Republicans can’t ignore this any longer.
OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
On Thursday, it was revealed that the FBI personnel who had been alerting social media companies about a potential Russian “hack and leak” operation during the 2020 election were aware that Hunter Biden’s laptop was not a result of Russian disinformation.
The revelation emerged during a transcribed interview conducted on July 17, 2023, with Laura Dehmlow, the Section Chief of the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF), by the House Judiciary Committee and Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, Trending Politics reported.
The New York Post published a story about alleged influence peddling by the Biden family based on the laptop’s contents. Despite maintaining regular communication with social media companies for months, the FBI chose not to respond to direct inquiries regarding the laptop’s authenticity.
The lack of clarity led social media companies to assume that the laptop might be the result of a hack-and-dump operation, leading them to conclude that the New York Post’s story could be Russian disinformation. That conclusion had far-reaching consequences, as it resulted in widespread censorship of the story on major social media platforms.
Some critics have even said ignoring the evidence amounted to blatant election interference on behalf of Joe Biden.
n October 14, 2020, the same day the Post released its story, representatives from the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force met with Twitter as part of a pre-arranged meeting. During this meeting, a Twitter employee inquired about the authenticity of the laptop.
While an analyst from the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, who was part of the FITF, began to confirm that the laptop was real, an FBI lawyer intervened and stated that the FBI had “no further comment” on the matter of the laptop’s origin.
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Later that day, the Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF) held a meeting with Facebook. During this meeting, a Facebook employee asked Dehmlow a similar question about Hunter Biden’s laptop, to which she replied that the FBI had “no comment.”
That response was made despite the fact that the FBI possessed the laptop and had already verified its authenticity. According to Dehmlow, several personnel within the FITF were aware that the laptop was indeed real.
In the hours after the New York Post’s story was published, Twitter blocked the sharing of the story, and Facebook limited its circulation, significantly reducing its visibility in users’ newsfeeds. These actions by the FBI hindered millions of Americans from obtaining a clear understanding of a crucial issue during the 2020 presidential election.
The FBI’s silence regarding the laptop also had significant ramifications.
Before the November 3, 2020, presidential election, the FBI did not officially confirm that the laptop was “real” and under its possession. Dehmlow testified to the Committee that if the Hunter Biden story had been a result of an actual Russian disinformation campaign, the FITF would have been fully authorized to alert the companies about such a campaign.
The FBI’s decision not to verify the laptop’s authenticity led to widespread censorship of a factual news story. The situation raises significant concerns about the FBI’s role and its handling of information that could impact public opinion and the electoral process, Trending Politics added.
The full letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, which provides a detailed account of the events and the FBI’s handling of the situation, can be found here.