One of the intelligence officials who signed an open letter casting doubt on the authenticity of the Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020 is now conceding he knew large swaths of it had to be real at the time.
Douglas Wise, who served as the Defense Intelligence Agency’s deputy director, was one of 51 former senior intelligence officials to sign the letter saying they were “deeply suspicious” that the laptop story had ties to Russian disinformation. In the time since, much of the content in the original story was corroborated by other media outlets, including the Washington Examiner.
“All of us figured that a significant portion of that content had to be real to make any Russian disinformation credible,” Wise told the Australian over two years after signing the letter.
Other signatories on the open letter included former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The letter came amid heightened fears of Russia meddling in the election. Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets took steps to throttle the New York Post’s story on the laptop, which was published in October 2020.
In the letter, the 51 former officials underscored “that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement.” The officials leaned on their credentials to argue “our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.”
“The letter said it had the earmarks of Russian deceit and we should consider that as a possibility,” Wise added in his interview with the Australian. “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.”
President Joe Biden had used the letter to deflect conservative criticisms over the Biden family’s overseas business dealings that the purported laptop hard drive showcased. Initial suppression of the laptop story by Big Tech has become a rallying cry for conservatives. House Republicans are planning to scrutinize the laptop and subpoena the intelligence veterans who backed the letter.
Wise also indicated he had no regrets about signing the letter since there was always the possibility that the “Russians or even ill-intended conservative elements could have planted stuff in there.”
Copies of the laptop were distributed to numerous media outlets and highlighted details of the younger Biden’s personal life, business dealings, and questions about his father’s involvement. Hunter Biden is now engulfed in a federal investigation for allegedly lying on a federal form when purchasing a firearm and possible tax fraud. Charges against him could be imminent.