by Connor Freeman
Mike Morell was asked by Antony Blinken, a then senior campaign official, to organize the letter signed by 51 intelligence officials which falsely claimed the story was part of a Russian disinformation campaign
Mike Morrell, the former acting CIA director, revealed to the House Judiciary Committee, led by Rep. Jim Jordan, that he played a key role in rallying former intelligence officials to sign a letter which sought to discredit reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop scandal during the 2020 presidential campaign.
In a transcribed interview with Jordan’s team, Morell explained that his role in the suppression of the key story was done on behalf of the Joe Biden campaign and at the behest of now Secretary of State Antony Blinken who was then a senior campaign official.
According to the committee’s press release, “Morell testified that on or around October 17, 2020, Blinken… reached out to him to discuss the Hunter Biden laptop story. According to Morell, although [Blinken’s] outreach was couched as simply gathering Morell’s reaction to the Post story, it set in motion the events that led to the issuance of the public statement.” The committee is now investigating Hunter Biden’s laptop as well as the Biden family’s international business dealings.
The story about Hunter Biden’s laptop was originally published in October 2020 by the New York Post. The laptop was abandoned at a Delaware computer repair shop in 2019, the Post published subpoenas which showed the FBI had seized the laptop. However, the shop’s owner had made a copy of the laptop’s hard drive and provided it to Donald Trump ally and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In September 2020, the Post was tipped off about the laptop’s existence by Steve Bannon.
Twitter, Facebook, and other major platforms outright censored or took actions to suppress the reach of the story immediately. The letter organized by Morrell, which was signed by more than 50 former intelligence officials, seeking to discredit the report was published by Politico on October 19th, five days after the story was originally reported by the Post.
Echoing statements made by the Biden campaign, the letter claimed the Post’s reporting “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” It has since been confirmed by several media outlets that the laptop belonged to Hunter Biden and its contents are authentic. The House committee’s press release continues “Morell also explained that the Biden campaign helped to strategize about the public release of the statement. Morell further explained that one of his two goals in releasing the statement was to help then-Vice President Biden in the debate and to assist him in winning the election.”
During the Barack Obama administration and in the wake of the 2014 US-backed coup in Kiev, then Vice President Biden’s son Hunter landed a highly lucrative job on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company.
The laptop story revealed, among other things, that – in 2015 – Hunter Biden had introduced his father to a top executive at Burisma who had previously sought Hunter’s “influence” to help the company. Joe Biden has previously said he held up a major US loan to Kiev in order to pressure Ukrainian officials to fire a prosecutor who was at the time investigating Burisma’s corruption.
Morrell says he conducted “a little bit of [his] own research” before soliciting Marc Polymeropoulos, a retired CIA senior operations officer, for his aid in compiling the letter which was also signed by the likes of former CIA chiefs John Brennan and Leon Panetta.
Joe Biden exploited the letter during the October 22 presidential debate with Trump, accusing Moscow of targeting his son in an elaborate propaganda operation. For his part in the scheme to cover up the critical story – which may have mortally threatened Biden’s chances of winning the election – Morrell was thanked personally by Steve Ricchetti, the chair of the Biden campaign, in a phone call after the debate.
Morrell was reportedly being considered as a candidate to lead the CIA under the Biden administration, a position now held by William Burns, though he claims he was never formally in talks about taking the job.
On Thursday, Jordan, and Rep. Michael Turner, chair of the Select Committee on Intelligence, sent a letter to Blinken requesting his communications related to the current investigation, including with Morrell. The House committee’s press release concludes Morrell and his fellow former intelligence chiefs participated in a “concerted effort to minimize and suppress” vital information to protect the Joe Biden campaign. They argue that this deception prevented “American citizens from making a fully informed decision during the 2020 presidential election.”
Morrell was the acting director of the CIA for two months during 2011, and again for four months between 2012-2013. He was a big booster of the Hillary Clinton campaign for president in 2016 and remains an avid defender of the post-9/11 torture regime. In 2016, on the Charlie Rose Show, he also publicly called for the US to support armed groups with directions to kill Russian and Iranian forces in Syria.
Morrell clarified that Tehran and Moscow should “pay a price” for supporting Damascus and that this should be done “covertly, so you don’t tell the world about it, you don’t stand up at the Pentagon and say ‘we did this.’ But you make sure they know it in Moscow and Tehran.”