FBI confirms to Twitter Hunter Biden laptop's authenticity during New York Post scoop, official reveal
The House Judiciary Committee released a deposition confirming the FBI's authenticity of Hunter Biden's laptop.
The House Judiciary Committee released a deposition on Thursday that revealed the FBI confirmed the authenticity of Hunter Biden’s laptop on the same day The New York Post exposed its contents linking President Biden to his son’s foreign business deals.
The Post published the first article in its explosive series on Oct. 14, 2020, showing how an email indicated that Joe Biden met with an executive from Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian gas company that employed Hunter, while he was vice president.
Biden had previously denied having any involvement in his son’s overseas business ventures.
According to the deposition, Laura Dehmlow, section chief of the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force, testified that she participated in a call with Twitter on that day, where an FBI official confirmed that the laptop was real.
“Somebody from Twitter essentially asked whether the laptop was real. And one of the FBI folks who was on the call did confirm that, ‘yes, it was,’ before another participant jumped in and said, ‘no further comment,’” Dehmlow said in a closed-door deposition on Monday.
The FBI’s verification of the laptop was not made public before the 2020 election, as the US President and dozens of former intelligence officials falsely claimed that the documents were part of a Russian disinformation campaign.
The deposition was released during a hearing on social media censorship featuring journalist Emma-Jo Morris, who wrote the initial laptop stories as a deputy politics editor at The Post. She revealed how Joe Biden — referred to as the “big guy” — was set to receive a 10% share of profits from a deal between Hunter and James Biden and CEFC China Energy, a company with ties to the Chinese government.
Twitter blocked users from sharing links to The New York Post’s first article for two days, citing its hacked materials policy, even though there was no evidence that the material was hacked and the outlet explained how it obtained the laptop from a Delaware repairman who legally took possession of it after Hunter abandoned it.
The New York Post also published an FBI form showing that the bureau seized the laptop in December 2019, but there was still widespread doubt about its legitimacy until long after the election, largely due to the letter from 51 former intelligence agency leaders that cast suspicion on the documents.
It was not until March 2022 that The Washington Post and New York Times confirmed the contents of the laptop, more than 17 months after The Post’s original reports and more than 16 months after Joe Biden narrowly won the 2020 election.
Twitter lifted its ban on sharing links to The Post’s first article around 10 p.m. on Oct. 15, 2020, but continued to lock The Post out of its accounts for another two weeks for refusing to delete initial links to the story.
At the final presidential debate on Oct. 22, 2020, more than a week after The Post broke the story, Biden asserted that the laptop was a “Russian plant,” citing the letter from former intelligence officials.
The letter was signed by five former CIA directors or acting directors and many of their former deputies. Recent testimony suggests that Antony Blinken, who was advising Biden’s campaign, inspired former CIA acting director Michael Morell to draft the letter.
Blinken later became secretary of state under Biden.
“No one denies that the laptop is real, that the origin story is exactly what I told you it was in the first place,” Morris said at the hearing Thursday.
“This elaborate censorship conspiracy wasn’t because the information being reported on was false. It was because it was true. And it was a threat to the power centers in this country.”
The FBI’s confirmation of the laptop’s authenticity was not disclosed to the public until recently, despite knowing it since November 2019.
The FBI matched the laptop’s device number to Hunter Biden’s Apple iCloud ID in November 2019, after learning that a repair shop had the laptop and that it might contain evidence of a crime, according to IRS supervisory agent Gary Shapley, who testified to the House Ways and Means Committee on May 26.
Shapley, who led the tax fraud investigation of Hunter Biden for over three years, said a federal computer expert also determined that “it was not manipulated in any way.” His testimony was made public on June 22.
The FBI did not comment on why it did not share its verification of the laptop with the public or with Twitter, which banned The Post’s reporting on the laptop for two days in October 2020.
Musk, who became Twitter’s CEO with a mission to restore free speech, tweeted “Wow” on Thursday after the deposition was released.