Last summer, then-House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that House Republicans would demand answers from the 51 former intelligence agency officials who publicly disputed the Hunter Biden laptop story as Russian disinformation in a letter. The media widely cited that letter to discredit the laptop’s content before the 2020 election.
Now that the House Republicans have regained the majority, at least one official is admitting that he knew the laptop was genuine.
Douglas Wise, a former Defense Intelligence Agency deputy director, told The Australian he knew a “significant portion” of the recovered Hunter Biden laptop files “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 told the paper.
Joe Biden even cited the letter as proof that the laptop was Russian disinformation. “There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what he’s accusing me of is a Russian plant,” Biden said in 2020. “Five former heads of the CIA, both parties, say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage. Nobody believes it except his good friend Rudy Giuliani.”
The laptop was entirely genuine; there was never any evidence that it was Russian disinformation. Several media outlets confirmed its authenticity after the 2020 election, including the New York Times.
Even though the original letter included a brief disclaimer that the officials did not know definitively whether the emails on the laptop were genuine, the letter explicitly cited their collective experience as justification to discredit the laptop’s contents.
“All of us have an understanding of the wide range of Russian overt and covert activities that undermine US national security, with some of us knowing Russian behavior intimately, as we worked to defend our nation against it for a career,” the letter read. “A few of us worked against Russian information operations in the United States in the last several years.” The letter went on to say that exposure of the laptop’s emails had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”
The officials explained, “Such an operation would be consistent with some of the key methods Russia has used in its now multi-year operation to interfere in our democracy — the hacking (via cyber operations) and the dumping of accurate information or the distribution of inaccurate or misinformation.”
Not once in the letter did they concede that any of the contents of the laptop had to be genuine. But the worst part is, despite this deception by Wise and the other intelligence officials, he feels no regret for misleading the public.
“I don’t regret signing it because the context is important,” he said. “Remember Giuliani had just been in Ukraine trying to dig up evidence on the Bidens and he met with a known Russian intelligence official. Russians or even ill-intended conservative elements could have planted stuff in there.”
Something tells me House Republicans will want to speak to him very soon.