10/06/2024 lewrockwell.com  6min 🇬🇧 #250179

Laptop Deniers in Delaware

By Jonathan Turley

June 10, 2024

Below is my column in Fox.com on the authentication of Hunter Biden's laptop in the Delaware trial. The government has denounced the Russian disinformation claims as a "conspiracy theory" and put on evidence that there is no evidence of tampering with the laptop. The FBI declared the laptop to be "real" and "authentic" and the court agreed. It was introduced as evidence before many reporters who previously embraced the debunked "conspiracy theory." As discussed below, Houdini's elephant was just revealed on stage and most of the audience looked away.

Here is the column:

Watching the coverage this week out of Delaware was like finding oneself in a parallel universe. There were ABC, NBC, CBS, the Washington Post and other news outlets reporting matter-of-factly that the  Hunter Biden laptop showed no evidence of tampering and was both real and authentic.

These are the same outlets, and  some of the same reporters, who eagerly spread the false claims that the laptop was "Russian disinformation."

Yet, what followed the testimony of FBI agent Erika Jensen was absolute crickets. There was no effort to track down the signatories of the now-debunked letter from former intelligence officials just before the election. In the letter, figures such as Leon Panetta, former CIA director in the Obama administration, claimed that the laptop had all the markings of a Russian disinformation effort by intelligence services. (Panetta continued to make the assertion even in late 2023 in pushing what the federal government is now calling a "conspiracy theory.")

There was no attempt by the media to confront associates of the Biden campaign (including now Secretary of State Antony Blinken) who pushed a long effort to get former intelligence officials to sign a letter.

There was no attempt to  question President Joe Biden, who made this false claim in the presidential election to deflect any questions about the evidence of corrupt influence peddling on the laptop.

Years ago, I wrote that the Biden campaign had pulled off the single greatest political trick in history. As I wrote back then, the key to this Houdini-esque trick was to get the media to invest in the deception like audience members called to the stage.

Houdini used to make his elephant Jennifer disappear on stage every night because he knew that the audience wanted her to disappear. They were part of the act. The Bidens made the media part of the act, and these reporters have to back the illusion or admit that they were part of the deception.

They are all laptop deniers, but they know that there are few who will call them to account for their conspiracy theory. Rather, it is social media where readers can see videos of leading media claiming that the laptop is the work of Russian intelligence.

In 2020, CBS News' Lesley Stahl literally laughed mockingly at then-President Donald Trump when he raised the Hunter Biden laptop and what it revealed about the Bidens.

Figures like former Chief of Staff at the CIA and Department of Defense  Jeremy Bash, who told MSNBC that the laptop "looked like Russian intelligence" and "walked like Russian intelligence." He dismissed the relevance of the laptop before the election by declaring that "this effort by Rudy Giuliani and the New York Post and Steve Bannon to cook up supposed dirt on Joe Biden looks like a classic, Russian playbook disinformation campaign."

Bash added that it made Trump an effective agent of Russian intelligence since he kept referencing the laptop: "[when] Rudy Giuliani suddenly comes forward with these mysteriously created emails, probably hacked through a Russian intelligence operation, we have to acknowledge the fact that the President of the United States is supporting, is condoning, is welcoming a Russian intelligence operation in 2020.... This is collusion in plain sight."

Bash, like others behind the conspiracy theory, was later given an intelligence position by Biden.

The New York Times and The Washington Post both eventually verified Hunter Biden's laptop after big tech dismissed the New York Post's bombshell reporting during the 2020 presidential election. The Post reporting was famously censored by Twitter ahead of the 2020 election.

CNN's Alex Marquardt told viewers, "We do know it is a very active Russian campaign."

Indeed, the Washington Post has continued to suggest that this reporting was accurate. One of the leading purveyors of this false story was the Post's Philip Bump, who slammed the New York Post for its now proven Hunter Biden laptop story.

In 2021, when media organizations were finally admitting that the laptop was authentic, Bump was still declaring that it was a " conspiracy theory." Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Bump continued to suggest that "the laptop was seeded by Russian intelligence."

After Bump had a meltdown in an interview when confronted over past false claims, I wrote a column about the litany of such false claims. The Post surprised many of us by issuing a statement that they stood by all of Bump's reporting, including the laptop conspiracy theory. That was in August 2023.

Of course, this trick would not have been possible without the assistance of 50 former intelligence officials who were reportedly organized through Clinton campaign associates to issue the infamous letter.

These figures then continued to spread the false claim.

Former CIA Director John Brennan, one of the 50 who signed the letter, also claimed that the laptop bore "the hallmarks of Russian disinformation."

James Clapper, a former director of National Intelligence and CNN analyst, said the laptop was "classic, textbook Soviet, Russian tradecraft at work."

Members of Congress also repeated the false claims, including Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., who told the media not to join Giuliani as a "vehicle for Russian disinformation."

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., former chair of the House Intelligence Committee, insisted that the laptop was clearly "Kremlin propaganda."

This long-debunked claim was even recently repeated in Congress by Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., who claimed that the laptop could not be authenticated even though it was just authenticated and introduced in a federal prosecution.

All of those who pushed what the U.S. government is now calling a false "conspiracy theory" have flourished in the wake of Biden's victory. Intelligence officials like Bash received plum positions while others like Clapper were given media contracts. Schiff is expected to be elected to the Senate and is running, ironically enough, on his record with intelligence investigations of Trump.

Conversely, the New York Post and reporters like Miranda Devine have received no recognition for their work in disclosing the contents and defying attacks from politicians and media alike. While reporters were given a Pulitzer for reporting the now debunked Russian collusion story, Devine and others will never receive a Pulitzer for uncovering the true story behind the laptop.

Devine, the New York Post, and others simply refused to get in on the trick. As is often said, there are some facts simply "too good to check" in the media. The Hunter Biden laptop disappeared from the stage like Houdini's elephant because the media wanted it to disappear.

The reappearance of the laptop in a Delaware courtroom might be awkward for most people, but not the media or intelligence officials or politicians who pushed the conspiracy theory. After all, they were all in on the trick. It was the voters who were played for chumps.

This originally appeared on  JonathanTurley.org.