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CIA colluded to bury Hunter Biden story, Republicans claim

By Sarah May on
 May 10, 2023

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee were poised to release a damning report on Wednesday indicating that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) played an active role in soliciting signatures from the intelligence community designed to discredit the authenticity of Hunter Biden's abandoned laptop, according to the Daily Mail.

The effort was launched in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, the committee staff report suggests, and it was intended as “a political operation to help elect” then-candidate Joe Biden.

Explosive Findings

As Sean Davis of The Federalist explains, Wednesday's report from the Judiciary Committee's Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government reveals that multiple former officials in the U.S. intelligence apparatus have given sworn testimony about the involvement of the CIA in distributing a letter claiming that the laptop was likely part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

That communication was ultimately signed by over 50 former, high-ranking intelligence officials and was cited by Joe Biden to bolster his denials of potential wrongdoing by his son or himself made during a final debate against then-President Donald Trump.

Instrumental to the solicitation of signatures was former acting CIA Director Mike Morell, as Miranda Devine of the New York Post writes, and he is said to have approached the agency's Prepublication Classification Review Board (PCRB), stating that he had a “rush job” in support of Biden with which he needed help.

Soon after, a CIA employee with the PCRB asked former agency analyst David Cariens – who was at the time seeking approval of his own memoir – if he would sign such a letter.

Pressure Applied?

In his testimony about the events, Cariens stated, “When the person in charge of reviewing my book called to say it was approved with no changes, I was told about the draft letter. The person asked me if I would be willing to sign...I agreed to sign.”

After informing his wife -- former CIA officer Janice Cariens -- about the letter, she, too, agreed to lend her signature.

Morell, for his part, reportedly told the PCRB that he was on a tight timeline to secure signatories and that the letter needed “to get out as soon as possible.”

Specifically, as the Post notes, Morell informed former CIA Director John Brennan – who also signed – that the letter should be released prior to the final Biden-Trump debate, which occurred on Oct. 22, 2020, adding that he was “[t]rying to give the campaign, particularly during the debate... a talking point to push back on Trump.”

Clapper's Role

The subcommittee's report also sheds light on the role played by former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in drafting and disseminating the letter, as The Federalist notes.

According to emails reviewed by the panel, Clapper told Morell soon before the document at issue was finalized and released, “I have one editorial suggestion for the letter: I think it would strengthen the verbiage if you say this has all the classic hallmarks of a Soviet/Russian information operation rather than the 'feel' of a Russian operation.”

Morell lauded Clapper's idea as “a good one,” and it was indeed incorporated into the final version of the letter.

Some have suggested that Morell's eagerness to complete this mission on behalf of the Biden campaign was part and parcel of his intense desire to be nominated to serve as director of the CIA in a new administration, though in the end, he was not chosen for the job.

Blinken's Denials

In testimony he provided to the House Judiciary Committee, Morell indicated that a phone conversation he had with current Secretary of State Antony Blinken “absolutely” sparked his interest in drafting and recruiting signatories for the aforementioned letter, as the Daily Mail reported.

Morell, when questioned about why he was so enthusiastic about coordinating the task, explained, “One intent was to share our concern with the American people that the Russians were playing on this issue. And two, it was to help Vice President Biden,” later adding, “I wanted him to win the election.”

Blinken, for his part, has denied involvement in the project, saying, “One of the great benefits of this job is that I don't do politics, don't engage in it. But with regard to that letter – it wasn't my idea, I didn't ask for it, didn't solicit it,” though it is worth noting that at the time of the document's drafting, he was not secretary of State, but rather a Biden campaign adviser.

It remains to be seen whether the House subcommittee will get very far in pursuing accountability for the creation and use of what was ultimately revealed to be a false representation to the electorate and what commentator Scott Johnson of Powerline argues was “the dirtiest trick in American political history.”