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Tipsheet

CIA Being Sued for Info on Its Role in Letter Calling Hunter's Laptop Russian Disinfo

A new lawsuit filed on Thursday by Judicial Watch seeks to obtain information from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) about its role in the publication of a letter signed by 51 former intelligence community officials which claimed Hunter Biden's Laptop from hell bore "all the earmarks of a Russian disinformation campaign." The lawsuit comes after the CIA failed to respond to Judicial Watch's initial FOIA request for the information.

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While Hunter's laptop and the letter from former intelligence officials are now well-known, many may not be aware that the CIA's Prepublication Classification Review Board (PCRB) reviewed the letter and approved it just days before it was cited by candidate Joe Biden in his second debate against then-President Donald Trump. As Judicial Watch explains of the timeline and CIA's involvement:

In October 2020, in the run-up to the presidential election, the New York Post reported that Hunter Biden’s laptop, which was abandoned at a Delaware computer shop, contained embarrassing and possibly incriminating information about the Biden family. In a May 10, 2023, report the House Judiciary Committee revealed that on October 19, 2020, three days before the second presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democrat candidate Joe Biden, then-Acting CIA Director Michael Morell sent the PCRB the finalized letter for review, calling it a “rush job,” and quickly secured its approval.

The new lawsuit comes after a previous public records request from Judicial Watch received no response from the CIA. The group's initial FOIA request sought "[r]ecords and communications of the Prepublication Classification Review Board, Central Intelligence Agency, including emails, email chains, email attachments, text messages, cables, voice recordings, correspondence, statements, letters, memoranda, reports, presentations, notes, or other form of record, regarding an October 19, 2020, email request to review and 'clear' a letter involving the Hunter Biden laptop story potentially having Russian involvement or being a Russian disinformation plot."

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That information is sought by more than just Judicial Watch. Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have been seeking such information to conduct oversight of the CIA based on knowledge of at least some communications from within the Agency that would be responsive to such requests. In addition, Judicial Watch noted that lawmakers "have received evidence that the CIA, or at least an employee of the CIA, may have helped to solicit signatories for the statement about Hunter Biden." That would certainly be something if true because, as Judicial Watch noted, such a reality "raises fundamental concerns about the role of the CIA in helping to falsely discredit allegations about the Biden family in the weeks before the 2020 presidential election."

As has already been established via congressional testimony, the Biden campaign was behind the letter. Former intel officials signed on and it was released in time for Biden to use at a pivotal moment in the final stretch of his campaign and while debating Donald Trump to assert that Hunter's laptop and its damning contents were nothing more than Russian disinformation. If it turns out that someone, or multiple people, at the CIA were helping the Biden campaign's effort to discredit Hunter's laptop and help Joe Biden in his campaign, then there's a whole new can of worms to dig through for oversight and accountability.

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It might sound like the plot of a political thriller, but given Joe Biden was apparently emailing under a pseudonym to evade FOIA requests of his communications with Hunter and others, is it really that far-fetched to think that the CIA would be in on the plot to cover for Hunter's myriad misdeeds? If America's institutions are to deserve the trust of Americans, they need to be forthright and responsive to requests for oversight and review — especially on issues as fraught as this. The fact that a lawsuit was necessitated by the CIA's refusal to respond to Judicial Watch's previous request only casts more doubt on the integrity of the CIA.

"The Deep State CIA, it seems, engaged in election interference and a political operation against the American people to help Joe Biden and hurt Trump," remarked Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton on Thursday. "Now the CIA is ignoring FOIA law to cover up its role in the scandal, censoring and suppressing the Hunter Biden/Joe Biden laptop story just before the presidential election," added Fitton.

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