Date: 21/04/2023 Time: 09:54
By Debra Heine
The Biden Campaign was allegedly behind the now discredited letter that falsely claimed just weeks before the 2020 election that Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation.
In October of 2020, while he was the foreign policy advisor for the Biden Campaign, Secretary of State Antony Blinken made “an urgent phone call” to former CIA Director Michael Morell, sparking a series of events that led to 51 former intelligence professionals signing a letter shooting down the burgeoning scandal, the New York Post reported on Wednesday.
Signatories of the letter included former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Deputy Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) Rick Ledgett, former Deputy Director of the CIA John McLaughlin, former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center Nicholas Rasmussen, former deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center Russell Travers, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers, former CIA Deputy Chief of Staff Nick Shapiro, former chief of staff at the Central Intelligence Agency Jeremy Bash, Former United States Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research Thomas Fingar, and former CIA Director Michael Hayden.
In the now-infamous screed, these formerly high-ranking Obama-era intel officials warned that reporting on the laptop’s scandalous contents had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”
Although the signatories noted they did not know if the emails being reported were genuine and they had no direct evidence of Russian involvement, the letter was nevertheless used to dismiss news stories about the laptop just ahead of the 2020 election.
In a sworn interview with the House Judiciary Committee last week, Morell admitted it was Joe Biden’s presidential campaign that prompted him to write the infamous letter, according to the Post.
After hearing from Blinken, Morell admitted that he solicited signatures for his letter from 50 other former intel officials.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) is set to release a report in the next couple of weeks on the origins of the “Dirty 51” letter, and it will reportedly show “it constituted corrupt interference in the 2020 presidential election.”
“We can prove that the entire purpose of this letter at the outset was to influence a presidential election with some of the most senior people who have ever been in our intelligence community using the imprimatur of their security clearances to pave the way for Joe Biden’s presidency,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) told Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast this week.
“Morell wanted to be Joe Biden’s CIA director, got a phone call from Tony Blinken, who was representing the Biden campaign, saying, ‘Gee, Mike, doesn’t this Hunter Biden laptop look like Russian disinformation?’ ” said Gaetz.
“Morell testifies that then triggers him to be the ringleader of an enterprise to go to others and to put together a letter for the specific purpose of use by Joe Biden in the presidential debate … We can prove that and much more,” the Florida congressman added.
The Judiciary Committee has also interviewed a former Brennan advisor and “Obama White House alum Nick Shapiro, who cooked up the letter with Morell and delivered it to Politico,” according to the Post.
Senator Lindsey Graham discussed the matter on Fox News Thursday morning.
“What happened here is that 50 well-known and most of them pretty well respected intelligence officials put their name on a letter right before the election saying that the Hunter Biden laptop was most likely Russian disinformation,” Graham told Fox News host Harris Faulkner.
“So what I want to know is who contacted them to sign the letter? I want to know who briefed them on why they thought the laptop was Russian disinformation? Does it go back to the Biden Campaign? Who are these people? Was Tony Blinken involved?” Graham, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, continued.
The senator said Jordan has already fired off a letter to the 51 intel professionals demanding answers, and that he was in the process of crafting a letter of his own.
“I’m going to send a letter from the Senate asking all 51, ‘why did you sign the letter, who did you talk to? What information were you given and by whom to make you sign this letter? Because I think it did affect the election,” Graham said.
“If this is linked back to the Biden Campaign—if they made an effort to manipulate intelligence officials to sign a letter basically misleading the public about the Hunter Biden laptop right before the election—that is a major, major political event,” he declared.
“We’re going to get to the bottom of it because it’s clear to me that these people were either in on it or they were misled,” Graham added.
The S.C. senator told Faulkner that he believed most of the intelligence experts were misled—”but by who?”
“They were clearly used politically. Who used these intelligence experts to try to affect the outcome of the 2020 election?” he asked.
Graham said the person behind the false narrative “needs to be held accountable because now we know the Hunter Biden laptop is actually genuine. But who was it that signed up these 50-plus people to tell the American people you shouldn’t believe this or be cautious of it? he asked. “That to me is electoral interference. That’s something that can’t be tolerated and those involved need to pay a price.”
Graham told fellow senators on the Judiciary Committee Thursday that “we’re not going to let this go.”
“I’ve received some information today about a letter that 51 national security experts signed about the Hunter Biden laptop, and we need to get to the bottom of how 51 of the most recognized people in the national security intel space would sign a letter saying a laptop was Russian disinformation when it wasn’t,” Graham said. “We’re not going to let this go.”
Thursday evening, House Judiciary GOP released its April 20 letter to Blinken detailing Morell’s testimony, and requesting that he turn over all documents related to his role in dismissing the Hunter laptop story as Russian disinformation by May 4.
More on Morell’s revelations to the House Judiciary Committee, via Just the News:
In a transcribed interview with the House Judiciary government weaponization subcommittee, Morell admitted he got involved with the letter at Blinken’s request and later received a call from the Biden campaign thanking him when Joe Biden used the letter and its false implication to blunt criticism of Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings
The transcript of Morell’s interview showed he had no intent to write the statement and that Blinken’s “call triggered” his actions.
“After the debate — I think it was after the debate — in fact, I’m pretty sure it was after the debate — I got a phone call from Jeremy Bash, who I work with at Beacon and who is active politically,” Morrell told the Committee. “And Jeremy said: Do you have a minute to talk to Steve Ricchetti? I said: Of course. He was the head of the Biden campaign at the time. And Jeremy got him on the line, and Steve thanked me for putting the statement out. And that was the extent of the conversation.”
He also testified that the Biden campaign team coordinated to release the statement on the laptop to a specific reporter at the Washington Post and admitted that he got involved to help give Biden a leg up on Trump during the debates.
“There were two intents,” he said. “One intent was to share our concern with the American people that the Russians were playing on this issue; and, two, it was [to] help Vice President.” When asked why he wanted to help Biden, he replied, “because I wanted him to win the election.”
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