Paul E Vallely MG, US Army (Ret)
Hunter Biden Laptop Update
May 10, 2023
Washington Examiner Report
One of the signers of the Hunter Biden laptop letter says he and his wife only signed on to the baseless October 2020 claims of Russian involvement after a CIA employee who was active with the agency asked him to sign the document.
David Cariens, a former intelligence analyst for the CIA, told congressional investigators earlier this year that he and his wife Janice Cariens, a former operations support officer for the CIA, signed the letter with other former intelligence officials after a member of the CIA’s Prepublication Classification Review Board, or PCRB, called him and asked him to. The letter aimed at discrediting New York Post stories about the contents of Biden’s laptop came at a critical point before Joe Biden debated Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
“Cariens’s revelation is potentially shocking,” a joint report obtained by the Washington Examiner and authored by the GOP-led Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government and the House Intelligence Committee said.
The committees, chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), respectively, added that Cariens recounted that “a CIA employee informed him about the statement, the CIA employee read the text of the statement to him, and the CIA employee asked Cariens if he would like to join.” The chairmen raised concerns that a CIA employee “may have helped in the effort to solicit signatures for the statement.”
Cariens emailed House committee staff on March 5 this year in response to the Republican investigation into the Hunter Biden laptop letter signers.
“My last book, a memoir entitled Escaping Madness, was before the PCRB in October 2020. When the person in charge of reviewing the book called to say it was approved with no changes, I was told about the draft letter,” Cariens told investigators of the alleged Hunter Biden laptop letter outreach to him by a CIA employee. “The person asked me if I would be willing to sign. (I do not recall the person’s name or the exact phone call date.) After hearing the letter’s contents and the qualifiers in it such as, ‘We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement…’ I agreed to sign.”
This email was reported by the Federalist and has been confirmed by the Washington Examiner.
More than 50 ex-intelligence officials quickly signed the laptop letter, which contributed to the baseless narrative that the Hunter Biden laptop stories were nothing but a product of Russian disinformation — a narrative happily seized upon by Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign and spread by some of the laptop letter signers.
An October 2020 recruitment email by Morell unearthed by the Washington Examiner last week was sent to former unnamed intelligence officials the evening of Oct. 18 and included a draft of the laptop letter co-authored by him and former senior CIA operations officer Marc Polymeropoulos as an attachment. Morell told prospective signers that one purpose of the letter, which was published on Oct. 19, was to give former Vice President Joe Biden a “talking point” to deploy against President Donald Trump in the presidential debate on Oct. 22.
Joe Biden did cite the letter onstage to deflect Trump’s criticisms over what Trump called the “laptop from hell.”
After the Washington Examiner published its story last week, other outlets revealed a separate “talking point” email that Morell sent to John Brennan, Obama’s final CIA director, the morning of Oct. 19, hours before the letter was published that evening by Politico in a story titled, “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinformation dozens of former intel officials say.”
The new GOP report, which has not been publicly released yet, said Cariens’s statement “did not provide the precise timing of his communication” with the PCRB in October 2020 but that the GOP-led committees received an email exchange, produced by former CIA senior intelligence officer and laptop letter signer Kristin Wood, in which Cariens wrote that “yes, I want to sign” the letter on October 19 at 10:35 a.m., which was “eight minutes after Wood sent the mass distribution email soliciting signatures.”
Republicans said the PCRB was in possession of the laptop letter since 6:34 a.m. that day, which is when Morell had emailed the statement to the CIA for its approval, and that the PCRB acknowledged receipt of the statement at 7:11 a.m. the same day.
Morell’s email to the CIA’s PCRB early the morning of Oct. 19 told the agency that “this is a rush job, as it needs to get out as soon as possible.” The former acting CIA director told House investigators this year that he was in a rush to have the CIA approve the letter because “we were trying to get it out before the debate” between Trump and Joe Biden. Morell testified to the House that the laptop letter was “approved” by the PCRB “as written.”
The GOP report said the “timing of the PCRB’s approval is uncertain” but that “it appears to have come before” 5:51 p.m. on Oct. 19 based on a text message Morell sent to Polymeropoulos saying the PCRB “cleared” the laptop letter.
Polymeropoulos texted Morell that he had “some juice” at the CIA, and Morell replied that “they are probably afraid I am coming back” to the agency. Despite speculation that Joe Biden might pick Morell to be his CIA director, it didn’t happen.
“Notably, none of the former intelligence officials who signed the letter and produced documents to the Committees, including Morell, have produced the PCRB’s email approving the statement,” the Republican report said.
Mark Zaid, an attorney for some of the laptop letter signers, including Polymeropoulos, has shared an email from the CIA saying the PCRB determined the letter “contains no classified information and can be published.”
Morell told the House Republicans that “I did not coordinate with the CIA” and that he “would have reacted very negatively to this” if he had known about someone at the CIA allegedly encouraging Cariens to sign the laptop letter, calling it “inappropriate for a currently serving staff officer or contractor to be involved in the political process.”
Polymeropoulos also testified that it would be “incredibly unprofessional” for someone at the CIA to have done what Cariens said happened.
Nick Shapiro, a former top aide to Brennan who signed the letter and provided it to Politico, told GOP investigators that “my guess for this was that it was someone who acted inappropriately and was just stupidly outing it and asking these folks if they were going to sign it.” Shapiro said, “I can’t imagine the PRB trying to get someone to sign it by offering to clear something else,” adding, “That would be really bad.”
The new report by Jordan and Turner noted the “gravity” of the allegation by Cariens and said they sent a letter to CIA Director William Burns on March 21 “requesting documents about the CIA’s review of the statement and its interactions with former CIA employees, such as Cariens, about the statement.” The Republicans said, “To date, the CIA has failed to respond to this request.”
A CIA spokesperson told the Washington Examiner the reviewing process was standard practice.
“The role of CIA’s Pre-Publication Review Board is to review materials submitted by current and former officers to determine if the materials contain any classified information,” the spokesperson said. “In the case of the referenced letter, it was submitted to the PCRB in October 2020 and was reviewed only for classification, as is standard practice.”
Morell testified to the House this year that one of the two reasons he helped put the letter together was to help Joe Biden “because I wanted him to win the election” against Trump.
Konstantinos “Gus” Dimitrelos, a cyber forensics expert and former Secret Service agent, conducted an examination of the laptop for the Washington Examiner last year, concluding that “my analysis revealed there is a 100% certainty that Robert Hunter Biden was the only person responsible for the activity on this hard drive and all of its stored data” and that “the hard drive is authentic.”
Distributed by the Stand Up America US Foundation