News broke on Friday that the Biden presidential campaign and now-Secretary of State Antony Blinken had prompted the crafting of the letter signed by 51 former intelligence officials that falsely claimed the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation.
Days after the New York Post broke the Hunter Biden laptop story, the former officials released a public statement declaring the Post’s reporting “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” Less than a week later, on Oct. 22, 2020, during the final presidential debate, then-candidate Joe Biden relied on that public statement to counter Donald Trump’s criticisms of the Biden family pay-to-play scandal.
“Look, there are 50 former national intelligence folks,” who say it “is a bunch of garbage,” Biden seethed during the debate in response to Trump pouncing on the laptop scandal.
But it was the “intelligence folks” who were pushing “a bunch of garbage” about a very real laptop. According to Michael Morell, former deputy director of the CIA, Blinken, who was a senior adviser to the Biden campaign at the time, “set in motion” the events that culminated in the letter.
Blinken, Morell testified to House investigators, called him on Oct. 17, 2020, to discuss the laptop. Later the same day, Blinken emailed Morell an article from USA Today that claimed, “the FBI was examining whether the Hunter Biden laptop was part of a ‘disinformation campaign.’” Then following the presidential debate, Steve Ricchetti, chairman of the Biden campaign, contacted Morell to thank him for putting the statement out. The Biden campaign had also strategized on the public release of the statement, Morell said.
With the Russian disinformation deception succeeding and Biden snatching the White House — and, in turn, handing Blinken the State Department — our country now faces the reality that the same men who lied to Americans to win the 2020 election are now running the country.
So what else are they lying about? What other claims of Russian disinformation are false flags?
While the catchphrase “Russian disinformation” rolls off Biden’s tongue more frequently than his favorite ice cream flavor, it is the president’s use of that slogan to demand allegiance to the administration’s Ukraine policy that proves the most concerning.
Americans cannot possibly make informed judgments on the propriety of funding, arming, or providing advisory military personnel, much less boots on the ground, without knowing the truth. Because Biden and Blinken have already proved themselves liars by framing the Hunter Biden laptop as Russian disinformation, nothing they claim is Russian disinformation should be believed to be such.
Further, since the legacy press played along with the “Hunter Biden laptop is Russian disinformation” canard, the public should hold no confidence in the word of the corrupt media either.
That’s quite a quagmire Biden, Blinken, and more have put the country in, where we can no more trust our elected leaders than we can our enemy and the evil Vladimir Putin — and the president and secretary of state own that dangerous state of affairs.
State Department’s GEC
The release of internal communications from Twitter to a group of independent journalists quickly revealed the Global Engagement Center had bullied the tech giant to censor Americans under the guise of countering supposed Russian disinformation. Since then, investigations by The Federalist have exposed several more Global Engagement Center initiatives targeting the free speech rights of conservatives.
While one would think the Global Engagement Center’s credibility could go no lower, news that Blinken propelled “the Hunter Biden laptop is Russia-disinformation” narrative achieves that near-impossibility because Blinken is now the secretary of state. Meanwhile, the Global Engagement Center is housed in the State Department, giving Blinken ultimate authority over the GEC.
Why, after all, should Americans believe the secretary of state’s claim that the GEC “is a critical tool … to expose, to educate, [and] to mitigate disinformation” of our enemies when just a few years ago, to ensure the election of his now-boss, Blinken helped launch a massive disinformation campaign to interference in the presidential election?
Given the already exposed improprieties of the GEC, the more believable scenario is that Blinken and the Biden administration are using the GEC to frame inconvenient truths as disinformation, thereby prompting censorship.
Blinken-Promoted Censorship Complex
Anyone paying attention to the reporting from the last several months concerning the existence, scope, and operations of the Censorship Complex should already have a healthy fear for the future of free speech in America. But knowing now that the secretary of state joined with the Biden campaign and intelligence officials to brand the Hunter Biden laptop as Russian disinformation should terrify the country given Blinken’s role in pushing censorship collaborations with academia and private sectors.
Blinken highlighted some of his efforts during a visit to Stanford, where he commended the university for “doing remarkable work” on battling disinformation while stressing that the State Department is “trying to build out these kinds of partnerships,” collaborating with academia and others.
In 2020, the already-existing government partnerships led the Stanford-housed Election Integrity Project to serve as a clearing house for censorship requests to Twitter during the presidential election. The same partnerships also led Big Tech to censor the Hunter Biden laptop story.
With Blinken himself now engaged in promoting those partnerships, the already high risk of the government using false claims of disinformation to prompt censorship of American speech is exponentially greater. Blinken has already shown himself an expert in that ploy by collaborating with Morell following the Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story.
Blinken should be in no position now to decide what information is disinformation — nor should anyone else in our government.
Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.
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