On Oct. 14, the New York Post became the carrier of this year’s October surprise: emails reportedly from Hunter Biden’s laptop that seem to indicate Joe Biden may have been more cognizant of his son’s overseas dealings than he’s previously let on.
The information came from a laptop that Hunter Biden allegedly dropped off at a Delaware repair shop in 2019 and neglected to retrieve. Along with some, ahem, embarrassing materials on the MacBook, there were also a trove of emails.
Two in particular quickly became matters of interest in the campaign. One involved an alleged meeting Hunter Biden set up a meeting between an executive at Burisma — the Ukrainian energy firm where Hunter served on the board — and the then-vice president.
The other involved a cryptic email after Joe Biden left office about a deal in China that involved “remuneration,” including “10 held by H for the big guy?” A business associate of Hunter Biden’s, Tony Bobulinski, says “the big guy” was Joe Biden.
Last year, Joe Biden claimed that he had “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings,” according to the New York Post. Hunter, meanwhile, said he only talked to his father about Burisma one time. That’s why this is important — particularly if it created conflicts of interest for Biden père during his time as vice president.
But, of course, there were shrieks from the left insisting this was all Russian disinformation. There was no evidence for this, but we shouldn’t need evidence.
Thomas Rid, writing at The Washington Post, aptly summed up the facile nature of the disinformation argument neatly without even trying to: “Take a step back, and the Russian interference of 2016 holds valuable lessons on what to do and what not to do in 2020: We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren’t.”
It seems to have worked. A Harvard CAPS-Harris survey found 51 percent of respondents believe the discovery of Hunter Biden’s alleged laptop is Russian disinformation, according to The Hill.
For whatever it’s worth, 60 percent of them agreed that Twitter banning users from sharing the New York Post’s reporting was wrong. The survey was conducted online on Oct. 27 and 28 among 2,093 registered voters.
“A majority believe the Hunter Biden story is Russian disinformation,” Harvard CAPS-Harris polling director Mark Penn said. “And although most think it should be investigated further, the allegations are playing no role today in affecting the outcome. Most opposed the actions of social media to censor the story.”
Whatever you may think of the relevance of the story, it’s not disinformation. The Biden campaign hasn’t said the emails were false, which is telling enough. They simply hide behind the disinformation excuse.
Early on, intelligence officials actively nipped this theory in the bud, however. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, appearing Oct. 19 on Fox Business, said claims of foreign interference were “simply not true.”
“Let me be clear,” he said, “the intelligence community doesn’t believe [it was Russian disinformation] because there is no intelligence that supports that.”
“We have shared no intelligence with [House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff] or any other member of Congress that Hunter Biden’s laptop is part of a Russian disinformation campaign,” he continued.
According to Fox News, sources within the Department of Justice don’t believe the emails are part of a Russian disinformation campaign. Sources within the FBI, not necessarily known as a hive of pro-Trump activity at its higher echelons, reportedly concur.
ONE senior federal law enforcement official says:
1-The FBI and DOJ concur with DNI Ratcliffe’s assessment that Hunter Biden’s laptop and emails in question were not part of a Russian disinformation campaign.
2-The FBI DOES have possession of the Hunter Biden laptop in question.
— Jake Gibson (@JakeBGibson) October 20, 2020
The FBI has been in possession of Hunter Biden’s laptop since December. For those who expound the Russian disinformation theory, the onus should be on them to explain the likelihood that our nation’s top law enforcement and intelligence services have been probing the contents of the computer — as well as their provenance — and haven’t been able to suss out the influence of the Kremlin given the better part of a year.
Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, told Fox News that he had his staff review and verify the contents of the hard drive independently and that “they’re as real as real can be.”
He also brought up “the fundamental question” in the matter: “Why won’t Joe Biden say they’re not real? If they’re not accurate, if these aren’t accurate emails why won’t the Bidens say so?”
Going further, the Daily Caller News Foundation brought in an independent digital forensic expert, Robert Graham, the founder of cybersecurity firm Errata Security.
The outlet reported Graham “used a cryptographic signature found in the email’s metadata to validate that an account used by Vadym Pozharsky, an advisor to Burisma’s board of directors, emailed Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015.”
This was the email which called into question how much Joe Biden knew about his son’s work in Ukraine, since Pozharsky thanked Hunter for “inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together.”
“Graham said the only way the email could have been faked is if someone hacked into Google’s servers, found the private key and used it to reverse engineer the email’s DKIM signature,” the DCNF reported Thursday.
Yet, in the 10-plus months that our intelligence services have had Hunter Biden’s laptop — and in the two-plus weeks since the information on it was released — the resources of those same intelligence agencies haven’t been able to find any evidence this was orchestrated by the Putin regime.
This is the insuperable obstacle to calling Hunter Biden’s laptop disinformation. It’s an evidence-free desire to wish a story away.
This is the Thomas Rid defense: The data is probably genuine and probably not Russian interference, but after 2016, we have to act as if those things aren’t true.
Fifty-one percent of respondents to the Harvard CAPS-Harris survey apparently thought this way.
From all available evidence, they’re also wrong.
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