Former intelligence officer James Clapper claimed in October 2020 that Hunter Biden’s laptop was “Russian tradecraft” — despite his claim Monday that Politico distorted a letter, which he had signed, saying the laptop reporting was possible Russian disinformation.
The letter, signed by 51 intel officials and dated October 19, 2020, was intended to discredit the New York Post’s report by Emma-Jo Morris that revealed the Biden family engaged in foreign business affairs while Joe Biden was a U.S. official. The infamous and widely debunked letter was released in a Politico story by reporter Natasha Bertrand, titled “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.”
In the following weeks and months, many establishment media organizations and personalities then used the Politico article and letter to discount the revelations from Hunter’s laptop, such as those about corruption that allegedly involve now-President Joe Biden.
Days before the letter was published in Politico, Clapper appeared on CNN and suggested the New York Post’s article about the emails on the laptop were “just classic textbook Soviet Russian tradecraft at work” to manipulate the 2020 election in favor of former President Donald Trump.
“The Russians have analyzed the target. They understand the president and his enablers crave dirt on Vice President Biden… and so, all of a sudden, two and a half weeks before the election, this laptop appears somehow with emails on it,” he said. “It’s all very curious”:
“To me, this is just classic textbook Soviet Russian tradecraft at work,” former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says as authorities are investigating if recently published emails are tied to a Russian disinformation effort targeting Biden. https://t.co/shyMNnJ7Yr pic.twitter.com/GFSeIWXeY4
— CNN (@CNN) October 17, 2020
Clapper’s opinion of the letter he signed appeared to suddenly shift on Monday, years after he claimed the laptop was “Russian tradecraft.” Clapper told the Washington Post that Politico “deliberately distorted” the letter he signed.
“There was message distortion,” Clapper said. “All we were doing was raising a yellow flag that this could be Russian disinformation. Politico deliberately distorted what we said. It was clear in paragraph five.”
The letter specifically stated the emails from the New York Post’s story were genuine and that no evidence existed that they were Russian tradecraft.
“We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post … are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement,” the letter linked in Bertrand’s article said.
Clapper’s decision to distance himself from Bertrand’s Politico reporting comes after numerous other establishment media outlets have admitted the New York Post’s report to be true. In addition, Clapper’s changed opinion comes as House Republicans are investigating the Biden family for nine violations, including money laundering and wire fraud, from evidence found on the laptop.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.