Fox News anchor Bret Baier confronted a former CIA officer who was one of more than 50 U.S. intelligence community figures who signed on to an open letter ahead of the 2020 election suggesting that damning information found on a laptop abandoned by Hunter Biden was “Russian disinformation.”
In October 2020, just weeks before the election, the New York Post published a series of exclusive reports based on information gleaned from the laptop. But the paper was viciously attacked by other media outlets and the political establishment, which proclaimed all of it “Russian disinformation” — without a shred of evidence or proof.
The media pushed the letter from the dozens of former intelligence officials that claimed the story had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” But again, no real evidence was presented to corroborate that claim.
In fact, the laptop’s information is 100 percent not Russian disinformation, as major media outlets have since confirmed.
In his interview with former CIA officer David Priess, one of the letter’s signatories, Baier directly asked about his decision to advance false claims.
“Why did you sign on to that?” Baier asked.
In response, Priess tried to claim that the letter was neutral and that it did not say outright that the information on the laptop was Russian “disinformation.”
“Because of what it says. It has all of the classic earmarks of one of these operations,” he said. “You’ll note elsewhere in the letter, if you read it, that it also says we don’t know if this is a Russian operation at all. That has been dramatically changed in the retelling of the story.”
“The letter is merely pointing out that this is the kind of thing that time after time after time that people who study Russian disinformation, intelligence officers who look at Russian tactics, over the long period of time — this is the kind of thing they like to amplify, to sow discord within target countries,” the former CIA operative continued. “The fact is, the tactic is an old one, a tried and true one, and it’s been successful in the past.”
“But in this case, it was not true — it was not true,” Baier fired back, noting that other media outlets have since verified the information.
The Blaze noted further:
But the former CIA officer remained stalwart. Priess told Baier he does not regret signing the letter and claimed it did not change the outcome of the 2020 election, despite President Joe Biden citing the letter during a debate with Donald Trump.
Priess, in fact, said the letter was not wrong because it did not call the laptop story “Russian disinformation,” but one that has the “earmarks of a Russian information operation.”
“It’s not my fault if people don’t look up definitions,” Priess said.
“I know, but the purpose of the letter is to have an effect,” Baier shot back. “And the nuance that you’re talking about never made it to candidate Biden, because he said it plainly on a debate stage.”