The FBI told Congress in a letter on Oct. 20 that it has “nothing to add at this time” to a statement made by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe regarding the lack of intelligence connecting Russian disinformation to emails found on a hard drive allegedly belonging to Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden.
FBI Assistant Director Jill C. Tyson sent the letter to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, in response to Johnson’s request for more information about the emails, reports around which have alleged that Hunter Biden tried to introduce a Ukrainian businessman to his father when he served as vice president in the Obama administration.
Johnson, in a letter (pdf) to FBI Director Christopher Wray over the weekend, said a whistleblower contacted his committee on Sept. 24 about a laptop that was left at his business, saying he turned it over to the FBI. Johnson said that his staff immediately asked if the agency could either confirm or deny details to validate the claim about the emails, but he said the FBI wouldn’t confirm or deny the information found on the device.
“I have a responsibility to validate and verify the contents of any information produced to my committee,” Johnson said in his letter. “The committee must know if it receives information that could be fraudulent or not accurate.”
Tyson, in her letter to Johnson, said, “Regarding the subject of your letter, we have nothing to add at this time to the Oct. 19 public statement by the Director of National Intelligence about the available actionable intelligence.”
“If actionable intelligence is developed, the FBI in consultation with the intelligence community will evaluate the need to provide defensive briefings to you and the committee pursuant to the established notification framework,” Tyson wrote.
Ratcliffe, in remarks to Fox News on Oct. 19, said the content of a laptop hard drive allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden “is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” despite claims from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) to the contrary.
“Let me be clear: The intelligence community doesn’t believe that because there is no intelligence that supports that. And we have shared no intelligence with Adam Schiff or any member of Congress,” Ratcliffe said.
Schiff on Oct. 16 told CNN’s “The Situation Room” that revelations in a New York Post story around messages contained on the laptop were part of a smear campaign that came from the Kremlin.
“We know that this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin,” he said when asked by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer if the Hunter Biden stories are “Russian disinformation.”
“That’s been clear for a well over a year now that they’ve been pushing this false narrative about the vice president and his son,” Schiff said.
The controversy surrounding the case stems from alleged Hunter Biden emails reportedly found on a hard drive that was given to the NY Post by President Donald Trump’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani told The Epoch Times that his team took three weeks to authenticate the alleged Hunter Biden materials found on the hard drive.
The NY Post story alleges that the emails on the laptop suggest that Joe Biden had knowledge of, and was allegedly involved in, his son’s foreign business dealings. The Epoch Times hasn’t been able to independently verify the NY Post report.
Biden’s campaign and Biden have disputed some of the allegations, with Biden saying that it’s a “smear campaign,” in remarks delivered over the weekend.
The Democrats, along with some media, claim the Hunter Biden stories published by the NY Post are “Russian disinformation” and a “false narrative.”
Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said that Biden had “carried out official U.S. policy toward Ukraine and engaged in no wrongdoing,” and that some “Trump administration officials have attested to these facts under oath.”
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.