Biden Admin Glenn Greenwald Media Criticism

Greenwald: The NYT Now Admits the Biden Laptop — Falsely Called “Russian Disinformation” — is Authentic

The media outlets which spread this lie from ex-CIA officials never retracted their pre-election falsehoods, ones used by Big Tech to censor reporting on the front-runner.
President Joe Biden embraces his son Hunter Biden (L) on stage after delivering remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 7, 2020. (Photo by ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

By Glenn Greenwald / Substack

One of the most successful disinformation campaigns in modern American electoral history occurred in the weeks prior to the 2020 presidential election. On October 14, 2020 — less than three weeks before Americans were set to vote — the nation’s oldest newspaper, The New York Post, began publishing a series of reports about the business dealings of the Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in countries in which Biden, as Vice President, wielded considerable influence (including Ukraine and China) and would again if elected president.

The backlash against this reporting was immediate and intense, leading to suppression of the story by U.S. corporate media outlets and censorship of the story by leading Silicon Valley monopolies. The disinformation campaign against this reporting was led by the CIA’s all-but-official spokesperson Natasha Bertrand (then of Politico, now with CNN), whose article on October 19 appeared under this headline: “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.”

Natasha Bertrand, Politico, Oct. 19, 2020

These “former intel officials” did not actually say that the “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo.” Indeed, they stressed in their letter the opposite: namely, that they had no evidence to suggest the emails were falsified or that Russia had anything to do them, but, instead, they had merely intuited this “suspicion” based on their experience:

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.

But a media that was overwhelmingly desperate to ensure Trump’s defeat had no time for facts or annoying details such as what these former officials actually said or whether it was in fact true. They had an election to manipulate. As a result, that these emails were “Russian disinformation” — meaning that they were fake and that Russia manufactured them — became an article of faith among the U.S.’s justifiably despised class of media employees. 

Very few even included the crucial caveat that the intelligence officials themselves stressed: namely, that they had no evidence at all to corroborate this claim. Instead, as I noted last September, “virtually every media outlet — CNN, NBC News, PBS, Huffington PostThe Intercept, and too many others to count — began completely ignoring the substance of the reporting and instead spread the lie over and over that these documents were the by-product of Russian disinformation.” The Huffington Post even published a must-be-seen-to-be-believed campaign ad for Joe Biden, masquerading as “reporting,” that spread this lie that the emails were “Russian disinformation.”

This disinformation campaign about the Biden emails was then used by Big Tech to justify brute censorship of any reporting on or discussion of this story: easily the most severe case of pre-election censorship in modern American political history. Twitter locked The New York Post‘s Twitter account for close to two weeks due to its refusal to obey Twitter’s orders to delete any reference to its reporting. The social media site also blocked any and all references to the reporting by all users; Twitter users were barred even from linking to the story in private chats with one another. Facebook, through its spokesman, the life-long DNC operative Andy Stone, announced that they would algorithmically suppress discussion of the reporting to ensure it did not spread, pending a “fact check[] by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners” which, needless to say, never came — precisely because the archive was indisputably authentic.

The archive’s authenticity, as I documented in a video report from September, was clear from the start. Indeed, as I described in that report, I staked my career on its authenticity when I demanded that The Intercept publish my analysis of these revelations, and then resigned when its vehemently anti-Trump editors censored any discussion of those emails precisely because it was indisputable that the archive was authentic (The Intercept‘s former New York Times reporter James Risen was given the green light by these same editors to spread and endorse the CIA’s lie, as he insisted that laptop should be ignored because “a group of former intelligence officials issued a letter saying that the Giuliani laptop story has the classic trademarks of Russian disinformation.”) I knew the archive was real because all the relevant journalistic metrics that one evaluates to verify large archives of this type — including the Snowden archive and the Brazil archive which I used to report a series of investigative exposés — left no doubt that it was genuine (that includes documented verification from third parties who were included in the email chains and who showed that the emails they had in their possession matched the ones in the archive word-for-word). 

Any residual doubts that the Biden archive was genuine — and there should have been none — were shattered when a reporter from Politico, Ben Schreckinger, published a book last September, entitled “The Bidens: Inside the First Family’s Fifty-Year Rise to Power,” in which his new reporting proved that the key emails on which The New York Post relied were entirely authentic. Among other things, Schreckinger interviewed several people included in the email chains who provided confirmation that the emails in their possession matched the ones in the Post‘s archive word for word. He also obtained documents from the Swedish government that were identical to key documents in the archive. His own outlet, Politico, was one of the few to even acknowledge his book. While ignoring the fact that they were the first to spread the lie that the emails were “Russian disinformation,” Politico editors — under the headline “Double Trouble for Biden”— admitted that the book “finds evidence that some of the purported Hunter Biden laptop material is genuine, including two emails at the center of last October’s controversy.”

The vital revelations in Schreckinger’s book were almost completely ignored by the very same corporate media outlets that published the CIA’s now-debunked lies. They just pretended it never happened. Grappling with it would have forced them to acknowledge a fact quite devastating to whatever remaining credibility they have: namely, that they all ratified and spread a coordinated disinformation campaign in order to elect Joe Biden and defeat Donald Trump. With strength in numbers, and knowing that they speak only to and for liberals who are happy if they lie to help Democrats, they all joined hands in an implicit vow of silence and simply ignored the new proof in Schreckinger’s book that, in the days leading up to the 2020 election, they all endorsed a disinformation campaign.

It will now be much harder to avoid confronting the reality of what they did, though it is highly likely that they will continue to do so. This morning, The New York Times published an article about the broad, ongoing FBI criminal investigation into Hunter Biden’s international business and tax activities. Prior to the election, the Times, to their credit, was one of the few to apply skepticism to the CIA’s pre-election lie, noting on October 22 that “no concrete evidence has emerged that the laptop contains Russian disinformation.” Because the activities of Hunter Biden now under FBI investigation directly pertain to the emails first revealed by The Post, the reporters needed to rely upon the laptop’s archive to amplify and inform their reporting. That, in turn, required The New York Times to verify the authenticity of this laptop and its origins — exactly what, according to their reporters, they successfully did:

People familiar with the investigation said prosecutors had examined emails between Mr. Biden, Mr. Archer and others about Burisma and other foreign business activity. Those emails were obtained by The New York Times from a cache of files that appears to have come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop. The email and others in the cache were authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation.

That this cache of emails was authentic was clear from the start. Any doubts were obliterated by publication of Schreckinger’s book six months ago. Now the Paper of Record itself explicitly states not only that the emails “were authenticated” but also that the original story from The Post about how they obtained these materials — they “come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop” — “appears” to be true. 

What this means is that, in the crucial days leading up to the 2020 presidential election, most of the corporate media spread an absolute lie about The New York Post‘s reporting in order to mislead and manipulate the American electorate. It means that Big Tech monopolies, along with Twitter, censored this story based on a lie from “the intelligence community.” It means that Facebook’s promise from its DNC operative that it would suppress discussion of the reporting in order to conduct a “fact-check” of these documents was a fraud because if an honest one had been conducted, it would have proven that Facebook’s censorship decree was based on a lie. It means that millions of Americans were denied the ability to hear about reporting on the candidate leading all polls to become the next president, and instead were subjected to a barrage of lies about the provenance (Russia did it) and authenticity (disinformation!) of these documents.

The objections to noting all of this today are drearily predictable. Reporting on Hunter Biden is irrelevant since he was not himself a candidate (what made the reporting relevant was what it revealed about the involvement of Joe Biden in these deals). Given the war in Ukraine, now is not the time to discuss all of this (despite the fact that they are usually ignored, there are always horrific wars being waged even if the victims are not as sympathetic as European Ukrainians and the perpetrators are the film’s Good Guys and not the Bad Guys). The real reason most liberals and their media allies do not want to hear about any of this is because they believe that the means they used (deliberately lying to the public with CIA disinformation) are justified by their noble ends (defeating Trump).

Whatever else is true, both the CIA/media disinformation campaign in the weeks before the 2020 election and the resulting regime of brute censorship imposed by Big Tech are of historic significance. Democrats and their new allies in the establishment wing of the Republican Party may be more excited by war in Ukraine than the subversion of their own election by the unholy trinity of the intelligence community, the corporate press, and Big Tech. But today’s admission by The New York Times that this archive and the emails in it were real all along proves that a gigantic fraud was perpetrated by the country’s most powerful institutions. What matters far more than the interest level of various partisan factions is the core truths about U.S. democracy revealed by this tawdry spectacle.

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald is the author of several bestsellers, including How Would a Patriot Act? and With Liberty and Justice for Some. His most recent book is No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State. Greenwald is a former constitutional law and civil rights litigator. He was a columnist for The Guardian until October 2013 and was the founding editor of the media outlet, The Intercept. He is a frequent guest on Fox News, Rolling Stone and various other television and radio outlets. He has won numerous awards for his NSA reporting, including the 2013 Polk Award for national security reporting, the top 2013 investigative journalism award from the Online News Association, the Esso Award for Excellence in Reporting (the Brazilian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize), and the 2013 Pioneer Award from Electronic Frontier Foundation. He also received the first annual I. F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism in 2009 and a 2010 Online Journalism Award for his investigative work on the arrest and detention of Chelsea Manning. In 2013, Greenwald led the Guardian reporting that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for public service.

17 comments

  1. All Mainstream News are FRAUDS and they are infiltrated by former CIA personnel and current CIA operatives willing to quelch the truth. This is Demonic based because there is no basis for such conduct except to undermine the truth.

    1. To Edward,
      You don’t need to posit “infiltration” of the media by the CIA – all you have to realize is that they have been bought, literally – they rely for their income on advertising, and to “increase revenue” (rule #1 in the business model of life) you have to draw the biggest advertisers that spend the most money- and those advertisers (e.g MIC, Big Phrma, et.al) are the same ones on whom the politicians depend for campaign donations, to keep them in power – the politicians that pass the laws, regs, etc. that fatten the pockets of those interests, and shut out the ones who don’t …. This isn’t really rocket science – and is “nefarious” only in the sense that any person or group or system that exists for the sole, or primary, purpose, of making as much money as possible, is …

  2. Frankly getting kind of tired reading who did what to whom and when with regard to the media – of course the MSM, which now, apparently, includes the Intercept after it squashed your story, is going to play fast and loose with what it publishes and when it publishes it – that you should be so repeatedly incensed by it, after all this time ….

    You have your own publishing site now on Substack – so instead of spending all your time with a “see, see, I was right, nyah, nyah, nyah” why not get back to doing stuff like revealing the existence of the laptop –

    1. You’re “frankly getting tired” of reading Greenwald? Then what are you doing here?

      1. To TmN,
        No, I am tired of reading how he and others have been “wronged” by the MSM – we have too much “victimology” in our discourse already …. Just let him stick to the facts – reporting has shown that the laptop was real – no surprise to me as I have already been steeped in the fact that most media is propaganda in service of some agenda or other …

  3. None of this matters, Glenn.
    Trump won the election, remember.
    It was stolen from him.
    No matter what Hunter Biden did, he was going to be declared the winner of the election.
    Strike that.
    Wouldn’t your time be better spent getting to the bottom of “the steal”?
    Lies in the course of a US election?
    I hear that there’s gambling and prostitution in Vegas.
    Thank goodness for the NYT and Politico.
    Paragons of truth and virtue.
    Well, 2024 isn’t that far off.
    The Trump gang can ride again, soon enough.
    Do you plan any features on the Trump kids?
    Why bother.
    Pure as the driven snow.

  4. “The real reason most liberals and their media allies do not want to hear about any of this is because they believe that the means they used (deliberately lying to the public with CIA disinformation) are justified by their noble ends (defeating Trump).” As Time magazine put it: “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election” time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/ As the Deep State and their media henchmen know, if the cause is just IN THEIR EYES, anything– lies, torture, seizing assets, censoring political dissent, murder most foul– is justified.
    There are surreal aspects as well: when Krystal Ball trashed GA Republican Senate candidates just BEFORE their run-off elections, for insider trading (of which they had been cleared by the Congressional Ethics– an oxymoron akin to CIA intelligence– offices), they lost; then AFTER the elections, Krystal Ball gave a weak rebuke of Nancy Pelosi’s much more egregious stock trading “transgressions”. Somehow when Democrats do the same thing as Republicans, that’s only “soft” corruption. And clearly Ball believes she’s being even-handed (and is possibly one of the more “fair” Biden apologists).
    Greenwald should call this out for what it is: interference by the media (Global Neoliberalism is as pernicious as Russians) in an American Election. While I agree with Greenwald that everyone should have free speech (there are enough horrible repurcussions without censorship), possibly intentional lies and deceit by “our” CIA-controlled media to ensure they get “our” PROPER candidates elected, should be punished somehow? If social media can censor the President, shouldn’t they have the ability to stop truly reprehensible Government Misinformation too? Although even before abolition of our anti-domestic propaganda laws (smith Mundt) by Obama, the CIA/FBI had infiltrated our State Media at every level, critical for operation of a Police State.

    1. not merely are the fake progressives the most counter-revolutionary apologists for the ruling class, they are the most immoral—they justify any mccarthite dirty tricks and praise immoral war criminals Clinton Obama Biden etc…this fascism cannot be more naked

  5. In the first impeachment hearing, Fiona Hill and Marie Yovanovitch both asserted the Biden smear came from the Russians. I’d believe them sooner than I would Greenwald.

  6. As someone so clearly committed to finding the truth as he is, I find it extremely disappointing how Mr. Greenwald has been treated. But very importantly, the public has been deprived of the truth and right to learn the truth. This canceling that has become endemic in our discourse and our media appears increasingly intolerant of other views. We see this canceling big time right now with Ukraine. In fact, I had no idea things could get so shrill and jingoistic. Saying anything other than Putin is the new Hitler makes you a traitor. There is not a lot of rational thought, just lots of reaction and loads of reasoning fallacies. It’s really a pretty scary time.

  7. Surely, the underlying crime must be, at the least, described as; actions by identified corporate leadership persons clearly intent upon perverting the course of justice; which is, certainly here in the UK, a criminal offence? Yes, subject to the possibility of a court defining a prison sentence being required action against such criminality. So, again, in a civilised nation founded under the rule of the law; all it will take is for a United States citizen to file the charge with the United States Department of Justice, for the required action of investigation, and instruction to send to a court of the law to be initiated. However, the problem being . . . that even a British citizen can clearly observe; the United States Department of Justice, has no intention; whatever; of ever setting such an investigation into motion. Agreed, the D.o.J. might follow their recent practice of defining a monetary fine; being it’s current standard method, at this moment in the history of the rule of law within the United States . . . of applying the rule of law to all higher level corporate leadership . . . except that anyone with half a brain can see; ensures no one at such a level within their nation’s corporate echelons ever . . . EVER; faces the possibility of being, as the saying goes . . . sent to jail. All this tells us is the simple message; the United States is no longer a civilised nation founded under the rule of the law. That anyone, at the level of senior corporate leadership, may breach the law with absolutely no personal consequences. That wonderful headline; Leaders of the free world; just got flushed down the proverbial toilet. And, please, do not try and blame me for making the obvious statement of fact; Speaking Truth to Power! Here I am not the miscreant; that honour lays with the current leadership, Sic! within the United States Department of Justice.

  8. I’m surprised that GG didn’t mention that the origin of this story was Hillary’s false claims about Assange and the DNC emails. She blamed her loss of that and linked it to Russia. And the supreme irony that Assange is being prosecuted for releasing accurate information.

    That set the stage for the Hunter laptop.

  9. It’s ironic that Mr. Greenwald suggests the refusal to accept the “laptop left at the repair shop” story is evidence of media manipulation to defeat Trump, when it’s far more likely the Trump campaign fed the cockamamie “laptop left at the repair shop” story to the NY Post in a desperate last minute attempt to agitate the Trump base before the election.

    Regardless of whether or not some or all of the emails have been authenticated, isn’t the abandoned laptop story more than a little bit fishy? Hunter Biden may not be the brightest light on the planet, but it’s hard to believe that first, he or someone he knew dropped off the laptop – with the sensitive, private, incriminating contents – at some random nearby computer repair shop, and then, he or someone he knew didn’t bother to pick up the computer after it was repaired. If that’s not far-fetched, I don’t know what is.

    Authenticating an email or a photo, and providing evidence that the laptop was Hunter Biden’s, are 2 different things. Anyone can stick anything on any laptop they manage to get their hands on.

    1. So, it seemed to lack “truthiness.” A drug addict would be more rational, more responsible. It seemed out of character.

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