Source – amgreatness.com
- “…The American public was subjected to a campaign right out of the Soviet playbook designed to obfuscate the Biden family corruption….This is the tale of the epic conspiracy and effort the political Left and their Trump-hating friends on the Right put into hiding Hunter’s laptop”
Hiding Hunter’s Laptop: “Right Out Of The Soviet Playbook”
This is the tale of the epic conspiracy and effort the political Left and their Trump-hating friends on the Right put into hiding Hunter’s laptop…
(Also Read: “He Was Not Arrested”: CNN & MSNBC Ex-Bosses Struggle To Justify Burying The Hunter Biden Story @ https://jonathanturley.org/2022/10/16/he-was-not-arrested-former-cnn-and-msnbc-bosses-struggle-to-justify-burying-hunter-biden-story/)
(Also Read: Whistleblowers Reveal FBI Has ‘Voluminous Evidence’ Of Possible Hunter Biden Criminal Conduct: Senator @ https://www.theepochtimes.com/whistleblowers-reveal-fbi-has-voluminous-evidence-of-potential-hunter-biden-criminal-conduct-senator_4801424.html?src_src=partner&src_cmp=ZeroHedge)
Near the end of the 2020 presidential campaign there was an October Surprise. A shocking and provocative story that could potentially alter the outcome. That was, of course, Hunter Biden’s laptop.
This report shows the full extent of a successful censorship and disinformation campaign by the Left that directly influenced the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
In the final months of the 2020 race an amazing revelation of corruption and actual crimes by Hunter and Joe Biden came to light. The New York Post ran an exposé of emails from a laptop abandoned by Hunter Biden at a repair shop. They showed evidence the Bidens were involved in taking money from foreign entities and providing access to the U.S. government.
At a minimum, these are likely felony violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and perhaps also the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
Joe Biden was the Democratic candidate and the entire country was about to decide whether he was suitable to serve as president. This story was highly relevant for citizens trying to make an informed voting decision. Voters were denied the opportunity to see and evaluate this information. Worse yet, they were subjected to a calculated disinformation campaign designed to discredit it.
This project has identified the conspirators, their strategy, their actions, and the chilling effect they had on our representative democracy. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. It is a perfect example of the tilted playing field for ideas the Left has created. Our goal is to shine so bright a light on their actions they will not be able to do this again.
The Usual Suspects
This operation was run by the same people who control information flow to the vast majority of the American people.
The conspirators were:
- Corporate Media
- Tech Tyrants
- The deep state
- The political Left
These groups wanted to save a weak candidate from the probable defeat to which the evidence contained on that laptop would lead. They had zero regard for the truth, ethics, or the law. They were going to stop Trump by any means necessary, and they did.
Uncle Joe was supposed to be the antidote for Trumpism, the smiling storyteller who wouldn’t cause any trouble. But that carefully crafted fiction would crumble if his involvement in selling out his country to enrich his own family was exposed.
That meant the story had to be covered up, and the Left jumped into action to do so in the fashion Dave Burge noted on Twitter.
And smother it they did.
We must change the overwhelmingly biased information landscape in this country. One side of the political spectrum controls the narrative so completely they successfully censored a story and ran a disinformation campaign of immense magnitude. The first step in changing that information landscape is exposing the organizations, networks, actors and funders who operate it.
The Censorship and Disinformation Campaign
Their strategy had two major components:
- Censorship—Blocking the distribution of this story so voters could not see it
- Disinformation—False or misleading narratives to discredit the information
There was an unprecedented operation in October of 2020 to censor the story of Biden family corruption revealed in the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop. It was a potential death blow to Biden’s already creaky campaign and the combined organs of the Left could not afford to let it see the light of day.
Censorship in America is supposed to be forbidden. The First Amendment means politicians are not permitted to use state power to silence political opponents. That protection has been tested in recent years, as the Left has attempted to brand conservatism as extremism, fascism, and even terrorism. But in this case Biden and his allies could not use the government directly to shut the story down.
Fortunately for them, the bulk of America’s information space is dominated by their allies who are happy to act as co-conspirators. Corporate media, social media, popular culture, academia, and most governmental entities are all solidly on the Left. They all saw the danger posed to them if the public learned how Joe and Hunter had traveled the world selling access to the U.S. levers of power. Hunter took the cash and Joe took the meetings with his foreign clients.
The New York Post is America’s oldest newspaper and when they broke the story of this influence-peddling it was a blockbuster. But the crisis response groupthink of the corporate media kicked in immediately to minimize the damage.
They claimed it had already been “debunked” or that it had been hacked or stolen or was “unverified.” They threw every smear they had at the wall, just hoping something would stick. Nothing they said about the story was based on facts or evidence; It was just a flurry of attempts to bury it before it buried Joe Biden.
The major media outlets wanted to hide or ignore the story, but that wasn’t really possible. The Post was their hated enemy as one of a tiny number of right-of-center outlets, but it was too big to just ignore. And they didn’t have the power to stop the Post from distributing its story.
But social media operates in a completely different fashion and they not only could shut it down— they actually made it disappear.
As you see in the headline above, they tried to play this off as “making sure our elections are secure.” But they had no evidence at all of any foreign involvement or any other threat beyond the danger of American voters learning about Biden corruption. It was a credible story produced by a major U.S. newspaper about information they received from known American sources. Taking these “unusual steps” was partisan bias not “election preparedness.”
Censorship is an ugly thing, especially when it is done to influence the outcome of a presidential election. The tech companies that own and operate our shared information space collectively and individually hated President Trump.
They are led and staffed by an overwhelmingly activist workforce. They are the shock troops in the woke revolution and see themselves as tasked with bringing about the “fundamental transformation” Barack Obama talked about.
Twitter brags about its role on their website:
Freedom of speech is a fundamental human right—but freedom to have that speech amplified by Twitter is not. Our rules exist to promote healthy conversations.
It is fair to note Twitter is not the government and is free to censor speech if it wishes to do so. But when they control the most influential platform for influencing ideas in the world, they can be held to account if they abuse that. Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted this is a problem.
We need to constantly show that we are not adding our own bias, which I fully admit is . . . is more left-leaning.
They have failed miserably in keeping their bias at bay. It infects every aspect of their business model even if it is not written into their policies. Their woke workforce interprets the policies in ways that greatly advantage Democratic politicians and liberal ideas. They simultaneously punish and throttle conservative ones.
This was on full display when the Post article came out and Twitter shut down the Post’s Twitter account, as well as the ability for anyone to share the article.
In line with our Hacked Materials Policy, as well as our approach to blocking URLs, we are taking action to block any links to or images of the material in question on Twitter,” a Twitter spokesperson told The Post in a statement.
Their reasons were unconvincing and illogical:
Twitter is still demanding The Post delete six posts linking to our reporting (tweets that don’t violate their rules!) before restoring our account
Twitter users who attempted to retweet the Post article received an error message and eventually were informed that the article had been identified as “potentially harmful.”
Ironically, they were right for the wrong reason. It was “potentially harmful”. . . not because it was a foreign influence operation, but because it could be deadly to the presidential ambitions of Joe Biden.
Facebook chose a different, but no less improper and biased form of censorship. Their spokesperson Andy Stone, a long time Democratic operative, announced their rationale.
Facebook did not require fact-checking or limit distribution on thousands of stories claiming President Trump colluded with Russia.
Trump-Russia smear stories were a mainstay of Facebook’s curated news content throughout the entire Trump Administration and the 2020 campaign. This was a direct reaction to the unwanted success conservative media had on the platform.
Facebook’s leadership and staff were just as reliably doctrinaire leftists as were Twitter’s. They believed their mission was to bring the world into the woke paradise we all need. But something was going wrong. People kept engaging with conservative content at alarming rates. They had identified this as a problem after Trump’s win in the 2016 election. They couldn’t understand it, but they knew they needed to stop it.
Facebook’s problem was their platform actually worked the way they built it. It allowed people to see content they were likely to enjoy and then engage with. The unintended consequence for the activists at Facebook was that people really liked conservative content.
For one thing, they couldn’t get it elsewhere. When Facebook let them find and share it, they did . . . a lot.
Unlike Twitter, which had actively gamed algorithms and rule enforcement to squash conservatives, Facebook had a basically democratic platform. Popular content ruled and sadly for the Left that meant conservatives had a voice. After the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments phase over the result of the 2016 election had passed, the true believers at Facebook set out to ensure it would never happen again. This actually led to a precursor disinformation campaign related to the ones we are discussing here, which began the use of the chosen narrative, Russian disinformation.
After the 2016 election the existence of a small number of ads on Facebook tied to overseas troll farms was discovered. This became a cause célèbre in the effort to discredit the evil Trump’s victory over the chosen Hillary.
It was not possible for them to fathom Americans could have chosen a vulgarian right-winger in a fair contest, so they needed an external enemy. Russian propaganda was a perfect target. In other words, they employed a technique common to both propaganda and advertising called “An Appeal to Fear.” In this case it is the fear of an external enemy which is a necessary component for those who want to increase the power of government.
Over the ages, governments refined their appeals to popular fears, fostering an ideology that emphasizes the people’s vulnerability to a variety of internal and external dangers from which the governors—of all people! — are said to be their protectors. Government, it is claimed, protects the populace from external attackers and from internal disorder, both of which are portrayed as ever-present threats.
The American Left was looking at Hillary to finish the fundamental transformation begun under Obama and bring benevolent statism to America. It was not possible that both she and the quasi-socialism she represented could have been spurned. No! It was those damn Russians. And thus Russian disinformation became the external threat that had unduly empowered the troglodytes of the Right.
The truth was Russian-linked entities had spent around $150,000 on Facebook ads during the campaign. This was during a campaign into which both candidates were putting close to $1 billion.
That is not to say Russian propaganda was never a real problem. It was a major problem during the Soviet era and it had grown and evolved in the modern age.
The Rand Corporation’s study on Russian propaganda, Firehose of Falsehood, reveals:
Russia has taken advantage of technology and available media in ways that would have been inconceivable during the Cold War. Its tools and channels now include the Internet, social media, and the evolving landscape of professional and amateur journalism and media outlets.
Even though it was nowhere near the threat they hyped it to be, the Left had found their demon. They would use this as the rationale for a censorship campaign to limit the spread and effectiveness of all messages deemed damaging to the cause. This enabled them to attack their political opponents but to wrap it in the patriotic propaganda of “election integrity.”
Starting in 2017 Facebook made a massive push to publicize their newfound zeal to stop anyone from influencing U.S. Elections.
As it turned out, Facebook had its own election meddling plan: stop anyone from influencing elections, except fellow leftists. What they touted as the answer to Russian interference soon morphed into a chance to build and deploy a thought police to shut down ideas they disliked. They had the aircover of election integrity so who could argue with that?
In the intervening time between presidential elections they began to systematically push back not just on foreign influence efforts, but on conservative content they deemed misinformation. This allowed them to limit, or eliminate, the ability for all of those people who had been choosing to engage with conservative content to do so.
The Biden team still wanted more actual election and information interference from Facebook. Campaign Digital Director Rob Flaherty attacked them for suggesting that an even playing field was the right answer.
Everyone works the refs, but the shocking thing here is the appeal to reasonableness. As if it was unchallenged that the Left was fundamentally honest and the Right fundamentally fallacious. Many at Facebook shared that view and their bias became policy.
The collection of bad actors we are discussing here worked together to tilt the playing field in the information space on a daily basis. Any information you get without purposely going directly to a known conservative outlet is filtered through their leftist lens. This control is pervasive and does tremendous damage to having an informed electorate.
All of this culminated in a well-oiled machine ready for action when the damaging information on Hunter’s laptop came to light. They had a plan, they had chosen enemies to blame and they were not about to let the Right use their platforms to tell any truths.
Excuses about the information being hacked or stolen were simply invented to obscure the facts. The tech tyrants did not want the public to know how corrupt Joe Biden was so they served as surrogates for the Biden campaign. Their censorship operations were successful and denied a large number of people the opportunity to judge for themselves.
We can’t know for sure what the impact of this story would have been had it been propagated freely. But it would have been very damaging to a candidate packaged and marketed as kinder, gentler, and more honest than Trump. Now that more is known about the story, recent polling shows people consider that it would have been a highly influential story.
Nearly two-thirds of voters say the story of Hunter Biden’s lost laptop is important and believe President Joe Biden was probably involved in his son’s foreign business deals.
Would that have changed the outcome? Sadly, we’ll never know. But we can make sure it never happens again.
Disinformation—These Are Not the Incriminating Emails You Are Looking For
The definitive book on Cold War era information warfare from our Communist foes is Dezinformatsia: Active Measures in Soviet Strategy. In that book, disinformation is defined as “false, incomplete, or misleading information that is passed, fed, or confirmed to a targeted individual, group, or country.”
The American public was subjected to a campaign right out of the Soviet playbook designed to obfuscate the Biden family corruption. It was concocted and deployed by a loosely connected conspiracy of the media, current and former government officials, the Biden campaign, and the social media tech companies.
As soon as the story broke October 19, 2020 virtually every major and subsidiary media outlet reported on it with negative sentiment using one of two major themes:
First they argued that it was stolen. The immediate response was to deny the provenance of the laptop which was that Hunter Biden had abandoned it at a repair shop. They began questioning that story and throwing out the completely unfounded speculation that it may be stolen.
This smear hit directly at John Paul Mac Isaac, the owner of the repair shop. He provided the contents of the laptop first to law enforcement and when they took no action, to Rudy Giuliani who eventually gave it to the New York Post.
The bulk of the media accounts discussing the story in the next 24 hours included a reference to the “stolen” theme.
The second argument offered was that the laptop was not verified. This was the most defensible part of the smoke screen. Most of the media outlets did not have the hard drive so they could say they had not verified it themselves. However, the New York Post showed numerous items in their reporting that would lead any reasonable person to understand the laptop most likely belonged to Hunter Biden.
During the taping of an interview with President Trump soon after the story broke, Lesley Stahl of “60 Minutes” ran with this narrative.
Stahl denied that the Delaware computer suspected of belonging to Hunter Biden’s was even a story at all after claiming it has been “investigated and discredited.”
“It can’t be verified,” Stahl said of the laptop. “It can’t be verified.”
“What can’t be verified?” Trump said.
It had been investigated, but unlike Stahl’s false claim to the contrary the laptop was not discredited. All of the investigations and verification measures showed the same thing: This was Hunter’s laptop, the information was his and it was devastating.
One of the truly amazing things is the longevity of the media’s willingness to continue to ignore and suppress this story. It was not until March of 2022 that the New York Times and Washington Post both admitted the long-known fact that Hunter’s laptop was Hunter’s laptop.
Their admissions were not because of some ethical epiphany. They were merely part of a new aspect of the disinformation campaign about the likely charges coming from the ongoing investigation into Biden family corruption. They are based on the disinformation tactic popularized by John Ehrlichman, an aide to President Richard Nixon during Watergate. It’s called the modified limited hangout. In other words, mixing partial admissions with additional misinformation in order to confuse people.
There has been an obvious attempt by the same collection of operators to steer coverage of this corruption away from Joe Biden and away from the felony violations of FARA and FCPA. But they know there is too much information publicly available to make the whole thing entirely disappear. The recent stories and admissions that it was true all along are designed to deflect the inevitable revelations of crimes and possible indictments.
That is the regime media’s role, and they played it with vigor. To them the possibility of Trump winning reelection justified any and all possible propagandizing. So they ran with the narrative that the laptop was unverified all the way through the election and beyond until it collapsed under the weight of the truth.
The Deep State/Permanent Bureaucracy
After avoiding any investigation into the details of Biden family corruption on the laptop for months, the evidence was too overwhelming to ignore. But they are still trying to avoid the fact it was a full-on business of selling access to the U.S. government. They want to turn it into simply a matter of Hunter not paying the proper taxes. A Hollywood lawyer paid more than $2 million in delinquent taxes for Hunter and this makes that angle their most likely attempt to sweep the rest under the rug.
The IRS can simply state that there were some minor violations and maybe even slap Hunter with a charge or two. Then they can give him a fine and all the same propaganda outlets can claim the government “dealt with the issue.” This helps them avoid the unmistakable conclusion that Joe Biden is deeply implicated in this and likely guilty of multiple felonies. They can chalk it up to Hunter’s taxes and move on.
This is unacceptable—and even if Joe Biden avoids charges or a possible impeachment, we must expose the conspiracy to conceal information from the American people.
Democratic Political Operatives
Political machines and the tools they employ exist to kill this kind of story. The October surprise from one side faces the censorship and disinformation campaign of the other. Sometimes the October surprise is a fake and the efforts to discredit it are completely justified. That was not the case here. There was zero evidence this was fake and considerable proof it was real.
That put the smear mongers into frenzied overdrive, but as we have outlined they had plenty of willing allies to help spin their tales. This whole effort to discredit the laptop is one of the most successful political warfare operations in U.S. history. And almost every aspect of it was absolute fiction.
The political operatives knew there was something brewing. Steve Bannon had bragged about having the hard drive from Hunter’s laptop. The plans to smear and obfuscate the purveyors of the information and its provenance were ready to drop, as the Daily Beast did immediately:
When the journalist asked Bannon what’s on it and whether he’d release it before the presidential debate, Bannon replied, ‘You’ll see, standby.’ The Post disclosed that Bannon and Rudy Giuliani gave the hard drive to the newspaper, and included an unlikely story about them obtaining it from a computer repairman who copied it.
As The Daily Beast reported today, a network run by Chinese fugitive Guo Wengui, who is Bannon’s business partner, was hyping damaging hard drives obtained by Chinese officials around the same time as Bannon’s Dutch interview.
“An unlikely source” and an insinuation that this may be Chinese in origin were floated. They joined a vast array of stories using the chosen narratives hacked and disinformation.
There were three main propaganda attacks on the story: first that it was hacked, and then two separate attempts to label it a product of Russian disinformation.
Hacked—October 14-15, 2020
As soon as the story broke the initial disinformation campaign was to say the information was hacked. Hearing the word “hacked” creates an instant distaste for the information in most people as the word is associated with stolen credit cards and other criminal activity. It also implies the information is untrustworthy or even fake.
Corporate media and social media outlets were still stinging from the 2016 revelation of Hillary Clinton campaign emails, which damaged her campaign greatly. They took immediate action to censor the story of Hunter’s laptop as soon as it dropped.
The social media companies led off with the chosen crisis message of hacked. For example, Twitter announced:
In line with our Hacked Materials Policy, as well as our approach to blocking URLs, we are taking action to block any links to or images of the material in question on Twitter.
This was despite exactly zero evidence that the material was actually hacked. It was just exceptionally dangerous—to the Biden campaign—so it had to be hidden.
This led the major media organs to cheer for any and all censorship and to cast aspersions on the material before it could gain traction.
After years of inaction, Facebook and Twitter are finally starting to clean up their messes. And in the process, they’re enraging the powerful people who have thrived under the old system.
They rightly believed the emails played a definitive role in Hillary’s defeat.
The alleged Biden laptop situation calls to mind the notorious Wikileaks dump of Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails in October 2016. The press went wild with those materials, which were later determined to have been given to Wikileaks by state-backed Russian hackers. The air of controversy the emails generated likely contributed to Clinton’s loss to Trump.
They were bound and determined not to let that happen again, and they were far too successful for anyone who believes in free speech.
The problem with the hacked narrative was not just that it was an invented falsehood, but that in the end it didn’t actually discredit the actual information. Hillary’s campaign emails were hacked and they were real and they were damaging. The Left needed something more convincing with which they could smear those reporting the facts about the laptop.
Russian Disinformation Round One—October 16-17, 2020
The Left had spent the entire time from Hillary’s defeat in 2016 up through the 2020 election trying (and failing) to pin a charge of Russian collusion on Donald Trump. It went well beyond normal political smears to an unhealthy obsession that distorted all media coverage of Trump’s presidency.
When the laptop story broke it was impossible for them to resist taking another bite of that poisoned apple and Russian disinformation, ironically, became the second major disinformation campaign about the laptop.
This effort was launched using one of the Left’s biggest purveyors of leaks and propaganda: Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
Anywhere lies about Russian influence operations are being told, you can be sure to find Adam Schiff. This operation was no different and, as always, he led the charge with accusations there was absolutely no evidence to support.
Schiff spent most of the Trump Administration telling everyone who would listen that Trump was Putin’s puppet. He would claim to have evidence he could not share and which never materialized. When he made the statement that “we know” the info came from the Kremlin he had nothing to back that up.
He had been pushing the Trump-Russia attack for years and the Wall Street Journal showed he knew it was a lie.
Americans expect that politicians will lie, but sometimes the examples are so brazen that they deserve special notice. Newly released Congressional testimony shows that Adam Schiff spread falsehoods shamelessly about Russia and Donald Trump for three years even as his own committee gathered contrary evidence.
The House Intelligence Committee last week released 57 transcripts of interviews it conducted in its investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. The committee probe started in January 2017 under then-Chair Devin Nunes and concluded in March 2018 with a report finding no evidence that the Trump campaign conspired with the Kremlin. Most of the transcripts were ready for release long ago, but Mr. Schiff oddly refused to release them after he became chairman in 2019. He only released them last week when the White House threatened to do it first.
He was the perfect member of the usual suspects to bring the Russian disinformation tale into play. He launched it with the assistance of Wolf Blitzer on CNN.
This led to a lawsuit from the computer shop owner John Paul Mac Isaac, who did not take kindly to being defamed.
It was pretty quick out of the gate that I was labeled a hacker and then, after Adam Schiff and 51 intelligence experts decided to pen a letter and tell the rest of the American people I was a Russian asset, things have gone downhill from there.
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe immediately debunked Schiff’s tale.
“Hunter Biden’s laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” Ratcliffe said. “Let me be clear: The intelligence community doesn’t believe that because there is no intelligence that supports that. And we have shared no intelligence with Adam Schiff, or any member of Congress,” he said.
That only brought Schiff’s deep state allies in the intelligence community into the game. They tried to undercut their boss Ratcliffe by saying there was an investigation into whether the laptop was tied to efforts of any foreign intelligence services. To get their information out they went to one of their favorite palace scribes: Ken Dilanian of NBC.
Dilanian was well known as a tool for the IC who would ensure their leaks and undermining of their official leadership got the attention they wanted to receive. In this case they fed him a line that there was an investigation into Hunter’s laptop.
Dilanian promptly parroted the propaganda. There actually was an investigation. It would have been malfeasance if there wasn’t.
But there was no link to foreign intelligence operations because it actually was Hunter’s laptop and the IC already knew that. But they had the ability, using helpful media lap dog Dilanian, to get massive coverage of their fiction.
The combination of Schiff lying on CNN and Dilanian putting it out via NBC gave the disinformation campaign using the Russian disinformation narrative its first major bump.
The deep state had already been involved in influencing the election from the executive offices of our security organs in September.
Testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee, Wray told lawmakers that Russia is primarily interfering through ‘malign foreign influence in an effort to hurt Biden’s campaign’—echoing the intelligence community’s public assessment on Moscow’s meddling efforts issued last month.
Wray’s comments come as President Donald Trump and several other top administration officials have recently attempted to play up the theory that China is meddling to get Biden elected, while downplaying well-founded reports that Russia is trying to help Trump win again, like it did in 2016.
The Department of Justice, including Wray and others, were complicit in putting the fictional Steele dossier into play. This attempt to smear then candidate Trump during the 2016 election was commissioned by the Hillary Clinton campaign and propagated by the same crew now attempting to hide the Hunter story.
There is a painful irony in creating a disinformation campaign about a fantasy of Russian disinformation to discredit a story when it is directed by people who invented a previous fake tale of Russian collusion with Trump to smear him in 2016. They failed in 2016, although not for lack of effort. The Mueller investigation into non-existent Russian collusion acted as a drag on the Trump Administration for more than two years.
They never let go of that failure to take down Trump and now they trotted Russia out again to try and save the endangered Biden campaign.
Russian Disinformation Round Two—October 19-20, 2020
The first round of attempts to call the laptop story Russian disinformation fall into the crisis communications category of propaganda efforts. The real planned and coordinated campaign launched when a group of former U.S. Intelligence officials wrote an open letter claiming the story “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”
Note the use of the weasel wording “all the classic earmarks.” They lawyered this letter very hard because they knew there was not an ounce of evidence that Russia had anything at all to do with the laptop But they also knew that if they abused their credibility as former members and leaders of our intelligence agencies, they would achieve the desired effect of Laptop story=Russian disinformation.
They broke the story with a back channel from former CIA Director John Brennan to another willing palace scribe, Natasha Bertrand, then working at Politico. She was a reliable conduit for the deep state to get its messaging out, as was Politico.
Her story on October 19, 2020 was highly effective in launching the official deep state disinformation campaign that Hunter’s laptop was Russian disinformation.
Again, the irony is so thick here it is hard even to fathom the unmitigated gall of these people. They purposely misled the American people by running the exact type of campaign they were busy falsely creating the impression the Russians were doing.
Bertrand was an easy choice for the job of launching this, as she had been a lead member of the Trump-Russia cabal for years. She pushed every angle, trying vainly to midwife that nonexistent narrative into an actual scandal. All of that was fed by an ongoing collection of leaks from many of the same people who now signed this letter.
The leader of this effort was John Brennan who had become so unhinged with Trump hatred he had lost the ability to pretend otherwise.
At the same time, he was organizing this bipartisan group of supposedly unbiased “professionals,” he was giving statements like this bashing Trump regularly.
“He’s just going to continue along this trajectory of incompetence, ineptitude, corruption, malfeasance, deceit, lying, and fueling polarization at home,” Brennan said, adding alienating allies and cozying up to dictators to the list. “And that’s just the start.”
Former CIA operations officer Charles Faddis noted Brennan’s pivotal anti-Trump role: “Mr. Brennan is at the heart of the efforts to prevent Donald Trump from ever being president.”
Brennan minion Nick Shapiro tried to spin the letter, saying “the whole point was that the Russians most likely spread the information, whether it was disinformation or accurate information,” except there was zero Russian involvement of any kind. The most likely reason to call the information Russian-based was simply to discredit it.
Not all were willing to prostitute themselves and join Brennan’s anti-Trump crusade
A former national security official who was asked to sign the letter but declined to do so told the Washington Examiner that Brennan’s involvement with the letter was problematic because of his anti-Trump commentary and repeated claims of Trump-Russia collusion, and Brennan’s name on the letter made it look like he was running a ‘rear guard action’ as a favor to Biden.
As a private citizen John Brennan has every right to publicly air his political preference and grievances. But he used the prestige of his previous role as CIA director to recruit fellow travelers and operate a blatant attempt to mislead the public for transparently political purposes. That is a bridge too far.
It enabled Joe Biden himself to make this statement at the final debate:
Biden campaign officials also participated in the disinformation campaign, lying directly to the American public. Even the letter from the former intelligence community partisans did not state the laptop story was definitively Russian disinformation. They knew there was not a single piece of evidence showing that, and they rightly feared legal consequences.
But members of Biden’s crew were scared enough to risk pushing lies and made definitive statements that are completely indefensible.
Many members of the Biden campaign and future members of his administration echoed the IC letter, but Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield went further and outright claimed the invented tale of Russian disinformation was true, insisting whenever Trump brought the topic up:
I think we need to be very, very clear that what he’s doing here is amplifying Russian misinformation.
The others hedged their bets by simply parroting the propaganda of the IC letter. Bedingfield made this declarative statement on a conference call with reporters and cited no proof it was true or a single piece of evidence beyond the baseless speculation that it “has all the hallmarks of Russian information operation.”
She clearly had nothing to justify using the language she did and it served to purposely misinform the American public.
In a Washington Post “news” story on October 24, 2020 just after the final debate, two members of their crack journalistic crew decided to go all-in as well.
In their story, they accused the Trump team of running a disinformation campaign.
Director of National Intelligence Ratcliffe’s statement that the story was not Russian disinformation was interpreted broadly in the media as a partisan gesture designed to bolster a disinformation campaign launched directly by Trump’s allies, rather than a formal assessment from the U.S. intelligence community.
The unmitigated gall to actually invent a second disinformation campaign accusation inside the existing Russian disinformation creation, when in fact they were part of the only actual disinformation campaign against the American people . . . is gobsmacking.
They also got Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates to step out well past the facts and claim:
We know who is behind this, and it is the same hostile foreign power whose assistance Donald Trump has repeatedly courted
He did in fact “know who is behind this,” except it was not the Russians but the merry band of domestic propagandists of which he was a member. This was direct collusion between the Biden campaign and two Washington Post reporters to create an even bigger lie. According to them not only was the laptop story a Russian operation, but Trump’s allies were also part of the disinformation campaign as well.
The Washington Post also brought in a supposed expert on disinformation to bolster the fact-less nature of their own disinformation campaign.
In a piece on October 24, 2020 Thomas Rid said “we must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation—even if they probably aren’t.” That is an amazing statement, akin to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” They didn’t need the story to be true, they just needed the rest of the media to treat it that way.
We will never know exactly how large an effect this unprecedented operation had on the 2020 election. But it was likely the broadest election influence conspiracy conducted by domestic entities in U.S. history.
John Sipher, a member of the former intelligence community disinformation effort, even bragged about flipping the election in a Twitter scrap with Ric Grenell.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was called to testify to Congress shortly after the election.
While Dorsey did admit it was a mistake, he still tried to deflect from the completely obvious political bias in the case. “It was literally just a process error. This was not against them in any particular way,” Dorsey told the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
That would be hard to believe in the best of circumstances. After four years of participating in the effort to smear President Trump for collusion with Russia, Twitter has zero credibility on the topic. Add to that the numerous instances of selective enforcement of their rules to disadvantage conservative voices and his spin falls flat.
Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson blasted the disinformation campaign:
My main point is that the mainstream media, their bias, their corruption, their complicity in the Russian collusion hoax, interfered with our elections. Had a far greater impact on our elections than anything Russia or China ever could hope to accomplish. But they’re never held accountable because they have to hold themselves accountable, and they are not going to do that.
The only lesson the political Left learned was that it worked. They figured out that as long as they are the deciders of what is disinformation, they have a license to censor.
Multiple whistleblowers have informed Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that an FBI agent named Timothy Thibault intervened to stop any investigation into the laptop story until after the election.
“In October 2020, an avenue of additional derogatory Hunter Biden reporting was ordered closed at the direction of ASAC Thibault,” Grassley wrote six weeks ago in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland.
More whistleblowers have surfaced and they all tell a tale of a politicized FBI and other state security organs being abused to attack political opponents of the Left.
It didn’t take long for the Biden Administration to start institutionalizing this game plan with a public/private partnership. They took the election integrity banner and added the idea of domestic terrorism, then had the Department of Homeland Security include a call for thought police at the social media companies in their National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism.
These efforts speak to a broader priority: enhancing faith in government and addressing the extreme polarization, fueled by a crisis of disinformation and misinformation often channeled through social media platforms, which can tear Americans apart and lead some to violence.
Translation: Your ideas are dangerous to our ability to aggregate state power, and we are going to shut you down. Social media companies have been censoring conservative speech very happily, and Americans have been told that’s just fine because they’re private companies. But this was a bald-faced announcement of a public-private partnership to create a national thought police.
The Biden crew continued to expand pressure on social media.
In July 2021, White House press secretary Jen Psaki and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy argued that social media platforms should combat health “misinformation.” Murthy said, “We’re saying we expect more from our technology companies . . . . We’re asking them to consistently take action against misinformation super-spreaders on their platforms.” At the same press conference, Psaki said, “We are in regular touch with these social media platforms, and those engagements typically happen through members of our senior staff, but also members of our COVID-19 team . . . We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.”
This eventually led to the announcement of the DHS Disinformation Governance Board. This ill-fated attempt to actually establish a “Ministry of Truth” was a shocking—and yes, Orwellian—attempt to give the thought police official status.
Nina Jankowicz was chosen to run the operation. Like most of the chosen disinformation specialists her actual expertise was in the creation and propagation. She has a long history of pushing the fabricated tale of Trump Russia collusion.
She stated: “Trump had not one, but two secret email servers to communicate with influential Russian bank. Unbelievable.”
Fact was he had zero servers and this was pure disinformation.
The outcry was immediate—and for once, effective—delaying the launch and finally trashing the whole idea. In a case of multilevel propaganda and gobsmacking irony, Jankowicz tried to claim the demise of her role as Big Sister before it even began was itself due to disinformation.
We’re not just talking about speech that happens to be inconvenient for someone’s political viewpoint. Disinformation is false or misleading information spread with malign intent. In this case, the intent would be to hurt or harm the American people. That’s the type of stuff that we were looking at: where disinformation had a nexus with offline action. So violence or making people unsafe in some way.
The idea is to help people understand how these techniques of manipulation look when they encounter them online. To help people recognize when they’re being manipulated or when they’re being scammed.
We can’t for a second think that they have abandoned their efforts to control our information space. They will simply conduct the same operations in existing parts of our security apparatus. It is up to us to find and dismantle those as well.
This was perhaps the most complete conspiracy to conduct a disinformation campaign designed to influence a U.S. election, ever. The Federal Election Commission (FEC), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) must promulgate rules that require companies that control a large enough amount of our shared information space to operate with a presumption of free speech.
Yes, this is government intervention into the operations of private corporations, but we have just laid out how dangerous they can be without some oversight.
We would not let the power company refuse service to customers based on political orientation, and the major information operators should have no right to do so, either. Google and Facebook control a majority of the online advertising market. That gives them outsized power and they use it to strangle competitors. They also use it to put their left-leaning filter on all information they provide.
The legal avenues to change this are challenging, but not impossible. The first thing we have to do is file as many lawsuits in as many venues as possible and make the Left defend them. We can make it too damaging to the corporate boards and investors to allow these woke corporations to run rampant.
There are also increasing opportunities to file consumer-based suits based on breach of contract and failure of the tech firms to fairly apply their own rules. Giving users some ownership over content they create can be done at the state level as well.
The lawsuit by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana against the Biden Administration is a great example of lawfare. They allege collusion between tech and government actors to have the tech tyrants act to censor things the government cannot. This abridges the free speech of the citizens of their states. This suit survived a challenge on standing and was awarded expedited discovery for a potential injunction.
The conspiracy to hide Hunter’s laptop was the largest censorship and disinformation campaign ever conducted to influence a U.S. election. All elements of the political Left combined to stop this story and mislead the American public. They censored the facts about Biden family corruption, then created and propagated a disinformation campaign to falsely convince the American public the laptop was Russian disinformation.
This shameless operation was successful.
After they achieved their goal, most of the major media outlets have been forced to admit the truth about the laptop. Not because some new information came out, but because their lies and obfuscation were about to be revealed, as we have shown here.
Many on the political Right worked tirelessly to expose this corruption, which would have otherwise been swept under the rug. But we must also work just as hard to ensure the Left can never mount this type of propaganda effort again. The American people cannot safely operate our republic if they have an information space that is controlled by malign forces.
The challenge now is to expose and dismantle this control and establish an information space based on free speech. We must have a marketplace of ideas and let the best ones win.
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For more on this developing story, check out the embedded video below: