Two Biden laptop letter signers were CIA contractors, agency brass knew of effort

The report also found CIA Director Gina Haspel and other senior CIA officials knew ahead of the publication that the letter was coming.

Published: June 25, 2024 5:28pm

Updated: June 25, 2024 9:39pm

At least two of the 51 signatories of the infamous letter labeling reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop as a potential “Russian information operation” were CIA contractors when they signed the letter, the House Weaponization Subcommittee revealed in a new report Tuesday.

The report also found CIA Director Gina Haspel and other senior CIA officials knew ahead of publication that the letter was coming.

The report sheds new light on one of the most controversial public debates of the 2020 presidential election. The reporting on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop—which contained evidence of what House Republicans now call an influence-peddling scheme involving his father—was originally published by the New York Post at the height of the election season.

"We knew that the rushed statement from the 51 former intelligence officials was a political maneuver between the Biden campaign and the intelligence community. Now with this interim report, we reveal how officials at the highest levels of the CIA were aware of the statement and CIA employees knew that several of the so-called former officials were on active contract with the CIA. The report underscores the risks posed by a weaponized federal government," Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan said in a statement.

The 51 former officials published the signed letter, warning that the release of emails from the Hunter Biden laptop bore the hallmarks of a Russian influence operation, less than a month before the election. Biden then used the letter to defend himself in the final debate with President Donald Trump.

“Look, there are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what he’s accusing me of is a Russian plan. They have said that this has all the characteristics — four, five former heads of the CIA, both parties, say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage,” Biden said.

Just the News previously reported that former CIA Director Michael Morell testified a phone call from then-Biden campaign official Antony Blinken triggered the effort to draft the letter, raising even more concerns about political motivations for the letter.

Now, the subcommittee has found through its investigation that Morell and one other official were on “active contract” with the CIA at the time the group statement was published, adding a new dimension of direct agency involvement in the letter’s release.

"Throughout the course of the Committees’ investigation, the signatories claimed to not have had access to any classified information when asserting that the allegations surrounding Hunter Biden’s laptop had 'all the hallmarks' of Russian disinformation,” the report reads. “However, at the time of the statement’s publication, at least two signatories—Morell and former CIA Inspector General David Buckley—were on the CIA’s payroll as contractors.”

It is not known if any of the other signatures were on active contract with the agency, the report says, because the CIA refused to declassify the whole list, citing security concerns.

You can read the report below:

In addition to the participation of active CIA contractors, the report concludes Haspel and other high-ranking CIA officials “were made aware of the Hunter Biden statement prior to its approval and publication.”

The board responsible for reviewing a approving the publication, the Prepublication Classification Review Board, forwarded the letter to the CIA’s chief operating officer, who told Congress he informed either Haspel or her deputy directly.

“Senior CIA leadership had an opportunity at that time to slow down the CIA’s process for reviewing publication submissions and ensure that such an extraordinary statement was properly vetted,” the report concludes.

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