A former CIA officer who signed an open letter attempting to discredit reports about Hunter Biden’s laptop ahead of the 2020 election admitted that most of what was discovered on the laptop is real.
Douglas Wise, a former CIA officer and Defense Intelligence Agency deputy director, signed an open letter in 2020 that the New York Post’s October 2020 report had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” About 50 other former U.S. intelligence officials, including former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, signed the document.
Over the past weekend, however, Wise conceded that most of what was found on the infamous laptop was real. Last year, the New York Times and Washington Post published articles making similar admissions.
“All of us figured that a significant portion of that content had to be real to make any Russian disinformation credible,” Wise told The Australian newspaper on Sunday. But Wise told the paper that he doesn’t regret signing the letter and said it is “no surprise” the emails were real.
“The letter said it had the earmarks of Russian deceit and we should consider that as a possibility,” Wise said. “It did not say Hunter Biden was a good guy, it didn’t say what he did was right and it wasn’t exculpatory, it was just a cautionary letter.”
Wise, who has not responded to an Epoch Times request for comment, added that former New York Mayor and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani “had just been in Ukraine trying to dig up evidence on the Bidens and he met with a known Russian intelligence official. Russians or even ill-intended conservative elements could have planted stuff in there.”
In the Oct. 19, 2020, letter, the 51 former officials wrote that they “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.” Making an appeal to authority, they wrote that their “experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.”
The officials then explained that “such an operation would be consistent with some of the key methods Russia has used in its now multi-year operation to interfere in our democracy—the hacking (via cyber operations) and the dumping of accurate information or the distribution of inaccurate or misinformation.” Others who signed the letter include former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and CIA chief of staff Jeremy Bash.
The letter was heavily referenced by corporate news outlets in the lead-up to the November 2020 election between then-President Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Before their second debate, a former Hunter Biden associate, Tony Bobulinski, told news outlets that materials found on the younger Biden’s laptop were real and corroborated one now-infamous message about Joe Biden being “the big guy” while referencing an alleged payout to Biden in connection to a Chinese energy conglomerate.
Biden, meanwhile, used the letter to deflect criticism about his son’s business dealings during the second debate. Around the same time, Twitter and Facebook also moved to suppress the New York Post’s initial Hunter Biden laptop story, and Twitter locked the paper out of its account for more than two weeks.
Two years after the laptop story was published, a poll found that 79 percent of people who have been following the Hunter Biden reports said that “truthful” media coverage of the story would have changed the outcome of the 2020 election. In September last year, a poll from Rasmussen Reports found that 63 percent of likely American voters believe the Hunter Biden laptop story is important.
Hunter Biden, in an ABC News interview in 2019, said that he engaged in no illegal activity and that his overseas business deals were proper.
“I gave a hook to some very unethical people to act in illegal ways to try to do some harm to my father. That’s where I made the mistake,” the younger Biden said at the time. “So I take full responsibility for that. Did I do anything improper? No, not in any way. Not in any way whatsoever.”
Wise’s comments to The Australian come as House GOP lawmakers have signaled investigations into Biden’s family. Last week, the GOP-controlled House Oversight Committee launched a probe into the Biden family dealings, requesting suspicious activity reports from the Treasury Department regarding the Bidens’ finances.
They also wanted to determine whether Hunter Biden is connected to classified documents that were found, according to White House lawyers, at the president’s office and home in recent weeks.