A former intelligence official who signed onto a letter in 2020 that tried to discredit the Hunter Biden laptop story as Russian disinformation said Sunday the contents of the laptops “had to be real.”
The New York Post was the first outlet to break the story on the Hunter Biden laptop, which highlighted shady foreign business dealings involving Hunter and other family members just weeks shy of the 2020 presidential election. More than a dozen officials signed onto a public letter dismissing the laptop, which was authenticated by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The letter, which had dozens of signatories ranging from former CIA officials to FBI officials said the aforementioned had an understand of a “wide range of Russian overt and covert activities that undermine U.S. national security.” (RELATED: ‘Intel Officials’ Who Called Hunter Laptop Story ‘Russian Disinfo’ Have Never Apologized)
The letter said the laptop and its contents, “much of it related to [Hunter’s] time serving on the Board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”
The officials did go on to admit in the letter they could not verify whether the emails were “genuine” and said they did “not have evidence of Russian involvement” other than suspicions.
Former Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Douglas Wise told The Australian he does not regret signing on to the letter but was not surprised the contents were authenticated and said he and others believed that “significant portions” of the content “had to be real.”
“All of us figured that a significant portion of that content had to be real to make any Russian disinformation credible,” Wise reportedly said.
“The letter said it had earmarks of Russian deceit and we should consider that as a possibility; 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.”
Wise then accused “right wing extremists” and conservative journalists of misinterpreting the letter, according to The Australian.
“Whether they’re members of the conservative journalist community, conservative politicians or just ultra-right wing extremists, they haven’t paid attention to the content,” Wise reportedly said.
However, several media outlets used the letter as justification to dismiss the laptop and its contents, including then candidate Joe Biden, who cited the letter as proof that the story was fake.
The HuffPost, the Boston Globe, The Hill and Business Insider all cited Politico and the letter to dismiss the laptop.