop got him convicted. Intel officials who called it Russian disinfo remain unapologetic.
Joe Biden, left, and convicted felon Hunter Biden, right. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Hunter Biden's laptop got him convicted. Intel officials who called it Russian disinfo remain unapologetic.

President Donald Trump recently suggested the 51 intel officials should be prosecuted.

Hunter Biden was convicted today in part owing to the verified contents of his laptop, which the New York Post reported on before the 2020 election.

A cabal of former U.S. intelligence officials released an open letter on Oct. 19, 2020, regarding the Post's Oct. 14 report about the discovery and damning contents of Hunter Biden's laptop, which the FBI had "verified" one year earlier.

Among the 51 signatories of the letter were:

  • James Clapper, former director of national intelligence under Democratic President Barack Obama;
  • Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA under Obama;
  • Leon Panetta, former secretary of defense under Obama and CIA director;
  • John Brennan, former CIA director under Obama;
  • Glenn S. Gerstell, former general counsel for the National Security Agency;
  • Richard H. Ledgett Jr., former deputy director of the NSA;
  • Jeremy Bash, the former chief of staff both of the CIA and the Department of Defense; and
  • Michael Morell, former acting director of the CIA.

Their letter asserted that the Hunter Biden laptop story was likely a thing of Slavic fantasy — that the story had "all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation."

While Clapper, Brennan, and the other 49 so-called experts were willing to admit in the letter to both not knowing whether the Hunter Biden emails provided to the New York Post were "genuine" and having no "evidence of Russian involvement," they nevertheless suggested a "laptop op" designed "to discredit Biden ... would be consistent with some of the key methods Russia has used in its now multi-year operation to interfere in our democracy."

The letter was framed thusly by Politico and left uncorrected by the signatories: "Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say."

According to the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, then-senior Biden campaign adviser and now-Secretary of State Antony Blinken got the ball rolling on this misleading and election-influencing letter. The letter was allegedly drafted with the aim of setting the narrative before the Oct. 22, 2020, presidential debate, wherein Biden ultimately used it to great effect. Blinken later denied conceiving of or soliciting signatures for the letter.

Even though the story was undermined by the letter and censored online, the laptop was real all along, and its contents — like those of Ashley Biden's troubling diary — were as authentic as they were incriminating. FBI Special Agent Erika Jensen made this especially clear in court last week.

'51 intelligence agents, that phony story. Remember?'

Former President Donald Trump recently suggested that the 51 officials who leveraged their perceived credibility and former status to shield Biden from the truth may soon face a comeuppance.

Trump was recently discussing false narratives spread by the Biden camp and broached the subject of the Hunter Biden laptop story.

"51 intelligence agents, that phony story. Remember? 'The laptop from Russia,' they said. And they should be prosecuted for what they did, okay?" said Trump. "Let's see what happens.

Ahead of Hunter Biden's criminal conviction, Fox News Digital reached out to the signatories of the October 2020 letter, asking whether they regretting misleading the nation. While some of the election-swaying former officials flatly say no, as in the case of Clapper, others doubled down.

Mark S. Zaid, an attorney representing Ronald Marks, Marc Polymeropoulos, Douglas Wise, Paul Kolbe, John Sipher, Emile Nakhleh, and Gerald O’Shea, suggested the letter was important and signing it was "patriotic."

Zaid even suggested that criticism of the letter amounted to disinformation but did not go so far as to pin blame on Russia.

"There continues to be by many a calculated or woefully ignorant interpretation of the October 2020 letter signed by fifty-one former intelligence officials concerning Hunter Biden's laptop," Zaid told Fox.

"A careful and objective reading of the document reflects that even today its content is accurate. It served as nothing more than a warning letter of what we have known for decades: certain foreign governments — including Russia — continue to try and actively interfere in our domestic affairs and our guard must remain vigilant. Every patriotic American should have signed that letter," added Zaid.

Signatory Greg Treverton, former chair of the National Intelligence Council, said, "What we said was true, we were inferring from our experience, and it did look like a Russian operation. We didn't, and couldn't of course say it was a Russian operation. Enough said."

Michael Hayden, who intimated late last year that Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Al.) should be removed from the human race, simply hung up the phone and dodged subsequent requests for comment.

The Post noted that Panetta defended the letter in July 2023, saying he had no regrets about signing it.

"I signed that letter for one reason, which was to make the American people aware that the Russians deliberately were engaged in a disinformation campaign in the United States and trying to impact on our election and trying to impact on our ability to have free and fair elections," Panetta told CNN.

Concerning the letter's additional spin in Politico, Zaid told the Post, "With respect to the Politico story, had I been representing my clients at the time I would have certainly asked for them to modify their headline as it is too categorically and broadly asserted a conclusion that the letter did not."

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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