Ex-intel officials double down on signing 'patriotic' letter against Hunter Biden laptop: 'Woefully ignorant'

Ex-intel officials double down on signing 'patriotic' letter against Hunter Biden laptop: 'Woefully ignorant'
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Dozens of former intelligence officials who signed a letter warning Hunter Biden's infamous laptop "has all the classic earmarks" of Russian disinformation are either declining to retract or doubling down despite the device being entered as evidence in his ongoing criminal trial.

Fox News Digital reached out to all 51 individuals who signed the heavily scrutinized October 2020 letter, published just before the 2020 presidential election, asking if they regretted signing it now that the laptop is being used by the prosecution arguing Hunter committed a federal gun crime.

"No," former Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper simply said, also declining to publicly remove his name from the letter or concede that those signing onto it should have waited longer for more information to develop.

Mark S. Zaid, an attorney representing signatories Ronald Marks, Marc Polymeropoulos, Douglas Wise, Paul Kolbe, John Sipher, Emile Nakhleh and Gerald O’Shea, sent Fox News Digital a statement on behalf of his clients that doubled down on the importance of the letter and claimed it was "patriotic" to sign it.

BIDEN CAMPAIGN'S 2020 NARRATIVE ABOUT HUNTER'S LAPTOP COLLAPSES AFTER BIDEN DOJ ENTERS INTO TRIAL EVIDENCE

"There continues to be by many a calculated or woefully ignorant interpretation of the October 2020 letter signed by fifty-one former intelligence officials concerning Hunter Biden's laptop," Zaid, who once posted online that Trump's election was "very scary," said in the statement.

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"A careful and objective reading of the document reflects that even today its content is accurate. It served as nothing more than a warning letter of what we have known for decades: certain foreign governments – including Russia – continue to try and actively interfere in our domestic affairs and our guard must remain vigilant. Every patriotic American should have signed that letter."

Greg Treverton, a signatory who previously served as chair of the National Intelligence Council, defended the letter in a statement to Fox News Digital.

"This is very old news," Treverton said. "What we said was true, we were inferring from our experience, and it did look like a Russian operation. We didn't, and couldn't of course say it was a Russian operation. Enough said."

BIDEN SAYS HE WON'T PARDON SON HUNTER, VOWS TO ACCEPT VERDICT IN FELONY GUN CRIME TRIAL

James Clapper at hearing
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, left, and CIA Director John Brennan testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, Jan. 10, 2017.

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden hung up the phone when contacted by Fox News Digital and did not respond to a follow-up text and email.

Former CIA chief of staff Larry Pfeiffer declined to comment, and former National Counterterrorism Center National Director Russ Travers said, "These issues were addressed… several years ago."

Two of the signatories – Patty Brandmaier and Brett Davis – passed away in 2023.

"We want to emphasize 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 – just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case," the letter stated, before explaining several reasons why the laptop is "consistent" with Russian disinformation.

"Our view that the Russians are involved in the Hunter Biden email issue is consistent with two other significant data points as well. According to the Washington Post, citing four sources, ‘U.S. intelligence agencies warned the White House last year that Giuliani was the target of an influence operation by Russian intelligence.’"

HUNTER BIDEN LAPTOP RE-EMERGES AS MEDIA EMBARRASSMENT AS IT BECOMES KEY EVIDENCE AT GUN TRIAL

Hunter Biden
President Biden and Hunter Biden during the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House on April 1, 2024.

"In addition, media reports say that the FBI has now opened an investigation into Russian involvement in this case. According to USA Today, ‘…federal authorities are investigating whether the material supplied to the New York Post by Rudy Giuliani… is part of a smoke bomb of disinformation pushed by Russia.’"

"Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say," the original headline from Politico story on the letter from the 51 former officials said.

When asked about Politico's characterization of the letter in the headline compared to his statement on behalf of his clients and why his clients did not publicly push back on it after publication, Zaid told Fox News Digital that in journalism "sometimes not even the writer of the story chooses the headline content" and that "pretty much two people wrote the letter, and everyone else just signed."

"These are not people who often would pay attention to the media details. I couldn't even tell you if they saw the Politico story. Many of them have since spoken out and very clearly clarified what they meant."

BIDENS MOCKED HUNTER'S LAPTOP TO HIDE EVIDENCE OF POSSIBLY LARGEST US CORRUPTION SCANDAL EVER

Hunter Biden's laptop, the contents of which were first published by the New York Post in 2020, has long been dismissed by Democrats as Russian disinformation and news outlets across the country seized on the letter from former intel officials as definitive proof the laptop was not legitimate.

Several members of the Biden campaign vigorously denied the legitimacy of the laptop leading up to the November election while appearing to be coordinating the release of the Politico story. The article was published days before a debate between Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and President Trump, where Biden claimed, "There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what he’s accusing me of is a Russian plant."

Despite claims from former officials that the laptop had the hallmarks of Russian disinformation, Fox News Digital reported that federal investigators with the Department of Justice knew in December 2019 that Hunter Biden’s laptop was "not manipulated in any way" and contained "reliable evidence," but were "obstructed" from seeing all available information, according to an IRS whistleblower involved in the probe – nearly a year before the former intelligence officials and Joe Biden declared it was part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

The laptop was introduced into evidence in a Delaware courtroom last week by prosecutor Derek Hines and handed to FBI agent Erika Jensen, who had earlier explained how the FBI authenticated the laptop and extracted data. In the gun trial, she testified about dozens of text messages, metadata, photos and short videos found on phones and iCloud accounts belonging to Biden.

The full list of signatories is as follows: Former CIA Director and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, former CIA Director Michael Hayden, former Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper, former National Intelligence Council Chair Thomas Fingar, former National Security Agency Deputy Director Rick Legett, former CIA acting Director John McLaughlin, former CIA acting Director Michael Morell, former Defense Undersecretary for Intelligence Mike Vickers, former Defense Intelligence Agency Deputy Director Doug Wise, former National Counterterrorism Center Director Nick Rasmussen, former National Counterterrorism Center acting Director Russ Travers, former National Counterterrorism Center Deputy Director Andy Liepman, former CIA chief of staff John Moseman, former CIA chief of staff Larry Pfeiffer, former CIA chief of staff Jeremy Bash, former National Security Agency general counsel Glenn Gerstell, former CIA chief of staff Rodney Snyder, former CIA analyst and manager David Priess, former CIA Deputy Director of Analysis Pam Purcilly, former CIA senior operations officer Marc Polymeropoulos, former CIA senior intelligence officer Chris Savos, former CIA senior intelligence officer John Tullius, former CIA senior intelligence officer David A. Vanell, former CIA senior operations officer Kristin Wood, former CIA inspector general David Buckley, former CIA analyst and targeting officer Nada Bakos, former CIA senior intelligence officer Patty Brandmaier, former CIA senior intelligence officer James B. Bruce, former CIA intelligence analyst David Cariens, former CIA operational support officer Janice Cariens, former CIA senior operations officer Paul Kolbe, former CIA analyst Peter Corsell, former CIA senior intelligence officer Brett Davis, former national intelligence officer Roger Zane George, former CIA senior intelligence officer Steven L. Hall, former national intelligence officer Kent Harrington, former national security executive Don Hepburn, former dean of CIA’s Kent School of Intelligence Analysis Timothy D. Kilbourn, former CIA officer Ron Marks, former CIA technical operations officer Jonna Hiestand Mendez, former director of CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program Emile Nakhleh, former CIA senior operations officer Gerald A. O’Shea, former CIA deputy chief of staff Nick Shapiro, former CIA senior operations officer John Sipher, former National Security Council senior director for intelligence programs Stephen Slick, former CIA deputy assistant director for global issues Cynthia Strand, former CIA Deputy Executive Director Greg Tarbell, former National Intelligence Collection Board Chairman David Terry, former National Intelligence Council Chair Greg Treverton, and former CIA director of analysis Winston Wiley.

Fox News Digital's Brooke Singman contributed to this report


Original article source: Ex-intel officials double down on signing 'patriotic' letter against Hunter Biden laptop: 'Woefully ignorant'