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Joe Biden’s sinister disinformation campaign

In the run-up to the 2020 election, intelligence officials spread lies to bury the Hunter Biden laptop story.

Sean Collins
US correspondent

Topics Politics USA

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Last week, it was revealed that, shortly before the 2020 election, Joe Biden’s presidential campaign conspired with 51 former spies to discredit the New York Post’s discoveries from Hunter Biden’s laptop. The same Biden team that continually harps on about the threat from ‘disinformation’ has been now caught red-handed – in cahoots with the ‘deep state’ no less – spreading disinformation about one of the biggest stories of the 2020 election. The ‘laptop from hell’ contained emails suggesting that Joe Biden had been embroiled in his son’s dubious overseas business dealings.

The House Judiciary and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence revealed last week that Antony Blinken, then a top Biden campaign official (who is now secretary of state), arranged for former deputy CIA director Mike Morell to draft a letter smearing the Post’s story. Morell dutifully complied. He produced a letter stating that the laptop story had ‘all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation’ – despite having zero evidence to back up that claim. He then convinced 50 other former national-security officials to co-sign it. When asked by the committee why he agreed to gin up this letter, Morell said ‘because I wanted [Biden] to win the election’.

While it was pretty clear back in 2020 that this letter from intelligence officials was dubious and lacking in evidence, we didn’t know that it was a Biden campaign production. The letter certainly served the campaign’s purpose, as it enabled Biden and his friends in the media to dismiss the Post’s story. During his final debate with Donald Trump in October 2020, Biden claimed that the letter was solid proof that the story was Russian in origin: ‘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.’ But Biden knew at that time that the laptop was real, not ‘garbage’. And he surely knew that his campaign was cooking up disinformation about it, not the Russians.

After that debate, Morell received a call from the chairman of Biden’s campaign, Steve Ricchetti, to thank him for ‘putting the statement out’. That statement itself was disinformation – and the ploy worked, as the laptop revelations were then suppressed.

Various arms of the establishment were willing to play along with the Biden campaign because they were desperate to defeat Trump. Tech companies sprung into action to censor the story. Most infamously, the letter provided a basis for Twitter to lock the Post out of its account, and for other social-media platforms to block people from sharing the Post exclusive.

Politico, which published the letter from the intelligence officials, dropped any pretence of scepticism, declaring without qualification: ‘Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say’. The legacy media, such as the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN, uncritically repeated the claims that Hunter’s laptop was a Russian fake-news operation, and effectively buried the story.

This all-out propaganda offensive from the pro-Biden media had its desired effect. Even today, many Americans still believe that the Hunter Biden laptop story is not genuine. A September 2022 Harvard-Harris survey found that 50 per cent of Democrats say it is Russian disinformation.

The media’s role throughout the Hunter Biden saga has been dreadful. After denouncing the initial story as fake news, the mainstream outlets eventually admitted that it was legit. The New York Times took more than a year before admitting that the laptop findings were authentic. Now these same media outlets are downplaying the revelations of the Blinken-Morell collaboration. No wonder trust in the media is so low.

Had it been fully aired and explored in public debate, the Post’s scoop would have been very damaging to the Biden campaign. The story emerged only weeks before the 2020 election and implicated Joe Biden himself, as there was evidence that he (‘the Big Guy’, according to emails) benefitted financially from shady foreign dealings. It may not have swung the election, but we’ll never know.

The latest revelations are reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s dirty tricks during the 2016 election, when her campaign paid for and promoted the infamous ‘Steele dossier’, which contained numerous lurid, false claims about Trump. Similar to the spies’ letter about Hunter, this dossier was secretly generated by the Democratic Party. Last year, the Federal Election Commission fined Clinton’s campaign for not properly disclosing the money it spent on it. In 2016, just as in 2020, the Democrats could count on the media to run with the false allegations – indeed, they banged on about Trump colluding with Russians for three years.

This latest Blinken-Morell revelation is a scandal, and it should be bigger news. A presidential campaign collaborated with supposedly neutral intelligence officials and a compliant media to deceive the public, for the sake of influencing an election. The Hunter Biden laptop story has been in the news for more than two years – but for all this time, Biden and his campaign have failed to admit their involvement in seeking to discredit it.

Enough with the lectures from Biden about the populist ‘threats to democracy’. Compared to the amateur Trump, he and his administration are the true professionals when it comes to undermining democracy and trust in American institutions.

Sean Collins is a writer based in New York. Visit his blog, The American Situation.

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Politics USA

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