FBI Told Twitter Hunter Biden Laptop Was Real on Day It Was Censored

House Judiciary committee Republicans revealed Thursday that a senior FBI official told Twitter that Hunter Biden’s laptop was real and not Russian disinformation on the day the social-media company censored a New York Post story relying on emails from that laptop.

Laura Dehmlow, the now-section chief of the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF), confirmed in a closed-door deposition that when Twitter asked whether the laptop was real, an official said: “Yes, it was.” An FBI lawyer on the call then promptly jumped in and said: “No further comment.” According to Dehmlow, internal deliberations were held after that call in which the decision was made that FITF would say “no comment” going forward. Later on the same day, there was a call between the FBI and social-media company Meta in which the agency declined comment when asked if the laptop was real.

Dehmlow added in the deposition that she’s “pretty certain” then-FITF section chief Brad Benavides and the chief of the Russian unit were aware of the laptop’s authenticity.

The Post‘s story alleging an influence peddling scheme involving the president and his family ran early in the morning on October 14, 2020, weeks before the general election. The calls the FBI had with Twitter and Meta occurred later that day.

In the hours following the publication of the story, Twitter blocked the story from being shared and Meta, which owns Facebook, suppressed the story.

According to a letter from chairman Jim Jordan to FBI director Christopher Wray, the FBI had constant information-sharing up to that point with social-media companies. It then made the institutional decision to refuse to answer direct questions about the laptop’s authenticity.

“Put simply, after the FBI conditioned social media companies to believe that the laptop was the product of a hack-and-dump operation, the Bureau stopped its information sharing, allowing social media companies to conclude that the New York Post story was Russian disinformation,” read the letter.

The news comes after a federal judge banned officials from coordinating with social-media companies for the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content. The injunction from Judge Terry Doughty of the Western District of Louisiana applied to officials from the DOJ and FBI as well as other agencies, but was lifted by the Fifth Circuit as it considers an appeal to the order.

The judges of the Fifth Circuit did not elaborate on their reasoning for the stay.

According to Doughty, “the FBI’s failure to alert social-media companies that the Hunter Biden laptop was real, and not mere Russian disinformation, is particularly troubling. The FBI had the laptop in their possession since December 2019 and had warned social-media companies to look for a ‘hack and dump’ operation by the Russians prior to the 2020 election.”

“Even after Facebook specifically asked whether the Hunter Biden laptop story was Russian disinformation, Dehmlow of the FBI refused to comment, resulting in the social-media companies’ suppression of the story. As a result, millions of U.S. citizens did not hear the story prior to the November 3, 2020 election,” Doughty continued.

According to Jordan, had the Hunter Biden story been a product of an actual Russian disinformation campaign, FITF would have been fully authorized to warn the companies of such a campaign. Dehmlow explained: “If there is a foreign malign influence operation and we’ve got specific details about how those actors are propagating information operations, influence operations on platforms, that’s something we could share the specific details of.”

Click here to read the full article in the National Review

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