On Friday, John Ratcliffe, the former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) under President Donald Trump, gave his reaction to the bombshell revelation by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg that the social media platform only censored the Hunter Biden laptop story after being pressured to do so by the FBI.
As reported by the Washington Examiner, Ratcliffe made his comments during an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, where Ratcliffe further revealed that he was told something different about the situation at the time by FBI Director Christopher Wray.
“I was actually surprised to hear Mark Zuckerberg say that,” Ratcliffe said, “because what he related the FBI told him was exactly the opposite of what my conversations with the FBI director himself at the time were about.”
On Joe Rogan’s podcast, Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook was approached by the FBI shortly before the New York Post broke its bombshell story about the contents of a laptop belonging to Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, in October of 2020. Zuckerberg claims that the agents warned him of upcoming news stories that would simply be “Russian disinformation” and other forms of foreign propaganda meant to interfere with the 2020 election.
In response, the Big Tech giant greatly limited the degree to which posts featuring the story could be seen as a result of Facebook’s algorithms. Other social media companies took even greater steps to censor the story, with Twitter being the most egregious; the New York Post was temporarily banned and locked out of its own Twitter account for several weeks, and users were incapable of posting the direct URL link to the story or sending the link in private messages, as they would not be allowed to press the “send” button until they removed the link.
Responding to Zuckerberg’s bombshell comments and the subsequent backlash, the FBI released a statement defendings its actions, claiming that it “routinely notifies U.S. private sector entities, including social media providers, of potential threat information, so that they can decide how to better defend against threats.” The statement also claimed that the FBI has “provided companies with foreign threat indicators to help them protect their platforms and customers from abuse by foreign malign influence actors.”
Facebook released its own official statement shortly thereafter, reaffirming that “the FBI shared general warnings about foreign interference — nothing specific about Hunter Biden.”
Ratcliffe made sure to mention during his interview that, while he was DNI, he released a statement shortly after the story’s release declaring that there was “no intelligence” to support the claims that it was simply Russian propaganda.
“I put out a statement and was backed up by both the Department of Justice and FBI that this was not Russian disinformation,” said Ratcliffe. “So, to hear that contrary to what the FBI director was saying and the official position of the FBI that agents were acting in contradiction to that in dealings with Facebook or telling, if whistleblowers are to be believed, telling FBI agents to suppress information about Hunter Biden’s laptop and to amplify damaging information about then-president Donald Trump…Hunter Biden’s laptop was real. And unfortunately, a lot of folks misled the American people about that, and the American voter about that, two weeks before a presidential election.”