No one in the U.S. intelligence community had authorization to claim the Hunter Biden laptop story was part of a Russian disinformation plot, a top official from the Trump administration said on Sunday.
In an interview in which he discussed “The Twitter Files,” former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe insisted there was only one reason why a member of his office would be in contact with Twitter in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election as described in the messages.
Such a meeting would need approval from former President Donald Trump’s National Security Council and would be part of a “coordinated process” to provide election security briefings to “groups” of private companies or state election officials, Ratcliffe told host Maria Bartiromo on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”
— The Dirty Truth (Josh) (@AKA_RealDirty) December 11, 2022
“None of those meetings, Maria, would have had anything to do with content moderation, much less anything to do with specifically” any warnings about the Hunter Biden laptop being part of a Russian disinformation effort, he said. “There never would have been any authority or reason for anyone within the intelligence community to be saying anything otherwise.”
Ratcliffe is a former Republican congressman from Texas who Trump picked to take over the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in 2020. In that role, Ratcliffe oversaw the agencies of the intelligence community. This includes the FBI and Homeland Security Department, agencies that, along with DNI, met with Twitter about “election security,” according to a post revealed by journalist Matt Taibbi.
20. This post about the Hunter Biden laptop situation shows that Roth not only met weekly with the FBI and DHS, but with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI): pic.twitter.com/s5IiUjQqIY
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) December 9, 2022
Reporting about the laptop started in October 2020, during the final weeks of the presidential election cycle when Hunter’s father, Joe Biden, was running for the White House. Much of the laptop’s contents, which included details about Hunter’s business dealings, drug use, and sex life, have since been analyzed and shown to be authentic. But at the time of the laptop’s emergence, social media companies, including Twitter, took steps to temporarily suppress the spread of the story, leading to claims of improper election influence by former President Donald Trump and his allies.
Ratcliffe said his assertion back in October 2020 that the laptop was not part of a Russian disinformation campaign, as suggested in a letter signed by 51 former intelligence officials, was “the official position of the intelligence community” and “has never been changed, even to this day.”
Republicans in Congress are gearing up for a Hunter Biden investigation with control of the House next year. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who is positioned to become House speaker, said Republicans would subpoena the dozens of intelligence veterans who signed onto the letter warning the laptop story “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”
Decrying what he labeled a “domestic disinformation campaign,” Ratcliffe said one line of inquiry that needs to be pursued relates to former top FBI lawyer James Baker, who as Twitter’s deputy general counsel, appeared to support the social media site’s move to suppress the New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop. This disclosure in The Twitter Files led Twitter CEO Elon Musk to fire Baker.
“One of the things that needs to be determined is what was [Baker’s] relationship with Twitter before he got to Twitter, and was he sharing information as the FBI general counsel to the benefit of one political party, to the detriment of another, that then continued when he got to Twitter?” Ratcliffe said.