Home » Inside the FBI: Discrepancies Over Handling of Hunter Biden Laptop

Inside the FBI: Discrepancies Over Handling of Hunter Biden Laptop

by Richard A Reagan

Retired FBI Special Agent Bradley Benavides, who led the bureau’s Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF) during the 2020 election, disclosed in congressional testimony his initial belief that Hunter Biden’s laptop could be part of a Russian disinformation campaign. [Source]

This admission, drawn from interview transcripts reviewed by Just the News, stands in stark contrast to the knowledge his team possessed: that the FBI had already verified the laptop as genuine.

Benavides, the inaugural FBI section chief for FITF, recounted to the House Judiciary Committee how he was queried about the possibility of Russian involvement in the Hunter Biden laptop issue. “Is it possible that a foreign adversary, like the Russians, could be using [the laptop] as a way to insert false, bad, or corrupted information into the U.S. political system?” Benavides recalled being asked. His affirmative response reflected a broader concern about foreign interference in U.S. politics.

Benavides described his interaction with Executive Assistant Director John Brown regarding the laptop, explaining that the question posed to him was about Russian capabilities rather than the laptop’s authenticity. Following his response, Benavides did not pursue any further inquiry or research into the matter.

However, Laura Dehmlow, Benavides’ successor as FITF section chief, presented a conflicting account. She confirmed in her own congressional testimony that the task force was aware of the laptop’s authenticity before the election. This was even communicated to social media companies during a task force meeting in October 2020. 

“I remember… being involved in a conversation with Twitter,” Dehmlow stated. “One of the FBI folks who was on the call did confirm that, ‘yes, [the laptop] was real,’ before another participant said, ‘no further comment.’” 

Dehmlow’s testimony raises questions about the level of knowledge within the FITF and the wider FBI regarding the laptop. Documents from IRS whistleblowers reveal that the FBI had authenticated Hunter Biden’s laptop as early as 2019 and dismissed Russian disinformation theories by early 2020.

The spotlight on the FBI’s actions during the election has intensified, especially as their efforts often informed the censorship of news and opinions on social media. Notably, The New York Times withheld acknowledgment of the laptop’s existence or its contents until well after the 2020 election, demonstrating the ripple effect of the FBI’s stance. [Source]

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan has criticized the FBI and other federal bodies for sometimes creating a false impression in their quest to combat disinformation. An illustrative example is a letter signed by 51 intelligence officials in October 2020 suggesting the laptop could be Russian disinformation, despite lacking concrete evidence.

Judge Terry Doughty of the United States District Court of Louisiana stressed the seriousness of these actions in a ruling that highlighted the FBI’s involvement in meetings with social media platforms and the forwarding of alleged misinformation, including misleading information about the Hunter Biden laptop story.

In his response to the committee, Benavides maintained his ignorance about the laptop’s authenticity and emphasized that he never sought to verify if the FBI had possession of it after his initial conversation with Brown. This statement contrasts with Dehmlow’s implication that Benavides might have been aware of the laptop’s status.

Benavides also participated in a 2020 briefing to Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson. He clarified that the information presented in the briefing, which suggested Russian involvement in circulating information about the Biden family, was not derived from FBI sources but rather from other intelligence agencies.

This unfolding narrative raises serious questions about the FBI’s role and actions during the 2020 election.

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