Who does James Clapper think he’s fooling on Hunter Biden’s laptop?

President Joe Biden Easter Egg Roll
Hunter Biden during the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn on April 18, 2022. (Photo by Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Who does James Clapper think he’s fooling on Hunter Biden’s laptop?

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Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who is also an analyst for CNN, appeared on the network yesterday to declare that he stands by his politically motivated lie that the Russians might have manipulated the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Clapper and 50 other former intelligence officials tried to persuade the public in 2020 with a letter claiming that the New York Post’s story “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” Though he later argued that the media shouldn’t have treated their statement as conclusive, the text plainly conveys their “view that the Russians are involved in the Hunter Biden email issue.”


Clapper told CNN host Kaitlan Collins that he doesn’t “regret” signing the letter. “I thought, at the time, that it was appropriate to sound a warning about, watch out for the dark hand of the Russians,” he explained.

“To this day, I still have not seen any official results of a forensic analysis of that laptop as to whether or not, in some way, the Russians messed with it,” he said.

If he hasn’t seen such reports, it’s because he hasn’t looked. The Washington Post painfully admitted last year that a forensic analysis confirmed some of its contents to be authentic, though it downplayed the findings as much as possible with phrases such as “appears to be.” Two months later, a thorough analysis by a cyber forensics expert found no evidence of hacking or manipulation.

Almost everyone has come around to the fact that the laptop story was real, including even the Twitter executives who censored it. They confessed to Congress in February that it was a mistake to believe the laptop was hacked, an idea that the FBI put in their heads by relentlessly telling them to be on the lookout for Russian activity before the story broke.

We now know that the reason why the intelligence community discredited the story, and the alleged reason why the FBI wouldn’t investigate the laptop, was to protect Joe Biden’s chances of becoming president. Former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morrell testified in May that he wrote the letter after a phone call with Joe Biden’s campaign adviser “because I wanted [Joe Biden] to win the election.” Clapper, who made his animus toward former President Donald Trump apparent to all, later testified that he knew the Biden campaign had requested the statement.

Ahead of a televised presidential debate with Trump, Morell sent an email asking his colleagues to sign the letter “to give [Joe Biden] a talking point” in case Trump brought up the story. Joe Biden proceeded to cite the letter as proof that the story was “a bunch of garbage” during the debate.

Regardless, information in the laptop about the Biden family’s foreign business deals was and is important to voters. A majority believe the story is “important,” and many would have changed their vote in 2020 if they were aware of it, according to post-election polling.

Clapper and others like him will continue to defend their falsehoods if they believe it will continue to influence American politics. Outlets such as CNN, which frequently hire former federal agents as part of the government-to-media pipeline, won’t challenge them because their motive is the same. Notice that Collins didn’t ask Clapper if he regrets his actions out of integrity. Her concern was “how Republicans in Congress are using that letter.”

To discipline the “national security class,” Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has considered revoking the security clearances of former intelligence officials if he becomes president, including the 51 who signed Morell’s letter. Whoever takes the White House in 2024 should make it happen. Preventing partisans from misusing their credentials to undermine our elections is more than justified.


Hudson Crozier is a summer 2023 Washington Examiner fellow.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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