‘I Don’t Have Any Regrets’: Former CIA Director Defends Letter Calling Hunter Biden Laptop Russian Disinformation

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Former CIA Director Leon Panetta defended the letter on the Hunter Biden laptop on Friday’s episode of “Special Report with Bret Baier.”

Panetta told Fox News host Bret Baier that he doesn’t regret the Hunter Biden laptop letter. Panetta signed a letter in 2020 that dismissed the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop as having the “classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” (RELATED: Ex-Intel Officials Who Signed The Infamous Hunter Biden Laptop Letter Keep Landing Gigs With The Biden Admin)

“That letter was used in the debate, I haven’t asked you this but do you have regrets about that now looking back, knowing what you know now?” Baier asked.

Panetta explained that he was “extremely concerned about Russian interference” in the run up to the 2020 Presidential Election between then-former-Vice President Joe Biden and then-President Donald Trump. He claimed that intelligence agencies discovered that “Russia had continued to push disinformation across the board.” He said that he wanted to “alert the public” about the “disinformation efforts” to influence the election.

“And frankly, I haven’t seen any evidence from any intelligence agency that that was not the case,” Panetta said.

“You don’t think that it was real?” Baier asked.

“I think that disinformation is involved here. I think Russian disinformation is part of what we’re seeing everywhere,” Panetta responded. “I don’t trust the Russians, and that’s exactly why I was concerned that the public not trust the Russians either.”

Baier asked if Panetta had any regrets over how he handled the story.

“No, I don’t have any regrets about not trusting the Russians,” Panetta said.

Hunter Biden’s attorneys appeared to admit that the data from the laptop was real in February 2023. In September, Hunter Biden sued former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, claiming that he and his businesses “altered” data on the laptop and distributed it with third parties. (RELATED: FBI Knew New York Post’s Hunter Biden Laptop Story Was Real Ahead Of 2020 Election, FBI Form Shows)

Biden said the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop were a “Russian plan” during an October 2020 presidential debate.

“Look, there are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what this, 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,” Biden said at the time, according to a debate transcript.

The Daily Caller News FoundationThe New York Times, The Washington Post and other media outlets have authenticated the laptop contents. IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley testified in May that the FBI verified the laptop’s authenticity in November 2019.