The former intel officials who claimed Hunter Biden’s laptop was ‘disinformation’ are at it again

Harold Hutchison, DCNF

Former national security officials who claimed the reported contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop during the 2020 presidential election was “Russian disinformation” announced opposition Monday to legislation targeting Big Tech, claiming it would facilitate the propagation of Russian “lies.”

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta, and former CIA Director Michael Morell were among those who said in a Monday open letter that bipartisan antitrust legislation targeting tech companies would cripple efforts to counter Russian disinformation.

Several antitrust bills proposed in both chambers of Congress last year are designed to limit alleged anticompetitive conduct by tech companies, including by preventing online platforms from “discriminating” against users, which the former intelligence officials argue would allow “foreign adversaries to gain access to the software and hardware of American technology companies.”

Panetta and Morell both have ties to major tech firms, Politico reported in September 2021, and signed a similar letter in September 2021 warning that antitrust legislation would expose American national security to China.

Clapper, Panetta, and Morell also signed an October 2020 letter that claimed a bombshell New York Post report about emails from a laptop supposedly abandoned by Hunter Biden “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

The officials also cited reports of Giuliani’s ties to Russia as a means of discrediting the laptop in the October 2020 letter. Multiple media outlets confirmed the authenticity of Hunter Biden’s laptop in March 2022, while a cybersecurity expert consulted by the Daily Caller News Foundation authenticated some of the contents from the laptop’s hard drive in October 2020.

The officials stated that “disrupting the scourge of disinformation from Russian state media” was “increasingly integral to U.S. diplomatic and national security efforts” in Monday’s open letter.

“U.S. policymakers must not inadvertently hamper the ability of U.S. technology platforms to counter increasing disinformation and cybersecurity risks,” the officials said, adding that the “scale and reach” of “U.S. technology platforms” was essential to countering cybersecurity threats from Russia.

Proposals to break up big technology companies or to require “non-discriminatory access” on American “digital platforms” would “unintentionally curtail the ability of these platforms to target disinformation efforts and safeguard the security of their users in the U.S. and globally,” the officials said.

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