Former Intel Officials Stand by Debunked Russian Disinfo Claim on Hunter Biden’s Laptop

Despite recent revelations and testimonies debunking their claims, none of the 51 former intelligence officials who suggested that Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation ahead of the 2020 election have retracted their statements.

Reports indicate that these officials were aware their claims were false at the time. The FBI had possession of Hunter Biden’s laptop, and FBI agent Erika Jensen testified last week in Hunter Biden’s gun trial that the laptop was real and had not been tampered with. This testimony contradicted previous claims that the laptop’s data had been hacked or manipulated as part of a Russian disinformation effort to aid former President Donald Trump’s campaign.

The controversy began when Breitbart News’ Emma-Jo Morris, then with the New York Post, broke the “laptop from hell” story in October 2020. Shortly thereafter, CNN reporter Natasha Bertrand published a Politico story citing “dozens of former intel officials” who asserted that the laptop’s origins were likely tied to a Russian disinformation campaign. This narrative was used by then-presidential candidate Joe Biden to discredit the laptop’s contents during a debate with Trump.

Current Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been implicated in coordinating this story for political purposes. Despite widespread acceptance of the Politico story at the time, major media outlets, including CNN, eventually admitted more than 500 days later that the story was false.

When confronted, many of the former intelligence officials stood by their original claims. Former Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, for instance, expressed no regret over signing the letter. Similarly, other signatories like Ronald Marks, Marc Polymeropoulos, Douglas Wise, Paul Kolbe, John Sipher, Emile Nakhleh, and Gerald O’Shea defended their actions as “patriotic.”

Their lawyer, in a statement to Fox News, reiterated this sentiment, suggesting that the letter was a warning about ongoing foreign interference and that its content remains accurate in that context. Greg Treverton, former chair of the National Intelligence Council, dismissed the controversy as “very old news” and maintained that their inference was based on experience. Russ Travers, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center, also downplayed the issue, indicating it had been addressed years ago.