Hidden Hand: Biden Campaign Was Behind Intel Officials’ Letter Characterizing Hunter Biden Laptop as ‘Disinformation’

Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell says he organized the letter to help Biden 'win the election'

Hunter Biden
Hunter Biden / Getty Images
April 20, 2023

Biden campaign officials prompted a group of former spies to pen the infamous 2020 letter that falsely asserted that Russia was behind the release of emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell told the House Judiciary Committee in a closed-door interview that he organized a group of 50 former intelligence officials to sign the letter after discussions with Sec. of State Tony Blinken, who served on the Biden campaign. Republicans on the committee revealed details of the interview Thursday, in a letter to Blinken which claims the Biden campaign’s actions "had the effect of helping to suppress the Hunter Biden story and preventing American citizens from making a fully informed decision during the 2020 presidential election."

Morell said Blinken contacted him on Oct. 17, 2020, to discuss a New York Post story that revealed emails from the younger Biden’s abandoned laptop. The ex-spy also said Blinken sent him an article that said the FBI was investigating whether the laptop was part of a "disinformation campaign." Morell said that Blinken’s outreach "triggered" him to draft a letter that dismissed the release of the emails as a probable Russian disinformation operation. He forwarded it to former CIA Director John Brennan and others to sign.

Morell, who was reportedly on Biden’s short-list for CIA director, said the Biden team helped strategize the letter's release. He testified the campaign told him they wanted to provide the letter to the Washington Post. The document was ultimately provided to Politico, which published it on Oct. 19 with the headline, "Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say."

There is no evidence that Russia was involved in the release of Biden’s emails, which shed light on his business dealings with China and his struggles with alcohol and drug addiction. A computer shop owner has said that he provided copies of Biden’s laptop to reporters after Biden abandoned it at his store in 2019.

Morell said he organized the letter because he wanted Biden to win the election.

"There were two intents," Morell said. "One intent was to share our concern with the American people that the Russians were playing on this issue; and, two, it was [to] help Vice President Biden."

Asked why he wanted to help Biden, Morell said: "Because I wanted him to win the election.

Biden cited the letter during a presidential debate with Donald Trump, but did not disclose that his campaign was behind it.

"There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what he's accusing me of is a Russian plant," Biden said after Trump brought up Hunter Biden's computer.

Morell testified that members of the Biden campaign thanked him after the debate for organizing the letter, including Steve Ricchetti, who now serves as White House counselor.

Update 9:35 a.m.: This piece has been updated to include additional information.