Bret Baier confronts defiant fmr. CIA officer who signed Hunter laptop-Russia letter and has no regrets

Fox News’s Bret Baier ruthlessly grilled a former intelligence official on Tuesday over the reported lies he’d told about Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop, but the official refused to take any accountability, instead choosing to blame everybody else.

After the New York Post ran a bombshell story about the laptop in October of 2020, former CIA officer David Priess joined roughly 50 other intelligence officials in signing a letter claiming the story was likely Russian disinformation.

“[W]e write to say that the arrival on the US political scene of emails purportedly belonging to Vice President Biden’s son Hunter, much of it related to his time serving on the Board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” the letter read.

It’s now known with 100 percent confidence that the story wasn’t Russian disinformation. It was fact.

Now fast-forward to Tuesday on Fox News’s “Special Report,” where Baier grilled Priess about the letter by asking, “Why did you sign on to that?”

Priess replied by making the excuse that the letter hadn’t been definitive — that it’d just been a warning.

“Yeah, because of what it said — it has all the classic earmarks of one of these operations. You’ll notice elsewhere in the letter, if you read it, that it also says we don’t know if this is a Russian operation at all. That has been dramatically changed in the retelling of this story,” he said.

“But the letter is merely pointing out that this is the kind of thing that, time after time after time, people who study Russian disinformation, intelligence officers who look at Russian tactics over a long period of time, this is the kind of thing they like to amplify to sow discord within target countries. … the tactic is an old one, a tried and true one.”

Baier pushed back by stressing again that the story wasn’t Russian disinformation.

“But In this case, it was not true. In fact, The New York Times found that these are authenticated. The Washington Post writes ‘thousands of emails purportedly from the laptop computer of Hunter Biden are authentic communications that can be verified through cryptographic signatures from Google and other technology companies,'” he said.

“The New York Post, who did this story first, says holy cow, here are all of these other verifications,” he added.

Baier continued by also noting that, despite the letter ostensibly having just been a warning (that turned out to be inaccurate), then-Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden wound up using the warning during a debate with then-incumbent President Donald Trump.

“There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said what he’s accusing me of is a Russian plant,” he said on the debate stage.

Listen:

Priess predictably refused to take any accountability over the letter being misused by the president.

“I’ll let President Biden speak for himself. He’s capable of doing that. What I’ll do is say that it has all the classic earmarks of a Russian campaign in the way it was disseminated and propagated through media,” he said.

“Do you regret signing on to the letter?” Baier then asked.

“Oh, absolutely not, because those words are still true. It has all the classic earmarks,” Priess replied.

“Do you think it changed the outcome of an election?” Baier pressed.

“Oh, absolutely not,” Priess responded.

“Even though it wasn’t true … that it was Russian disinformation”?” Baier asked.

“That’s not what we said in the letter. Read the actual letter. We said we don’t know if this is Russian disinformation,” Priess responded.

“‘It has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.’ I understand you’re talking about nuance. [But] that did not get to candidate Biden … because he said it plainly on a debate stage. That obviously affected the dynamic, don’t you think,” Baier pressed.

(Source: Politico)

“I would absolutely love for all news media to show nuance on all these issues instead of racing to sound bites. And in this case, some news media rushed to sound bites. And that’s not helpful to the American people,” Priess responded, blaming the letter’s effects on the media.

“You think your letter was helpful to the American people?” Baier then asked.

“Well, instead of quoting one sentence from it, if people actually read maybe an entire paragraph, it shows that we don’t know if it’s Russian,” Priess replied, this time blaming readers of the letter.

“In retrospect, you don’t think  it affected anything?” Baier then asked.

“I don’t know it affected anything. We don’t analyze American political environments,” Priess said.

“You were trying to,” Baier countered.

“What we were trying to do is point out this has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information campaign … because we’ve seen it over and over and over again. They love to sow these kinds of division and exacerbate them. That’s not American. That’s Russian,” Priess replied.

“I got you. But it ended up being a Biden information campaign because he used it in the campaign and in that debate,” Baier replied.

“I encourage you to ask him about that,” Priess said.

“And I will,” Baier then said, closing off the discussion.

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