Emails published by a watchdog group on Wednesday show the extent to which multiple federal agencies went in pursuit of the debunked narrative that the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop were simply “Russian disinformation.”
As Just The News reports, the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ), demanding records of all payments to X, formerly known as Twitter, by the FBI.
The lawsuit was filed based on a disclosure in Elon Musk’s “Twitter Files,” detailing collusion between the social media platform’s prior leadership and the federal government, which alleged that the company was paid at least $3.5 million to process “disinformation” requests. Judicial Watch sued after the FBI denied the original FOIA request, claiming that releasing such information would compromise investigation techniques.
Judicial Watch has also sued the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for ignoring the group’s records request to the National Counterterrorism Center regarding the nature of the Foreign Malign Influence Center (FMIC), an entity whose existence was not officially acknowledged by the government until a congressional hearing in May.
At the heart of the effort to suppress the Hunter Biden story is the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which has already faced efforts from congressional Republicans to defund it. Just eight days after the New York Post first published the laptop story, in October of 2020, internal emails show that staff flagged the story for attention.
Then, on October 22nd, an internal presentation at CISA titled “Weekly Reporting and Analysis,” produced by CISA’s COVID-19 Countering Foreign Influence Task Force, had nothing whatsoever to do with COVID despite coming from the COVID task force. One news report shared by the presentation, from Axios, noted how the Hunter laptop story had “sparked renewed activity from Q[Anon],” and directly compared discussion of the laptop story to conspiracy theories regarding child sex trafficking in pizzerias in Washington D.C., known as “Pizzagate.”
Later that same day, consulting firm Deloitte used similar talking points to dismiss the Post story in an analysis for CISA, as shown by files previously disclosed due to a FOIA request. The report, which listed “elections” as a major subject, denounced the Post as an “American daily tabloid newspaper,” and falsely declared the story to be full of “unsubstantiated allegations.”
In the immediate aftermath of the story’s publication, big tech platforms such as Facebook and Twitter began censoring efforts to share the original Post article. Twitter explicitly forbade any users to share the URL, automatically blocking any efforts to post it or send it via private messages, while Facebook’s algorithms were altered to reduce the visibility and sharing capabilities of posts featuring the story. Numerous polls have since indicated that if the Post story had not been suppressed and was more commonly-known among voters ahead of the 2020 election, Joe Biden probably would have lost to Donald Trump.