A senior FBI official has revealed that the bureau informed Twitter that Hunter Biden’s laptop computer was genuine on the same day a newspaper first reported details of President Biden and his son’s foreign business deals based on documents from the laptop.
Laura Dehmlow, section chief of the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF), made this revelation during a closed-door deposition to the House Judiciary Committee. The transcript of the deposition was released on Thursday.
The FBI’s confirmation of the authenticity of Hunter Biden’s laptop was not made public until after the 2020 presidential election, despite an October 2020 letter signed by 51 former intelligence officials claiming that the laptop documents were Russian disinformation.
According to Laura Dehmlow, a participant from Twitter asked if the laptop was real, to which an FBI representative confirmed its authenticity before another participant stopped further comments.
The FBI did not respond to a request for comment.
Shortly after the report by the New York Post on October 14, 2020, Twitter blocked the article from being shared on its platform, and Facebook de-amplified the story, reducing its circulation and visibility in newsfeeds.
Twitter prohibited the sharing of links to the original laptop article until October 16, 2020, and continued to ban the newspaper from accessing its accounts for an additional two weeks due to their refusal to delete initial links to the story.
The FBI took possession of the laptop computer in December 2019, ten months before the newspaper published materials copied from the hard drive. This has raised concerns about whether the bureau actively sought to discredit previously authenticated materials.
The laptop was authenticated by the FBI in November 2019, as confirmed by Internal Revenue Service supervisory agent Gary Shapley during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on May 26.
The deluge of embarrassing emails, photos, and text messages pulled from the hard drive of Hunter Biden’s laptop sparked controversy. The information included details about his struggles with addiction and his profitable foreign business dealings, which critics argue indicate influence peddling.
Some of the emails appeared to contradict President Biden’s claims that he never discussed overseas business deals with his son.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan is now calling on FBI Director Christopher A. Wray to provide more information about the FBI’s communication with Twitter regarding the authenticity of the laptop. He also requests the identity of the FBI official who said “no further comment” during the October 2020 call.
Mr. Jordan wants a list of FBI employees who participated in the discussions following the meeting between FITF and Twitter in October 2020 about how to address questions regarding the authenticity of the laptop. Specifically, he seeks the names of those affiliated with FITF who knew that the FBI had the Hunter Biden laptop and confirmed its authenticity.