Ex-intel officer: Spy agency sought Hunter Biden laptop back in 2020 to see if family compromised

Spy agency wanted to know if "there's compromising information on that hard drive," Tony Shaffer says.

Updated: April 4, 2022 - 2:47pm

A retired intelligence officer says a U.S. spy agency asked for his help in fall 2020 to try to acquire a copy of the Hunter Biden laptop contents ahead of the presidential election.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer's account to Just the News was confirmed by three other people who were approached by Shaffer or the agency or were involved in the approach.

They said the agency's interest was to analyze the hard drive contents for any evidence or patterns of how foreign adversaries were seeking to compromise prominent Americans or their families.

Shaffer provided details about the approach during an appearance Friday on the Just the News television show on Real America's Voice.

"A three-letter agency came to me and said, 'Hey, we've heard that you have access to a copy of the Hunter Biden hard drive. Could we get a copy?'" Shaffer said during the interview. "And I said, like, 'Do you know what's on there? I mean, we're talking about everything from child porn, to, you know, all these these issues regarding the president.'

"And they said, 'We don't care. ... We want to either confirm or refute it. We want to act factual. We don't have a political dog in the fight. What our concern is, is that if there's compromising information on that hard drive, this is before the election, the president could be compromised to the level of owing either China or or Ukraine something. And this is what this three letter agency was concerned about."

A U.S. official directly familiar with the effort confirmed the request to Just the News, saying the intelligence community wanted to know if anything on the hard drive had been hacked, whether the Biden family was compromised, and whether there were any patterns about how foreign adversaries were seeking to compromise prominent Americans.

The agency abandoned the request when it became apparent there were multiple versions of the hard drive floating around and could not ascertain chain of custody, the official said.

A lawyer for the family of John Paul Mac Issac, the Delaware computer repairman who turned the laptop over to the FBI in late 2019 after Hunter Biden abandoned it at his shop, also confirmed an October 2020 approach from Shaffer. A third party who was approached by Shaffer also confirmed an effort in fall 2020 to get a copy of the laptop for intelligence purposes.

All three declined to identify the spy agency involved. Shaffer, however, has long ties to the Defense Intelligence Agency, which he alleged ran a secret program called Able Danger that had identified lead 9/11 hijacker Mohammad Atta in advance of the attacks.

An intelligence community review confirmed the existence of the Able Danger program targeting transnational terrorists but found no evidence that Atta had been identified prior to the suicide hijackings.

Shaffer said he was still working to get a copy of the Hunter Biden laptop in late October 2020 when he was asked to stand down by an official from the spy agency.

"They were in meetings with me when we were trying to negotiate getting a copy of the hard drive," he said. "And in the end, their leadership said, 'Stop, don't touch it. We don't want to know.'" 

Shaffer also laced into a group of 51 national security experts who published a letter before the 2020 election suggesting the laptop had the hallmarks of a Russian disinformation campaign, something that has since been dispelled.

Shaffer said the experts, who included former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA officials, admitted in the letter that they had no intelligence whatsoever to back up their claims.

"It was a hit piece based on those individuals siding with a political cause and party over their oath of office," he said.

Shaffer said national security experts normally stay out of presidential politics, and he believes the signatories should be barred from ever holding a national security job inside government again. "I do support legislation saying these guys should never hold any official office again," he said.

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