Questions on the Hunter Biden Laptop


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

A group of 51 former U.S. intelligence officials released an open letter on Oct. 19, 2020, regarding the Post’s Oct. 14 report about the discovery of the laptop, the contents of which included documentation of a series of ethically questionable business deals that the Biden family was pursuing in both Ukraine and China, with the very likely involvement of Joe Biden himself.

The letter asserted that the laptop story had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

If you read the fine print, the letter does say that while the signatories had no “evidence of Russian involvement,” the laptop op “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 then disseminated to the most reliable liars in the media, and first published, I believe, in Politico, under the heading Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.

None of the signatories have, in hindsight, expressed any reservations about signing the document, and no media organization that propagated the letter has, to my knowledge, issued a retraction.

In fact, many of the signers have doubled down, either personally or through their attorneys, saying that signing the letter was an act of patriotism.

Their key talking point can be summarized by this statement from Mark S. Zaid, an attorney representing several of the signers:

“A careful and objective reading of the document reflects that even today its content is accurate.”

And he’s right. The document, upon careful reading, does say — I’ll paraphrase here — “We have no evidence to support what we’re saying, but this sure looks like something the Russians would do.”

I have several questions about this letter that I wish I could ask someone.

Question 1: If the letter is not based on evidence, what is it based on? “Political motives” seems like the obvious answer. One narrative has Antony Blinken, the current Secretary of State, leading the effort to draft the letter and get it signed, although I believe Blinken still denies this.

Question 2: If the letter is not based on evidence, why write it at all? Why sign it? What’s the point of a letter signed by 51 people saying, essentially, “We have no idea what we’re talking about”? Why would anyone sign that?

Question 3: Is it possible that the signers didn’t know that the laptop had been in FBI custody since 2019, and that the FBI had already authenticated the contents? The list of signers includes James Clapper, John Brennan, Leon Panetta — people representing the highest levels of the U.S. security state. It seems implausible that they would not know that, in which case they are not just making incorrect inferences, they are flat-out lying.

Question 4: When the signers saw that the media were ignoring the caveat that there was no evidence to support what the letter implied, i.e., that the laptop was a Russian plant, why did none of them step forward to say, “You are misinterpreting what we said. We said that we don’t know if the laptop is genuine or not. We said we have no evidence either way.” Joe Biden even brought it up at a presidential debate: “51 intel guys said what he (Trump) is accusing me of is a Russian plant. He’s doing the Kremlin’s work for them.” Not one person stepped up to say, “That is not an accurate characterization of what we said.”

To postulate an answer to all of these questions, I’d say that everyone involved — the signers and the media — are professional liars. That’s their job. If you do your job well and successfully, there’s no reason to backpedal or apologize.

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