by SEAN DAVIS at thefederalist.com
The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) both solicited signatures for and eventually approved the infamous 2020 letter claiming that the Hunter Biden laptop story was a Russian disinformation plot, recent congressional testimony suggests. According to a report to be released Wednesday by the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, multiple former U.S. intelligence officials testified under oath about the CIA’s involvement in the distribution of the letter, which was eventually signed by more than 50 former senior U.S. intelligence officials.
“One signer of the statement, former CIA analyst David Cariens, disclosed to the Committees that a CIA employee affiliated with the agency’s Prepublication Classification Review Board (‘PCRB’) informed him of the existence of the statement and asked if he would sign it,” the House investigative report notes. “The Committees have requested additional material from the CIA, which has ignored the request to date.”
The Prepublication Classification Review Board (PCRB) is tasked with reviewing statements, letters, and books published by former intelligence personnel to determine whether the material contains any classified information that would need to be removed or redacted prior to publication.
In a March 5, 2023, email to congressional investigators, Cariens stated that a CIA official tasked with reviewing and approving a memoir he planned to publish told him about the Hunter Biden laptop letter and even asked him if he would like to sign it.
“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 wrote. “The person asked me if I would be willing to sign.”
According to the email, the CIA official also read specific language from the letter to Cariens to convince him to sign the letter. In his email, Cariens stated that he did not remember the name of the CIA official who asked him to sign the Hunter Biden laptop letter. Cariens’ wife Janice, who retired from the CIA in 1995, also signed the letter.
The letter was first submitted to the PCRB by former CIA acting director and Joe Biden campaign surrogate Mike Morell at 6:34 a.m. on Oct. 19, 2020. The CIA review board acknowledged receipt of the letter at 7:11 a.m. the same day. Just hours later, at 10:27 a.m., former CIA official Kristen Wood bcc’ed a distribution list of former intelligence officials asking them to sign the letter, which had been drafted by Morell and Marc Polymeropoulos, who retired from the CIA in 2019. Cariens later responded to Wood’s email and agreed to sign the letter.
During his own testimony before Congress, Morell admitted he drafted and circulated the letter to give Joe Biden a talking point to use during a 2020 presidential debate against then-President Donald Trump.