Love means you never have to say you’re sorry … and apparently so does the title “intel expert.” Just kidding! As everyone knows, love means you have to constantly say you’re sorry. But for the dozens of intel experts who insisted that the Hunter Biden laptop story smelled like Russian disinformation and wrote a collective letter that the media treated as a debunking, welllllllll …..
The New York Post has not forgotten nor forgiven, but we’ll get to that in a moment. First, their editorial board has a few things to say about its competitors in the media markets, especially the New York Times, which took seventeen months to “authenticate” what the Post had already authenticated. Repeatedly, in fact, while media outlets either yawned or lied about it, the editorial board argues:
Forgive the profanity, but you have got to be s–tting us.
First, the New York Times decides more than a year later that Hunter Biden’s business woes are worthy of a story. Then, deep in the piece, in passing, it notes that Hunter’s laptop is legitimate.
“People familiar with the investigation said prosecutors had examined emails between Mr. Biden, Mr. Archer and others about Burisma and other foreign business activity,” the Times writes. “Those emails were obtained by The New York Times from a cache of files that appears to have come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop. The email and others in the cache were authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation.”
Authenticated!!! You don’t say. You mean, when a newspaper actually does reporting on a topic and doesn’t just try to whitewash coverage for Joe Biden, it discovers it’s actually true? …
Why was it unsubstantiated? Because of willful ignorance and the Times’ curious lack of curiosity. Hunter’s business partner Tony Bobulinski came forward immediately after The Post’s reports and confirmed that the emails bearing his name were legitimate. The Bidens didn’t even deny it was true! They just deflected, with the media’s help, saying it was a dirty trick or not a story. Mostly, the press just ignored it.
It’s curious that the NYT suddenly found it interesting enough to authenticate seventeen months later … after the election. Curious, indeed.
Speaking of curious, what about the dozens of intelligence experts who weren’t? The Post’s editors tried to follow up with the 51 former intel officials who signed an open letter in October 2020 strongly suggesting that this was just another Russian psy-op. The laptop, they claimed at the time, “has the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” rather than the classic earmarks of an incompetent scion of Biden Inc, itself not an operation that covered itself in competence.
What about now?
There have been no consequences. Twitter and Facebook still censor information based on political bias, and Congress takes no action. Many of the letter signers continue to be used as “experts” by the media. Clapper, for instance, spent years on CNN calling Donald Trump a “Russian asset,” a lie invented and fed by political operatives of Hillary Clinton. He’s still there. Guess accuracy is not a condition of employment.
Do the officials who tried to flip the 2020 election feel any regret for their actions? The Post reached out to those who signed the letter. Most would answer the question. A few doubled-down, including Clapper. No remorse. No shame. And no apologies[.]
Almost all of them refused to comment now that their considered judgment blew up in their faces. Clapper, interestingly, was among the few who responded:
Jim Clapper, former director of national intelligence, now CNN pundit: “Yes, I stand by the statement made AT THE TIME, and would call attention to its 5th paragraph. I think sounding such a cautionary note AT THE TIME was appropriate.” …
Russ Travers, former National Counterterrorism Center acting director: “The letter explicitly stated that we didn’t know if the emails were genuine, but that we were concerned about Russian disinformation efforts. I spent 25 years as a Soviet/Russian analyst. Given the context of what the Russians were doing at the time (and continue to do — Ukraine being just the latest example), I considered the cautionary warning to be prudent.”
Andy Liepman, former National Counterterrorism Center deputy director: “As far as I know I do [stand by the statement] but I’m kind of busy right now.” …
Don Hepburn, former national security executive, now president of Boanerges Solutions LLC: “My position has not changed any. I believe the Russians made a huge effort to alter the course of the election . . . The Russians are masters of blending truth and fiction and making something feel incredibly real when it’s not. Nothing I have seen really changes my opinion. I can’t tell you what part is real and what part is fake, but the thesis still stands for me, that it was a media influence hit job.” …
Emile Nakhleh, former director of CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program, now at University of New Mexico: “I have not seen any information since then that would alter the decision behind signing the letter. That’s all I can go into. The whole issue was highly politicized and I don’t want to deal with that. I still stand by that letter.”
Yeah, it certainly was “highly politicized,” but that might have been because the e-mails in question revealed attempts to profit off of Joe Biden’s high political position. The media response was equally “highly politicized,” including the letter Nakhleh signed. Let’s also not forget that Clapper in particular has a rather substantial record of false testimony, a history that reflects on CNN’s decision to hire him as a trusted expert in the first place.
As far as hiding behind the cover-your-ass language about not reaching a conclusion on whether the e-mails were genuine, that’s a non-starter too. That’s a good reason to take no public position on the matter, not to sign a public letter telling everyone to ignore the issue because it might be disinformation. Or better yet, it would have been an excellent opportunity to look at the evidence themselves, including the corroboration provided by Tony Bobulinksi, before publicly declaring a conclusion about it. The clear intent of that letter was to provide media outlets cover for claiming that the Post’s reporting had been debunked, when the evidence hadn’t even been reviewed by these experts.
There was a political operation involved here, all right, but it wasn’t by the Russians. The media establishment — egged on by Democrats who resented Donald Trump, sometimes for very good reasons — cooked up a political operation to distract voters away from the years-long corruption of Biden Inc. That culminated in an attempt to shut down the Post’s access to social media for the crime of reporting on Hunter Biden’s potential criminal activity, which the NYT now wants to do while converting it to their own “scoop.”
You can’t blame the New York Post’s editors for demanding some accountability. And for rubbing it in for a while, either.