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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) is turning up the heat on 51 U.S. intelligence veterans who signed a letter suggesting the Hunter Biden laptop story could be part of a Russian disinformation operation.
Jordan and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Michael Turner (R-OH) signed letters sent Monday to 12 of these ex-intelligence officials, including former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
In the correspondence obtained by The Daily Wire, the lawmakers said a request for relevant documents and testimony from the House Judiciary Committee in April 2022, when Jordan was ranking member of the panel, did not receive full compliance. “As we begin the 118th Congress, we write again to reiterate our outstanding request and ask that you immediately comply in full,” the lawmakers wrote, alluding to the fact that Republicans are now in control of the House.
The other recipients of letters on Monday were Rick Ledgett, John McLaughlin, Michael Morell, Nicholas Rasmussen, Russell Travers, Michael Vickers, Nick Shapiro, Jeremy Bash, Thomas Fingar, and Michael Hayden. Many of them held high-level positions in the CIA while others were high-ranking officials in other parts of the U.S. intelligence community.
The letters make no mention of subpoenas, but Jordan has shown a willingness to use the tool. Last week, Jordan issued his first round of subpoenas as chairman to top Biden administration officials seeking documents related to local school board meetings.
The letter from the 51 former intelligence officials came out in the days leading up to the 2020 presidential election, warning that reporting about the laptop’s alleged contents “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” Although the signees stressed they did not know if emails being reported at the time were genuine and they insisted they had no evidence of Russian involvement, the letter was nevertheless used to dismiss the laptop and its provenance.
POLITICO, which first reported the letter, went further than what the letter said by publishing a headline that said the former intelligence officials were claiming the story was “Russian disinfo.” Then-candidate Joe Biden, Hunter’s father, used the letter to cast doubt on the laptop story during one of his debates with then-President Donald Trump.
The laptop, which allegedly was abandoned at a Delaware computer repair shop before the FBI obtained it, contains details about Hunter Biden’s personal life and financial affairs. The president’s son is now under federal investigation, including over his foreign business dealings and tax affairs, though the existence of that years-long inquiry was not revealed to the public until after the 2020 election. Hunter Biden has said he expects to be cleared of wrongdoing.
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee initially demanded in April 2022 materials from the 51 intelligence veterans that identify anyone they contacted about drafting and promoting the letter.
Since the laptop story emerged more than two years ago, many of its contents have been analyzed and shown to be authentic.
Douglas Wise, a former Defense Intelligence Agency deputy director, divulged last month that he and the other signees surmised the contents of the laptop were genuine at the time the letter came out. “All of us figured that a significant portion of that content had to be real to make any Russian disinformation credible,” he told The Australian.
Last week, Hunter Biden’s lawyers sent letters to state and federal officials demanding investigations into individuals involved in sharing the contents of the laptop, which made their way to the media. His attorney, Abbe Lowell, later insisted the letters do not “confirm” the laptop was his client’s device.