Intelligence Community: Six Ways From Sunday at Getting Back at You

On January 3, 2017, Senator Chuck Schumer warned “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

On January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump was inaugurated President.  He took on the intelligence community.

In October 2020, The New York Post revealed emails and photographs from on Hunter Biden’s laptop computer.  The laptop and its contents have been authenticated.  Nobody, not even Hunter Biden, has denied authenticity.

In October 2020, more than 50 senior members of the intelligence community joined together in an effort to alter the outcome of the 2020 presidential election by publishing their October 19, 2020 “Public Statement on the Hunter Biden Emails”.  (Their Public Statement is set forth below.)

The Public Statement was breathtaking.  Admittedly without any evidence, the intelligence community openly and unabashedly joined in an effort to alter the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.  They created the myth that the contents of the laptop computer was Russian Disinformation.  The New York Times and other formerly-trusted media, along with Big Tech, joined in the myth.  And they did this just after they had spent 4 years trying to remove the sitting President from office, based on another the myth — the myth of Russia Collusion.

If Free Speech survives, historians will write about the Public Statement and Senator Chuck Schumer’s description of the intelligence community.  Will what they write be called Russian Disinformation?

On October 22, 2020, during the final televised Presidential Debate, Joe Biden touted the Public Statement, which was at his disposal in time for the debate.

On January 20, 2021, Joe Biden was inaugurated President.

By March 2022, the Russian Disinformation myth evaporated.

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Public Statement on the Hunter Biden Emails

October 19, 2020

We are all individuals who devoted significant portions of our lives to national security. Some of us served in senior positions in policy departments and agencies, and some of us served in senior positions in the Intelligence Community. Some of us were political appointees, and some were career officials. Many of us worked for presidents of both political parties.

We are all also individuals who see Russia as one of our nation’s primary adversaries. All of us have an understanding of the wide range of Russian overt and covert ac<vi<es that undermine US national security, with some of us knowing Russian behavior intimately, as we worked to defend our nation against it for a career. A few of us worked against Russian information operations in the United States in the last several years.

Perhaps most important, each of us believes deeply that American citizens should determine the outcome of elections, not foreign governments. All of us agree with the founding fathers’ concern about the damage that foreign interference in our politics can do to our democracy.

It is for all these reasons that we 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.

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.

If we are right, this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this.

There are a number of factors that make us suspicious of Russian involvement.

Such an operation would be consistent with Russian objectives, as outlined publicly and recently by the Intelligence Community, to create political chaos in the United States and to deepen political divisions here but also to undermine the candidacy of former Vice President Biden and thereby help the candidacy of President Trump. For the Russians at this point, with Trump down in the polls, there is incentive for Moscow to pull out the stops to do anything possible to help Trump win and/or to weaken Biden should he win. A “laptop op” fits the bill, as the publication of the emails are clearly designed to discredit 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. Russia did both of these during the 2016 presidential election – judgments shared by the US Intelligence Community, the investigation into Russian ac<vi<es by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and the entirety (all Republicans and Democrats) on the current Senate Intelligence Committee.

Such an operation is also consistent with several data points. The Russians, according to media reports and cybersecurity experts, targeted Burisma late last year for cyber collection and gained access to its emails. And Ukrainian politician and businessman Adriy Derkach, identified and sanctioned by the US Treasury Department for being a 10-year Russian agent interfering in the 2020 election, passed purported materials on Burisma and Hunter Biden to Giuliani.

Our view that the Russians are involved in the Hunter Biden email issue is consistent with two other significant data points as well. According to the Washington Post, citing four sources, “U.S. intelligence agencies warned the White House last year that Giuliani was the target of an influence operation by Russian intelligence.”

In addition, media reports say that the FBI has now opened an investigation into Russian involvement in this case. According to USA Today, “…federal authorities are investigating whether the material supplied to the New York Post by Rudy Giuliani…is part of a smoke bomb of disinformation pushed by Russia.”

We do not know whether these press reports are accurate, but they do suggest concern within Executive Branch departments and agencies that mirrors ours. It is high 8me that Russia stops interfering in our democracy.

Signed by,

Jim Clapper, Former Director of National Intelligence, Former Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Former Director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, Former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency

Mike Hayden, Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Director, National Security Agency, Former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence

Leon Panetta, Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Secretary of Defense

John Brennan, Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency, Former White House Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor, Former Director, Terrorism Threat Integration Center, Former Analyst and Operations Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

Thomas Finger, Former Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis, Former Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research, Department of State, Former Chair, National Intelligence Council

Rick Ledgett, Former Deputy Director, National Security Agency

John McLaughlin, Former Acting Director, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Deputy Director, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Director of Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Director, Slavic and Eurasian Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency

Michael Morell, Former Acting Director, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Deputy Director, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Director of Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency

Mike Vickers, Former Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Former Operations Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

Doug Wise, Former Deputy Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, Former Senior CIA Operations Officer

Nick Rasmussen, Former Director, National Counterterrorism Center

Russ Travers, Former Acting Director, National Counterterrorism Center, Former Deputy Director, National Counterterrorism Center, Former Analyst of the Soviet Union and Russia, Defense Intelligence Agency

Andy Liepman, Former Deputy Director, National Counterterrorism Center, Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

John Moseman, Former Chief of Staff, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Director of Congressional Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Minority Staff Director, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Larry Pfeiffer, Former Chief of Staff, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Director, White House Situation Room

Jeremy Bash, Former Chief of Staff, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Chief of Staff, Department of Defense, Former Chief Counsel, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Rodney Snyder, Former Chief of Staff, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Director of Intelligence Programs, National Security Council Chief of Station, Central Intelligence Agency

Glenn Gerstell, Former General Counsel, National Security Agency

David B. Buckley, Former Inspector General, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Democratic Staff Director, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Former Counterespionage Case Officer, United States Air Force

Nada Bakos, Former Analyst and Targeting Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

Patty Brandmaier, Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Deputy Associate Director for Military Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency Former Deputy Director of Congressional Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency

James B. Bruce, Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Senior Intelligence Officer, National Intelligence Council, Considerable work related to Russia

David Cariens, Former Intelligence Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency 50+ Years Working in the Intelligence Community

Janice Cariens, Former Operational Support Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

Paul Kolbe, Former Senior Operations Officer, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Chief, Central Eurasia Division, Central Intelligence Agency

Peter Corsell, Former Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency

Brett Davis, Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Deputy Director of the Special Activities Center for Expeditionary Operations, CIA

Roger Zane George, Former National Intelligence Officer

Steven L. Hall, Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Chief of Russian Operations, Central Intelligence Agency

Kent Harrington, Former National Intelligence Officer for East Asia, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Director of Public Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Chief of Station, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency

Don Hepburn, Former Senior National Security Executive

Timothy D. Kilbourn, Former Dean, Sherman Kent School of Intelligence Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency Former PDB Briefer to President George W. Bush, Central Intelligence Agency

Ron Marks, Former Officer, Central Intelligence Agency, Twice former staff of the Republican Majority Leader

Jonna Hiestand Mendez, Technical Operations Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

Emile Nakhleh, Former Director of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Senior Intelligence Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency

Gerald A. O’Shea, Senior Operations Officer, Central Intelligence Agency, Served four tours as Chief of Station, Central Intelligence Agency

David Priess, Former Analyst and Manager, Central Intelligence Agency, Former PDB Briefer, Central Intelligence Agency

Pam Purcilly, Former Deputy Director of Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Director of the Office of Russian and European Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency Former PDB Briefer to President George W. Bush, Central Intelligence Agency

Marc Polymeropoulos, Former Senior Operations Officer, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Acting Chief of Operations for Europe and Eurasia, Central Intelligence Agency

Chris Savos, Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Officer

Nick Shapiro, Former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Director, Central Intelligence Agency

John Sipher, Former Senior Opera<ons Officer, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Deputy Chief of Russian Operations, Central Intelligence Agency

Stephen Slick, Former Senior Director for Intelligence Programs, National Security Council Former Senior Operations Office, Central Intelligence Agency

Cynthia Strand, Former Deputy Assistant Director for Global Issues, Central Intelligence Agency

Greg Tarbell, Former Deputy Executive Director, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Analyst of the Soviet Union and Russia, Central Intelligence Agency

David Terry, Former Chairman of the National Intelligence Collection Board, Former Chief of the PDB, Central Intelligence Agency, Former PDB Briefer to Vice President Dick Cheney, Central Intelligence Agency

Greg Treverton, Former Chair, National Intelligence Council

John Tullius, Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

David A. Vanell, Former Senior Opera<ons Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

Winston Wiley, Former Director of Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency, Former Chief, Counterterrorism Center, Central Intelligence Agency

Kristin Wood, Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency Former PDB Briefer, Central Intelligence Agency

In addition, nine additional former IC officers who cannot be named publicly also support the arguments in this letter.

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