May 22, 2022

Stay silent or double down: What Hunter Biden intel letter signees are doing now- Washington-Examiner

‘Russian Dis-info’ letter signatories included Obama CIA Director John Brennan, former George W. Bush CIA Director Michael Hayden, former Obama CIA Director Leon Panetta, and former Obama acting CIA Director Mike Morell.

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The former intelligence officials who signed an October 2020 letter baselessly claiming Russian involvement in the Hunter Biden laptop stories are largely remaining silent, though some have continued to defend their signatures, while a few recently returned to government service.

The laptop saga has burst back into public view a year and a half after the New York Post published emails belonging to now-President Joe Biden’s son, with the New York Times and the Washington Post finally joining a number of right-leaning outlets that had confirmed the authenticity of emails on the laptop.

Despite offering no proof, Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, along with many in the media, dismissed the laptop story as being a Russian disinformation operation. The president called the story a Russian operation during one of the 2020 presidential debates with then-President Donald Trump.

He claimed: “There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what he’s accusing me of is a Russian plan. They have said this is, has all the — four, five former heads of the CIA. Both parties say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage.”

The future president was referring to a Politico report about the letter in an article titled “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.” The title was misleading because the letter never directly called it Russian “disinformation.”

The letter hedged a bit at various times, noting, “We do not have evidence of Russian involvement.” But it added, “Our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.” The letter argued that “if we are right, this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election” and expresses “our view that the Russians are involved in the Hunter Biden email issue.”

The signatories included Obama CIA Director John Brennan, former George W. Bush CIA Director Michael Hayden, former Obama CIA Director Leon Panetta, and former Obama acting CIA Director Mike Morell.

Politico said Nick Shapiro, a longtime aide to Brennan, provided them with the letter and said: “The real power here … is the number of former, working-level IC officers who want the American people to know that once again the Russians are interfering.”

The outlet did not respond to a request for comment, and article author Natasha Bertrand, now at CNN, did not comment.

Facebook and Twitter limited the sharing of the New York Post stories in the weeks leading up to the election.

James Clapper, Obama’s former director of national intelligence, now a CNN analyst, told the New York Post last month that “sounding such a cautionary note AT THE TIME was appropriate.”

Russ Travers, a former acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told the outlet: “The letter explicitly stated that we didn’t know if the emails were genuine but that we were concerned about Russian disinformation efforts.”

Andy Liepman, a former deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said that “as far as I know, I do [stand by the statement].”

Don Hepburn, a former national security executive, said his “position has not changed” and that “it was a media influence hit job” by Russia. Emile Nakhleh, former director of the CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program, said, “I have not seen any information since then that would alter the decision behind signing.”

Then-Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said in October 2020 there was “no intelligence” to support the laptop was part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

David Buckley, a former CIA inspector general who signed the infamous laptop letter, is now the staff director for the Democratic-led House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Jeremy Bash, another signatory and former chief of staff for Panetta, was appointed by the Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services Committee last week to join the Afghanistan War Commission. Bash, an MSNBC security analyst, claimed on TV in October 2020 that the laptop story looked, walked, and talked “like Russian intelligence” and “a classic Russian playbook disinformation campaign.”

John Sipher, a 28-year CIA veteran who also signed the letter, tweeted last month he was proud to have played his part in influencing the election for Biden, and he claimed he was being sarcastic. Former Attorney General William Barr said the letter “probably affected” 2020’s outcome.

A former national security official who was asked to sign the letter but declined to do so told the Washington Examiner last year that Brennan’s involvement with the letter was problematic because of his anti-Trump commentary and his claims of Trump-Russia collusion, and Brennan’s name on the letter made it look like he was running a “rearguard action” for Biden.

When asked in December 2020 whether he stood by his claims that the laptop story was Russian disinformation, then-President-elect Biden replied: “Yes, yes, yes. God love you, man. You’re a one-horse pony, I tell you.”

When asked if the president stood by his claims, White House press secretary Jen Psaki dodged last month, pointing reporters to the Justice Department and to Hunter Biden’s lawyers.

Hunter Biden went on a media blitz in 2021 to promote his memoir, during which he admitted the laptop dropped off for repairs at the Delaware repair shop could be his but that it could have been stolen or hacked — or Russian intelligence could have been involved. He falsely claimed multiple times that a report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence assessed the laptop story was Russian disinformation.

A report released by Biden’s ODNI in March 2021 concluded Russian state-run media “heavily amplified related content circulating in U.S. media, including stories centered on his son.” But it did not reference the laptop story and reached no public conclusions on it.

White House chief of staff Ron Klain said over the weekend that the president is confident Hunter Biden didn’t break any laws despite a criminal investigation by the Justice Department and believes his son and brother James didn’t do any unethical business deals with China.

White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said Thursday that “we absolutely stand by” Joe Biden’s debate comments suggesting there was nothing unethical about Hunter Biden’s business dealings and that his son had not made any money in China despite clear evidence that his son had received millions from Chinese businessmen.

The Justice Department is reportedly investigating Hunter Biden for foreign lobbying and money laundering violations related to his overseas business dealings, likely in places such as China, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, in addition to scrutinizing his taxes.

Hunter Biden revealed he was under federal investigation shortly after the 2020 election, claiming, “I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately.”

The Biden transition team said then that “President-elect Biden is deeply proud of his son.”


List of Signatories

Michael Morell — former acting director and deputy director of the CIA — current Hayden Center senior fellow and member of Beacon Global Strategies — declined to comment.

Mike Hayden — former CIA director — founder of the Hayden Center at George Mason University — did not provide comment.

Jim Clapper — former director of national intelligence — current CNN analyst — did not respond to a request for comment.

Told the New York Post: “Yes, I stand by the statement made AT THE TIME and would call attention to its fifth paragraph. I think sounding such a cautionary note AT THE TIME was appropriate.”

The letter’s fifth paragraph stated: “We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement — just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.”

Larry Pfeiffer — former CIA chief of staff — director of the Hayden Center — did not respond to a request for comment.

David Priess — analyst and manager at CIA — current senior fellow at the Hayden Center and the chief operating officer of the Lawfare Institute — did not respond to a request for comment.

Told the New York Post in March: “Thank you for reaching out. I have no further comment at this time.”

Ron Marks — former CIA officer — current 2021 term visiting professor at George Mason University — did not respond to a request for comment.

Rick Ledgett — former deputy director of the National Security Agency — now National Security Institute board member and a visiting fellow at Mitre — declined comment in 2021 and did not respond to a comment in 2022.

Jeremy Bash — former chief of staff of the CIA — managing director at Beacon Global Strategies — advisory board at George Mason’s National Security Institute — did not respond to a request for comment.

Leon Panetta — former CIA director — Panetta Institute — did not respond to a request for comment.

John Brennan — former CIA director — now a senior national security analyst for MSNBC and listed as a strategic adviser at the Strauss Center — did not respond to a request for comment.

Nick Shapiro — former deputy chief of staff and senior adviser to the CIA director — founder and CEO of 10th Avenue Consulting — did not respond to a request for comment.

Told National Review in December 2020: “The whole point … was that the Russians most likely spread the information, whether it was disinformation or accurate information. … Reporters come to me often and say things like, ‘What do you think about — insert current event situation going on here.’ … That time of period, lots of reporters were asking about Hunter Biden, and my answer to everybody was, ‘Hey, there’s a letter going around, have you seen it? I have it, would you like it? This reeks of Russian operation.’ And I gave the letter. I didn’t go out [pushing it] — I don’t even know if I read the clip after it came out. … Sounds like you’re hitting up every person who’s signed the letter. Has anyone told you the letter is about disinformation, when it clearly says the opposite?”

Thomas Fingar — former deputy director of national intelligence for analysis — now listed as Shorenstein APARC fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University — did not respond to a request for comment.

John McLaughlin — former acting director and deputy director of the CIA — currently at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies — did not respond to a request for comment.

Mike Vickers — former undersecretary of defense for intelligence — now a board member at BAE Systems and Metis Solutions — did not respond to a request for comment.

Doug Wise — former deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency — LinkedIn says he is the sole proprietor of Southwest National Security Consultants — listed on the advisory board for XK Group — did not respond to a request for comment.

Nick Rasmussen — former director of the National Counterterrorism Center — now listed as executive director of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, a senior national security fellow at the Clements Center for National Security, a senior director for counterterrorism programs at the McCain Institute for International Leadership, and a senior national security fellow at the Strauss Center — did not respond to a request for comment.

Rodney Snyder — former chief of staff of the CIA — now a partner at Guidehouse — did not respond to a request for comment.

Glenn Gerstell — former general counsel of the NSA — currently a senior adviser for the Center for Strategic and International Studies — declined comment in 2021 and did not respond to a request for comment in 2022.

David Buckley — former inspector general of the CIA — now the staff director for the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot — did not respond to a request for comment.

Nada Bakos — former analyst and targeting officer for the CIA — listed as a senior fellow for the national security program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute — did not respond to a request for comment.

Patty Brandmaier — former senior intelligence officer for the CIA — now listed at Pondera International, Arena Labs, and Liminal Collective — did not respond to a request for comment.

James Bruce — former senior intelligence officer for the CIA — now listed as a researcher at Rand Corporation and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and Florida Atlantic University — did not respond to a request for comment.

David Cariens — former intelligence analyst for the CIA — did not respond to a request for comment.

Told National Review in December 2020: “I think the current investigation is probably bogus and being pushed by the president as he seeks revenge on Biden. … If you’re going to go after children, which I think is disgusting, I would really like to see somebody investigate all of Ivanka’s dealings with China. She got all sorts of preferred treatment — she got all sorts of patent rights. She got everything else. I mean that’s peddling the office of the presidency to make members of your family rich. I think we should have an investigation of that.”

Janice Cariens — former operations support officer for the CIA — did not respond to a request for comment.

Paul Kolbe — former senior operations officer for the CIA — listed as director of the Intelligence Project at the Belfer Center at Harvard University — did not respond to a request for comment.

Peter Corsell — former analyst for the CIA — listed as chairman at GridPoint and senior adviser at Stagwell Group — did not respond to a request for comment.

Brett Davis — former senior intelligence officer for the CIA — listed as partner at New North Ventures — did not respond to a request for comment.

Roger Zane George — former national intelligence officer — listed as a nonresident fellow at Occidental College — did not respond to a request for comment.

Steven Hall — former senior intelligence officer for the CIA — did not respond to a request for comment.

Kent Harrington — former national intelligence officer for East Asia for the CIA — did not respond to a request for comment.

Told National Review in a December 2020 email: “Whatever the US attorney(s) handling Biden’s tax and related investigations recently revealed pursue down the road, if anything, is another matter. The travesty created by this president, his enablers at home and the Russian exploitation of Trump’s venality continue. It’s a blow to our capability to build public understanding about both the threats they pose and the capabilities we need to counter them when people don’t speak out. I welcome the opportunity to do so.”

Don Hepburn — former senior national security executive — did not respond to a request for comment.

Told the New York Post in March: “My position has not changed any. I believe the Russians made a huge effort to alter the course of the election. … The Russians are masters of blending truth and fiction and making something feel incredibly real when it’s not. Nothing I have seen really changes my opinion. I can’t tell you what part is real and what part is fake, but the thesis still stands for me: that it was a media influence hit job.”

Timothy Kilbourn — former dean of the Sherman Kent School of Intelligence Analysis for the CIA and President’s Daily Brief briefer for George W. Bush for the CIA — used to teach at the National Security Policy Center — did not respond to a request for comment.

Jonna Hiestand Mendez — former technical operations officer for the CIA — now the “Master of Disguise” and on the board of the International Spy Museum — did not respond to a request for comment.

Told the New York Post in March: “I don’t have any comment. I would need a little more information.”

Emile Nakhleh — former director of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program at the CIA — now listed as a research professor and coordinator of national security programs at the University of New Mexico — did not respond to a request for comment.

Told the New York Post in March: “I have not seen any information since then that would alter the decision behind signing the letter. That’s all I can go into. The whole issue was highly politicized, and I don’t want to deal with that. I still stand by that letter.”

Told National Review in December 2020 that massive hacks into U.S. agencies and companies, which officials said were likely conducted by Russian intelligence, “underscore my thinking that the whole Hunter Biden email incident is part and parcel of the Russian disinformation operation and persistent ugly campaign against the United States.”

John Sipher — senior operations officer at the CIA — co-founder of Spycraft Entertainment — Sipher claimed on Twitter in March: “We didn’t say the laptop was fake but that the Russians were spinning the story to create chaos.” He also tweeted, “I don’t think it was a Russian plot.” The Washington Examiner wrote about his back-and-forth on the topic with former Trump Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell.

Gerald O’Shea — former senior operations officer for the CIA — co-founder of Spycraft Entertainment — did not respond to a request for comment.

Marc Polymeropoulos — former senior operations officer at the CIA — did not comment in 2022.

Told National Review in December 2020: “If I thought I was wrong, I’d say I was wrong. … The last two years of my career, I oversaw a lot of the Russia stuff, so I knew a thing or two about Russian active measures, information operations, disinformation ops, everything. The idea of the letter was to get other folks, Russia experts from both Democrat and Republican administrations, to sign on and give it some more credibility as well, because that was important. I think there’s a good cross section of folks who signed this, but Michael [Morell] and I kind of put it together. … We talk about how this is a Russian information operation. It’s not disinformation. And that’s an important nuance to me as a former intelligence officer. It might not be for the rest of the public or for people on the Right or the Left or wherever who would criticize the letter, but it is an important nuance. Because we did not say it was Russian disinformation. We said it was a Russian information operation. … When you say it’s an information operation, that includes the Russians’ capability to put out information, even if accurate, that’s still going to work toward their goals. I still stand by what we wrote here. I don’t think there’s anything in the letter that is necessarily inaccurate.”

Told the Washington Examiner in 2021: “The key point I would clearly reinforce is that we never stated that the laptop issue was a Russian ‘disinformation’ operation, but rather that it had all the hallmarks of a Russian ‘information’ operation.’ There is a very big difference in the intelligence world. I can’t comment on how or why the media characterized the letter as I was only involved in drafting the letter. I’d also prefer to refrain from comment on how the Biden campaign used the letter, other than point once again to the actual content of the letter as reflecting my professional view.”

Chris Savos — former senior intelligence officer — president and founder of Savos Training Associates — did not respond to a request for comment.

Stephen Slick — former senior director for intelligence programs at the National Security Council — listed as a professor of public policy practice and the director of the Intelligence Studies Project at the University of Texas, Austin — did not respond to a request for comment.

Cynthia Strand — former deputy assistant director for global issues at the CIA — lead for global intelligence strategy at Primer AI — Cyber Security Forum Initiative advisory board — did not respond to a request for comment.

John Tullius — former senior intelligence officer at the CIA — did not provide comment in 2021 and did not respond to a request for comment in 2022.

Greg Treverton — former chairman of the National Intelligence Council — senior adviser for the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies — did not respond to a request for comment in 2022.

Told National Review in December 2020 that he never saw the letter but was still listed as a signatory.

Told the New York Post in March: “I’ll pass. I haven’t followed the case recently.”

Kristin Wood — former senior intelligence officer at the CIA — CEO of Grist Mill Exchange and board of advisers for Ox Intel — did not respond to a request for comment.

Russ Travers — former acting director and deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center — couldn’t reach this time around.

Told the Washington Examiner in 2021: “The general subject of Russian disinformation is hugely important. … As someone who spent 40+ years in intelligence — 20 of which on the Soviet/Russian target, I’ve watched their disinformation efforts and I both was/remain very concerned at how successful they’ve been. I honestly don’t know your work but assuming you’re trying to do legitimate investigative reporting I’d suggest you do three things: read the letter very closely — the author picked his words carefully; consider the bipartisan conclusions of experts regarding exactly what the Russians were doing at the time; and perhaps talk to some former Intel types that worked Russian disinformation. And then draw your own conclusions.”

Told the New York Post in March: “The letter explicitly stated that we didn’t know if the emails were genuine but that we were concerned about Russian disinformation efforts. I spent 25 years as a Soviet/Russian analyst. Given the context of what the Russians were doing at the time and continue to do, Ukraine being just the latest example, I considered the cautionary warning to be prudent.”

Andy Liepman — former deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center — could not reach this time.

Told the New York Post in March: “As far as I know, I do [stand by the statement], but I’m kind of busy right now.”

Pam Purcilly (Pam McMaster) — former deputy director of analysis at the CIA — did not respond in 2021 but couldn’t be reached in 2022.

John Moseman — chief of staff of the CIA — did not respond in 2021 but couldn’t be reached in 2022.

Greg Tarbell — former deputy executive director at the CIA — couldn’t be reached.

David Terry — former chairman of the National Intelligence Collection Board — couldn’t be reached.

David Vanell — former senior operations officer at the CIA — did not respond in 2021 and couldn’t be reached in 2022.

Winston Wiley — forme

Despite offering no proof, Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, along with many in the media, dismissed the laptop story as being a Russian disinformation operation. The president called the story a Russian operation during one of the 2020 presidential debates with then-President Donald Trump.

He claimed: “There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what he’s accusing me of is a Russian plan. They have said this is, has all the — four, five former heads of the CIA. Both parties say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage.”

The future president was referring to a Politico report about the letter in an article titled “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.” The title was misleading because the letter never directly called it Russian “disinformation.”

The letter hedged a bit at various times, noting, “We do not have evidence of Russian involvement.” But it added, “Our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.” The letter argued that “if we are right, this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election” and expresses “our view that the Russians are involved in the Hunter Biden email issue.”

The signatories included Obama CIA Director John Brennan, former George W. Bush CIA Director Michael Hayden, former Obama CIA Director Leon Panetta, and former Obama acting CIA Director Mike Morell.

Politico said Nick Shapiro, a longtime aide to Brennan, provided them with the letter and said: “The real power here … is the number of former, working-level IC officers who want the American people to know that once again the Russians are interfering.”

The outlet did not respond to a request for comment, and article author Natasha Bertrand, now at CNN, did not comment.

Facebook and Twitter limited the sharing of the New York Post stories in the weeks leading up to the election.

James Clapper, Obama’s former director of national intelligence, now a CNN analyst, told the New York Post last month that “sounding such a cautionary note AT THE TIME was appropriate.”

Russ Travers, a former acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told the outlet: “The letter explicitly stated that we didn’t know if the emails were genuine but that we were concerned about Russian disinformation efforts.”

Andy Liepman, a former deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said that “as far as I know, I do [stand by the statement].”

Don Hepburn, a former national security executive, said his “position has not changed” and that “it was a media influence hit job” by Russia. Emile Nakhleh, former director of the CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program, said, “I have not seen any information since then that would alter the decision behind signing.”

Then-Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said in October 2020 there was “no intelligence” to support the laptop was part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

David Buckley, a former CIA inspector general who signed the infamous laptop letter, is now the staff director for the Democratic-led House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Jeremy Bash, another signatory and former chief of staff for Panetta, was appointed by the Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services Committee last week to join the Afghanistan War Commission. Bash, an MSNBC security analyst, claimed on TV in October 2020 that the laptop story looked, walked, and talked “like Russian intelligence” and “a classic Russian playbook disinformation campaign.”

John Sipher, a 28-year CIA veteran who also signed the letter, tweeted last month he was proud to have played his part in influencing the election for Biden, and he claimed he was being sarcastic. Former Attorney General William Barr said the letter “probably affected” 2020’s outcome.

A former national security official who was asked to sign the letter but declined to do so told the Washington Examiner last year that Brennan’s involvement with the letter was problematic because of his anti-Trump commentary and his claims of Trump-Russia collusion, and Brennan’s name on the letter made it look like he was running a “rearguard action” for Biden.

When asked in December 2020 whether he stood by his claims that the laptop story was Russian disinformation, then-President-elect Biden replied: “Yes, yes, yes. God love you, man. You’re a one-horse pony, I tell you.”

When asked if the president stood by his claims, White House press secretary Jen Psaki dodged last month, pointing reporters to the Justice Department and to Hunter Biden’s lawyers.

Hunter Biden went on a media blitz in 2021 to promote his memoir, during which he admitted the laptop dropped off for repairs at the Delaware repair shop could be his but that it could have been stolen or hacked — or Russian intelligence could have been involved. He falsely claimed multiple times that a report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence assessed the laptop story was Russian disinformation.

A report released by Biden’s ODNI in March 2021 concluded Russian state-run media “heavily amplified related content circulating in U.S. media, including stories centered on his son.” But it did not reference the laptop story and reached no public conclusions on it.

White House chief of staff Ron Klain said over the weekend that the president is confident Hunter Biden didn’t break any laws despite a criminal investigation by the Justice Department and believes his son and brother James didn’t do any unethical business deals with China.

White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said Thursday that “we absolutely stand by” Joe Biden’s debate comments suggesting there was nothing unethical about Hunter Biden’s business dealings and that his son had not made any money in China despite clear evidence that his son had received millions from Chinese businessmen.

The Justice Department is reportedly investigating Hunter Biden for foreign lobbying and money laundering violations related to his overseas business dealings, likely in places such as China, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, in addition to scrutinizing his taxes.

Hunter Biden revealed he was under federal investigation shortly after the 2020 election, claiming, “I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately.”

The Biden transition team said then that “President-elect Biden is deeply proud of his son.”


List of Signatories

Michael Morell — former acting director and deputy director of the CIA — current Hayden Center senior fellow and member of Beacon Global Strategies — declined to comment.

Mike Hayden — former CIA director — founder of the Hayden Center at George Mason University — did not provide comment.

Jim Clapper — former director of national intelligence — current CNN analyst — did not respond to a request for comment.

Told the New York Post: “Yes, I stand by the statement made AT THE TIME and would call attention to its fifth paragraph. I think sounding such a cautionary note AT THE TIME was appropriate.”

The letter’s fifth paragraph stated: “We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement — just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.”

Larry Pfeiffer — former CIA chief of staff — director of the Hayden Center — did not respond to a request for comment.

David Priess — analyst and manager at CIA — current senior fellow at the Hayden Center and the chief operating officer of the Lawfare Institute — did not respond to a request for comment.

Told the New York Post in March: “Thank you for reaching out. I have no further comment at this time.”

Ron Marks — former CIA officer — current 2021 term visiting professor at George Mason University — did not respond to a request for comment.

Rick Ledgett — former deputy director of the National Security Agency — now National Security Institute board member and a visiting fellow at Mitre — declined comment in 2021 and did not respond to a comment in 2022.

Jeremy Bash — former chief of staff of the CIA — managing director at Beacon Global Strategies — advisory board at George Mason’s National Security Institute — did not respond to a request for comment.

Leon Panetta — former CIA director — Panetta Institute — did not respond to a request for comment.

John Brennan — former CIA director — now a senior national security analyst for MSNBC and listed as a strategic adviser at the Strauss Center — did not respond to a request for comment.

Nick Shapiro — former deputy chief of staff and senior adviser to the CIA director — founder and CEO of 10th Avenue Consulting — did not respond to a request for comment.

Told National Review in December 2020: “The whole point … was that the Russians most likely spread the information, whether it was disinformation or accurate information. … Reporters come to me often and say things like, ‘What do you think about — insert current event situation going on here.’ … That time of period, lots of reporters were asking about Hunter Biden, and my answer to everybody was, ‘Hey, there’s a letter going around, have you seen it? I have it, would you like it? This reeks of Russian operation.’ And I gave the letter. I didn’t go out [pushing it] — I don’t even know if I read the clip after it came out. … Sounds like you’re hitting up every person who’s signed the letter. Has anyone told you the letter is about disinformation, when it clearly says the opposite?”

Thomas Fingar — former deputy director of national intelligence for analysis — now listed as Shorenstein APARC fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University — did not respond to a request for comment.

John McLaughlin — former acting director and deputy director of the CIA — currently at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies — did not respond to a request for comment.

Mike Vickers — former undersecretary of defense for intelligence — now a board member at BAE Systems and Metis Solutions — did not respond to a request for comment.

Doug Wise — former deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency — LinkedIn says he is the sole proprietor of Southwest National Security Consultants — listed on the advisory board for XK Group — did not respond to a request for comment.

Nick Rasmussen — former director of the National Counterterrorism Center — now listed as executive director of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, a senior national security fellow at the Clements Center for National Security, a senior director for counterterrorism programs at the McCain Institute for International Leadership, and a senior national security fellow at the Strauss Center — did not respond to a request for comment.

Rodney Snyder — former chief of staff of the CIA — now a partner at Guidehouse — did not respond to a request for comment.

Glenn Gerstell — former general counsel of the NSA — currently a senior adviser for the Center for Strategic and International Studies — declined comment in 2021 and did not respond to a request for comment in 2022.

David Buckley — former inspector general of the CIA — now the staff director for the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot — did not respond to a request for comment.

Nada Bakos — former analyst and targeting officer for the CIA — listed as a senior fellow for the national security program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute — did not respond to a request for comment.

Patty Brandmaier — former senior intelligence officer for the CIA — now listed at Pondera International, Arena Labs, and Liminal Collective — did not respond to a request for comment.

James Bruce — former senior intelligence officer for the CIA — now listed as a researcher at Rand Corporation and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and Florida Atlantic University — did not respond to a request for comment.

David Cariens — former intelligence analyst for the CIA — did not respond to a request for comment.

Told National Review in December 2020: “I think the current investigation is probably bogus and being pushed by the president as he seeks revenge on Biden. … If you’re going to go after children, which I think is disgusting, I would really like to see somebody investigate all of Ivanka’s dealings with China. She got all sorts of preferred treatment — she got all sorts of patent rights. She got everything else. I mean that’s peddling the office of the presidency to make members of your family rich. I think we should have an investigation of that.”

Janice Cariens — former operations support officer for the CIA — did not respond to a request for comment.

Paul Kolbe — former senior operations officer for the CIA — listed as director of the Intelligence Project at the Belfer Center at Harvard University — did not respond to a request for comment.

Peter Corsell — former analyst for the CIA — listed as chairman at GridPoint and senior adviser at Stagwell Group — did not respond to a request for comment.

Brett Davis — former senior intelligence officer for the CIA — listed as partner at New North Ventures — did not respond to a request for comment.

Roger Zane George — former national intelligence officer — listed as a nonresident fellow at Occidental College — did not respond to a request for comment.

Steven Hall — former senior intelligence officer for the CIA — did not respond to a request for comment.

Kent Harrington — former national intelligence officer for East Asia for the CIA — did not respond to a request for comment.

Told National Review in a December 2020 email: “Whatever the US attorney(s) handling Biden’s tax and related investigations recently revealed pursue down the road, if anything, is another matter. The travesty created by this president, his enablers at home and the Russian exploitation of Trump’s venality continue. It’s a blow to our capability to build public understanding about both the threats they pose and the capabilities we need to counter them when people don’t speak out. I welcome the opportunity to do so.”

Don Hepburn — former senior national security executive — did not respond to a request for comment.

Told the New York Post in March: “My position has not changed any. I believe the Russians made a huge effort to alter the course of the election. … The Russians are masters of blending truth and fiction and making something feel incredibly real when it’s not. Nothing I have seen really changes my opinion. I can’t tell you what part is real and what part is fake, but the thesis still stands for me: that it was a media influence hit job.”

Timothy Kilbourn — former dean of the Sherman Kent School of Intelligence Analysis for the CIA and President’s Daily Brief briefer for George W. Bush for the CIA — used to teach at the National Security Policy Center — did not respond to a request for comment.

Jonna Hiestand Mendez — former technical operations officer for the CIA — now the “Master of Disguise” and on the board of the International Spy Museum — did not respond to a request for comment.

Told the New York Post in March: “I don’t have any comment. I would need a little more information.”

Emile Nakhleh — former director of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program at the CIA — now listed as a research professor and coordinator of national security programs at the University of New Mexico — did not respond to a request for comment.

Told the New York Post in March: “I have not seen any information since then that would alter the decision behind signing the letter. That’s all I can go into. The whole issue was highly politicized, and I don’t want to deal with that. I still stand by that letter.”

Told National Review in December 2020 that massive hacks into U.S. agencies and companies, which officials said were likely conducted by Russian intelligence, “underscore my thinking that the whole Hunter Biden email incident is part and parcel of the Russian disinformation operation and persistent ugly campaign against the United States.”

John Sipher — senior operations officer at the CIA — co-founder of Spycraft Entertainment — Sipher claimed on Twitter in March: “We didn’t say the laptop was fake but that the Russians were spinning the story to create chaos.” He also tweeted, “I don’t think it was a Russian plot.” The Washington Examiner wrote about his back-and-forth on the topic with former Trump Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell.

Gerald O’Shea — former senior operations officer for the CIA — co-founder of Spycraft Entertainment — did not respond to a request for comment.

Marc Polymeropoulos — former senior operations officer at the CIA — did not comment in 2022.

Told National Review in December 2020: “If I thought I was wrong, I’d say I was wrong. … The last two years of my career, I oversaw a lot of the Russia stuff, so I knew a thing or two about Russian active measures, information operations, disinformation ops, everything. The idea of the letter was to get other folks, Russia experts from both Democrat and Republican administrations, to sign on and give it some more credibility as well, because that was important. I think there’s a good cross section of folks who signed this, but Michael [Morell] and I kind of put it together. … We talk about how this is a Russian information operation. It’s not disinformation. And that’s an important nuance to me as a former intelligence officer. It might not be for the rest of the public or for people on the Right or the Left or wherever who would criticize the letter, but it is an important nuance. Because we did not say it was Russian disinformation. We said it was a Russian information operation. … When you say it’s an information operation, that includes the Russians’ capability to put out information, even if accurate, that’s still going to work toward their goals. I still stand by what we wrote here. I don’t think there’s anything in the letter that is necessarily inaccurate.”

Told the Washington Examiner in 2021: “The key point I would clearly reinforce is that we never stated that the laptop issue was a Russian ‘disinformation’ operation, but rather that it had all the hallmarks of a Russian ‘information’ operation.’ There is a very big difference in the intelligence world. I can’t comment on how or why the media characterized the letter as I was only involved in drafting the letter. I’d also prefer to refrain from comment on how the Biden campaign used the letter, other than point once again to the actual content of the letter as reflecting my professional view.”

Chris Savos — former senior intelligence officer — president and founder of Savos Training Associates — did not respond to a request for comment.

Stephen Slick — former senior director for intelligence programs at the National Security Council — listed as a professor of public policy practice and the director of the Intelligence Studies Project at the University of Texas, Austin — did not respond to a request for comment.

Cynthia Strand — former deputy assistant director for global issues at the CIA — lead for global intelligence strategy at Primer AI — Cyber Security Forum Initiative advisory board — did not respond to a request for comment.

John Tullius — former senior intelligence officer at the CIA — did not provide comment in 2021 and did not respond to a request for comment in 2022.

Greg Treverton — former chairman of the National Intelligence Council — senior adviser for the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies — did not respond to a request for comment in 2022.

Told National Review in December 2020 that he never saw the letter but was still listed as a signatory.

Told the New York Post in March: “I’ll pass. I haven’t followed the case recently.”

Kristin Wood — former senior intelligence officer at the CIA — CEO of Grist Mill Exchange and board of advisers for Ox Intel — did not respond to a request for comment.

Russ Travers — former acting director and deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center — couldn’t reach this time around.

Told the Washington Examiner in 2021: “The general subject of Russian disinformation is hugely important. … As someone who spent 40+ years in intelligence — 20 of which on the Soviet/Russian target, I’ve watched their disinformation efforts and I both was/remain very concerned at how successful they’ve been. I honestly don’t know your work but assuming you’re trying to do legitimate investigative reporting I’d suggest you do three things: read the letter very closely — the author picked his words carefully; consider the bipartisan conclusions of experts regarding exactly what the Russians were doing at the time; and perhaps talk to some former Intel types that worked Russian disinformation. And then draw your own conclusions.”

Told the New York Post in March: “The letter explicitly stated that we didn’t know if the emails were genuine but that we were concerned about Russian disinformation efforts. I spent 25 years as a Soviet/Russian analyst. Given the context of what the Russians were doing at the time and continue to do, Ukraine being just the latest example, I considered the cautionary warning to be prudent.”

Andy Liepman — former deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center — could not reach this time.

Told the New York Post in March: “As far as I know, I do [stand by the statement], but I’m kind of busy right now.”

Pam Purcilly (Pam McMaster) — former deputy director of analysis at the CIA — did not respond in 2021 but couldn’t be reached in 2022.

John Moseman — chief of staff of the CIA — did not respond in 2021 but couldn’t be reached in 2022.

Greg Tarbell — former deputy executive director at the CIA — couldn’t be reached.

David Terry — former chairman of the National Intelligence Collection Board — couldn’t be reached.

David Vanell — former senior operations officer at the CIA — did not respond in 2021 and couldn’t be reached in 2022.

Winston Wiley — former director of analysis at the CIA — couldn’t be reached.

r director of analysis at the CIA — couldn’t be reached.

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