The New York Post in October 2020 shocked the nation with its revelations on the “Biden Secret Emails,” which emails implicated presidential candidate Joe Biden in Hunter’s questionable international business dealings. Just a few days later, James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence, and a group of former intelligence officials issued their “Public Statement on the Hunter Biden Emails” falsely suggesting that those emails were Russian disinformation. Now Republicans on the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees intend to hold Clapper and his colleagues accountable for deceiving the voters.
This “Public Statement” drafted and signed by 50 former national intelligence and security officials (“the 50”) was politically motivated to discredit the New York Post.
Nick Shapiro, an aide to former CIA Director John Brennan, then fed the statement to politico, on the same day it was signed. In passing the Statement to Politico, Shapiro, according to Politico, shaped the narrative telling Politico that the 50 “want the American people to know that once again the Russians are interfering” with a presidential election. That claim of Russian interference was baseless.
Politico published its article on Oct. 19 with the headline: “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.” The 50’s statement was framed as “casting doubt on the provenance” of the New York’s Post’s story. This became the liberal social media narrative and of Joe Biden himself.
During the Oct. 22 presidential debate, Biden asserted, “Look, there are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what he’s accusing me of is a Russian plan. They have said that this has all the characteristics — four, five former heads of the CIA, both parties, say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage. Nobody believes it except him and his good friend Rudy Giuliani.”
Further, this corrupt narrative was leveraged by Twitter and other media as their reason for censoring and denigrating the New York Post story until long after Biden’s election.
Lost in all the liberal media spin at the time was then-Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe’s emphatic statement that the “intelligence community doesn’t believe” and there was “no intelligence [information] that supports” any claim that the Hunter laptop is “part of some Russian disinformation campaign.” The 50 chose to ignore this assessment.
As The New York Times and the rest of the liberal media admitted, Hunter’s emails are genuine, leaving Clapper scrambling to deflect responsibility. He claims, according to The Washington Post, that Joe Biden’s and the liberal media’s characterization of their Statement in 2020 was a “distortion,” and that “Politico deliberately distorted” the Statement. The 50, Clapper admits, had no evidence. Rather, he says that they only intended to convey that the emails “could be” Russian disinformation. In other words, the media was at fault, not him.
To that end, Clapper contends that the Statement included carefully worded caveats that The Washington Post describes as “get out of jail free” cards to be played when the public learned the truth that the Hunter emails are legitimate and implicate the Biden family in a corrupt business enterprise.
Appallingly, we know today, it was not the Russians peddling disinformation. It was the former leaders of our country’s national intelligence community who conspired to parade disinformation before the voters to influence the election. And they succeeded overwhelmingly. Polls show that 79% of voters believe that truthful coverage of the Biden laptop would have changed the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, and that 17% of Biden voters from seven swing states would not have voted for Biden had they known the facts about the laptop.
Clapper’s purported defense fails to address the most basic questions:
If Clapper and the rest of the 50 were merely speculating, then why rush to issue the statement?
And when Politico, Biden and others misrepresented the substance of the Statement as Clapper belatedly claims, why didn’t the 50 at the time – in October 2020 – go public to correct those politically motivated “distortions”? Why wait until February 2023?
The answer is obvious. The 50 intended to sway the election for Biden. Now that the authenticity of the laptop is beyond any doubt, they are disingenuously attempting to play those “get out of jail free” cards. It won’t work.
Their day of reckoning is here. The House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees recently sent letters to Clapper and other signers requesting documents and testimony. The time for evasion is over. Next will come subpoenas.
Notwithstanding the gaslighting by The Washington Post and Clapper, the 50 signers must be held accountable. They brandished their former national security and intelligence credentials to ignite a false narrative with the intention of impacting a presidential election – and they succeeded. If they still hold security clearances, those clearances should be revoked.
Elections belong to “we the people.” And those elections are not a game. They should be free from being hijacked by our nation’s national security and intelligence complex.
Michael Clancy is a lawyer and political and legal commentator. Follow him on Twitter @MikeClancyVA
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.