- The Washington Times
Monday, February 6, 2023

House leaders are demanding answers from a dozen former U.S. intelligence officials who dismissed Hunter Biden’s discarded laptop computer as Russian disinformation ahead of the 2020 election.

The chairmen of the House Judiciary and Intelligence panels, Reps. Jim Jordan and Michael R. Turner, respectively, doubled down Monday on previous calls for answers about the public statement signed by 51 intelligence professionals in October 2020. 

Their infamous statement, coming weeks before the presidential election, discredited The New York Post’s report exposing embarrassing details recovered from the laptop’s hard drive belonging to President Biden‘s son.  

“The Judiciary Committee made prior requests to you for documents and information about the public statement you signed in October 2020 that falsely implied The New York Post’s reporting about Hunter Biden was the product of Russian disinformation,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the former top spies.

“You have been on notice about our oversight requests—and aware the requests are outstanding—for months,” the lawmakers, both from Ohio, stated. “Accordingly, we reiterate our requests and ask that you comply promptly.”

Among the 12 officials to receive letters were: former CIA Director John O. Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden and former Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael G. Vickers.

Letters were also sent to: former National Counter Terrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen and deputy Director Russell Travers; former CIA chief of staff Jeremy Bash; former assistant secretary of the State Department’s intelligence bureau Thomas Fingar; former NSA deputy director Richard Ledgett; former CIA deputy directors John McLaughlin and Michael J. Morell, former CIA deputy chief of staff Nick Shapiro. 

Republicans have accused the officials of acting as political operatives on behalf of Democrats in their attempts to discredit the now widely authenticated laptop.

The Post’s report, which ran on Oct. 14, 2020, uncovered an avalanche of embarrassing emails, photos and text messages pulled from the laptop computer about Hunter Biden’s struggles with addiction and his hugely profitable foreign business dealings that critics say smack of influence peddling.

The emails refuted Mr. Biden’s claims that he never spoke with his son about overseas business deals.

The newspaper’s report also contained embarrassing photos of Hunter Biden recovered from the laptop, including one of him passed out with a crack pipe in his mouth.

Mr. Biden’s campaign branded the now-authenticated laptop as Russian disinformation. The more than 50 former U.S. senior intelligence officials backed that explanation in their open letter to the public.

“Your public statement served as a basis for Democrat operatives to try to delegitimize the scandalous allegations about Hunter Biden and the Biden family,” Mr. Jordan wrote in a previous letter requesting answers from Mr. Clapper. “The Biden campaign repeatedly cited your statement to dismiss the allegations against Hunter Biden.”

Social media platforms, acting on FBI warnings, also began censoring online discussions of the laptop ahead of the presidential election.

Hunter Biden‘s far-flung money-making schemes have raised eyebrows for years about potential influence peddling and possible crimes. He served on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company, pursued deals with Chinese Communist Party-linked energy tycoons and allegedly pocketed more than $3 million from a Russian businesswoman who is the widow of a former mayor of Moscow.

Republicans, now in the majority in the House, have pledged to probe whether the elder Mr. Biden had any involvement in his son’s international business deals and possibly influence-peddling.

Citing evidence obtained from Hunter Biden‘s laptop and through whistleblowers, House Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer, Kentucky Republican, said his committee had uncovered a “decade-long pattern of influence peddling, national security risks and political cover-ups” committed by the Biden family with the knowledge and involvement of the president.

Mr. Jordan has also pledged to probe what he says is a “weaponization” of the federal government under the Biden administration to silence conservatives.

Last week, Mr. Jordan issued his first round of subpoenas kicking off his weaponization probe. He demanded that the DOJ, FBI and Department of Education officials hand over documents and communications related to the FBI’s “misuse of federal criminal and counterterrorism resources” to target parents at school board meetings.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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