Fox News anchor Bret Baier was confronted by a former CIA officer Tuesday for endorsing the claim that the Hunter Biden laptop story is Russian disinformation.
What’s the background?
The New York Post’s October 2020 pre-election bombshell was quickly dropped by the Post. The laptop story was swiftly branded Russian disinformation.
A letter was pushed by dozens of ex-intelligence officials, claiming that the story contained “all the classic earmarks” of a Russian intelligence operation. However, no evidence was presented to support this claim.
The laptop story isn’t Russian disinformation. Media outlets such as Politico and the New York Times have since confirmed the authenticity of this laptop.
What happened to Baier?
Baier directly questioned David Priess, a former CIA officer and one of the signatories to that infamous letter, about his decision not to make false claims.
“Why did that make you sign up?” Baier asked.
Priess however, tried to defend his endorsement and claimed that the letter was neutral so that it didn’t outright call Russian “disinformation” the laptop story.
“Because it says. He said that it had all the hallmarks of one such operation. “If you look at the letter, you’ll notice that it also states that we don’t know whether this is a Russian operation.” This has been drastically changed in the retelling.
He continued, “The letter is simply pointing out that this type of thing that time and time again that people who study Russian propaganda, intelligence officers who examine Russian tactics — this is what they like to amplify, to sow discord among target countries.” The fact is that the tactic is a tried and tested one and has been proven successful in the past.
Baier retorted, citing media outlets that authenticated the claim.
The former CIA officer remained steadfast. Priess said to Baier that he did not regret signing the letter and that it did not affect the outcome of the 2020 elections. This despite President Joe Biden having cited the letter in a debate with Donald Trump.
Priess stated that the letter was correct because it didn’t call the laptop story “Russian Disinformation” but rather one that had the “earmarks” of a Russian information operation.
Priess said proudly, “It’s no fault if people don’t look up definitions.”
Baier replied, “I know, but that’s the point of the letter to have an impact.” “And the nuance you’re referring to never made it to Biden because he stated it clearly on a debate platform.”
Although the nuance Priess extracted may be accurate, it is still a mystery why intelligence officers didn’t rush to correct Biden and the media if they were wrong. Baier noted that the intelligence officers allowed the letter to become “Biden information”, rhetoric that was helpful for his campaign.