More than 50 former intel officials signed a public letter saying they believe the Hunter Biden story has 'all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation'

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Hunter Biden addresses the virtual Democratic National Convention
Hunter Biden addressing the virtual Democratic National Convention. Handout/DNCC/Getty Images
  • More than 50 former intelligence officials wrote a public letter Monday saying they were “deeply suspicious” that Russia could be involved with the dubious New York Post stories published recently about Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

  • In the letter, first reported by Politico, the former officials said they believed the information at the center of the stories had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

  • “It is high time that Russia stops interfering in our democracy,” the officials wrote.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Dozens of former intelligence officials signed a public statement Monday expressing doubts about the authenticity of the Hunter Biden emails published by the New York Post.

In the letter, first reported by Politico, more than 50 former intelligence officers said they believed the emails purportedly belonging to Biden, the son of the Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

“We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement — just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case,” they wrote in the statement.

The first of multiple articles from the Post about the emails, headlined “BIDEN’S SECRET E-MAILS,” suggested that Joe Biden used the power of his position as vice president years ago to help his son Hunter, who sat on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

Business Insider’s Sonam Sheth wrote about the Biden allegations, saying “there is no evidence that these claims hold merit, and they’ve been debunked by intelligence assessments, news reports, congressional investigations, and witness testimony.”

Sheth also identified several “red flags” with the initial Post report and spoke with former spies who said the incident had exposed the president and his lawyer as being highly vulnerable to Russian disinformation.

A major point of skepticism about the Post stories was their sourcing: The tabloid came into possession of contents from a laptop hard drive that purportedly belonged to Hunter Biden after Giuliani delivered a copy of the hard drive to the outlet. A laptop containing the hard drive was said to have been left at a repair shop, and the shop’s owner, a Trump supporter, gave material from the computer to Giuliani.

The FBI is investigating whether the emails were part of a foreign intelligence operation, and the Washington Post reported that Giuliani was targeted by Russian intelligence. CNN described the email probe as “part of a larger investigation into Russian disinformation that dates back to before the impeachment inquiry last fall.”

The former intel officials wrote they believe the arrival of the contents, which they dubbed a “laptop op,” to the tabloid was a cause for suspicion, “as the publication of the emails are clearly designed to discredit” the elder Biden.

“Such an operation would be consistent with some of the key methods Russia has used in its now multi-year operation to interfere in our democracy — the hacking (via cyber operations) and the dumping of accurate information or the distribution of inaccurate or misinformation,” they said.

“It is high time that Russia stops interfering in our democracy,” the letter concluded.

The dozens of former intelligence officials aren’t the only ones to have been skeptical — some journalists at the New York Post also expressed doubts in publishing the emails’ contents. The New York Times reported that at least two writers refused to put their bylines on the story, including one who was mostly responsible for writing it, two Post employees told The Times.

A reporter for the Post told New York magazine that they thought the stories were “very flimsy.”

Another journalist said the reporting on the stories was “not something that meets my journalistic standards,” adding that the initial Post article “should not have been published.”

Read the original article on Business Insider