by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
If there’s one thing that the Hunter Biden laptop episode has proven, it is that former directors of the Central Intelligence Agency aren’t as adept at evaluating evidence as advertised.
Five former directors or acting directors of the CIA signed a letter asserting that the laptop, first reported by the New York Post in the weeks before the election, “has all the classic hallmarks of a Russian information operation.”
More than 50 former senior intelligence officials, including former director of national intelligence James Clapper, endorsed the letter, which was used by the Biden campaign and the press to discredit the damning emails about Hunter Biden’s business dealings.
The signatories should have thought better of their missive when they felt compelled to include the line, “We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal attorney, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement.”
That also should have tipped reporters off to the fact that the letter was rank speculation masquerading as informed analysis. But true to form, they happily ran with it instead.
In a complete reversal from the Cold War era, journalists in the Trump years have not only reflexively believed representations from national-security professionals about nefarious Russian plots, they have actively sought them out and promoted them.
In this case, it was former U.S. intelligence officials who were spreading disinformation in an attempt to mislead the American public about a consequential matter touching on the front-runner in an American presidential campaign. The call came from inside the house.
Anyone believing the officials, who used their past titles and long experience to lend credibility to their letter, would have been shocked to learn last week that Hunter Biden is under federal investigation for tax crimes.