According to a new congressional report, a member of the internal board that evaluates writing submitted for publication by former and present staff members of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) assisted in obtaining signatures for the October 2020 letter asserting the Hunter Biden laptop story has all the traditional signals of a Russian information operation.
The letter, which 51 prior intelligence officials had signed, surfaced five days shortly after the New York Post published a news article about President Joe Biden’s awareness that his son was using his father’s position and influence to make money for the family. The report was based on materials discovered on a laptop that once belonged to Hunter Biden.
Biden and his supporters frequently used the letter during the final weeks of the campaign for president in 2020 against then-President Donald Trump, and social media juggernauts Facebook and Twitter used it as justification for banning the New York Post piece and supportive comments to it.
According to post-election analysis, one in five of Biden’s supporters may not have supported him if they had been aware of the details revealed by the New York Post and the Hunter Biden laptop.
The newly released congressional report expands on critical information previously revealed regarding the letter’s origins, such as the part played by an unknown member of the CIA’s Prepublication Classification Review Board (PCRB) in securing signatories.
Former CIA analyst David Cariens testified to congressional investigators that he was informed of the draft letter when the person overseeing the book called to say it had been cleared without revisions. He continued by saying that the person in charge had asked whether he would be prepared to sign the document. After hearing the letter’s contents and its qualifiers, such as the fact that it was genuine and free of Russian involvement, he decided to sign.
The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from utilizing government resources to support a partisan political cause. The PCRB employee who informed Cariens about the letter and urged him to sign it was aware that its goal was to aid Biden in his campaign against Trump.
Janice Cariens, a former CIA worker, co-signed the letter with her husband.
According to the report, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who was then working for the Biden campaign, hired former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell during the 2020 election to oversee the letter’s development, signer soliciting, and media distribution. Blinken has denied being involved in the letter-writing effort.
The new study also notes that the previous Director of National Intelligence (DNI), John Ratcliffe, informed the public that the Biden laptop was not the result of Russian misinformation operations when Morell oversaw the letter project up until publication.
The study offers new details on how the letter came to claim that the New York Post story’s source had “classic earmarks of a Russian information campaign.” Ratcliffe’s predecessor as DNI, James Clapper, offered the phrase to Morell.
Later this month, Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan are expected to testify before the weaponization panel.