FBI knew the Hunter Biden laptop was real in 2019, IRS … – Washington Examiner

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IRS whistleblowers revealed the FBI verified the authenticity of Hunter Biden’s laptop by November 2019, nearly a year before social media companies censored stories about it.
They also said some laptop contents were withheld during their criminal investigation.
The whistleblower claims came from two IRS agents who played key roles in the Hunter Biden investigation: Gary Shapley, a supervisory special agent with the IRS’s criminal investigation, and a yet-unnamed IRS case agent who is referred to as “Whistleblower X.” The whistleblowers said the laptop hard drive belonging to President Joe Biden’s son was quickly determined to be authentic, but there were limitations placed on what laptop contents they were allowed to use in their inquiry.
Shapley testified that “the FBI became aware that a repair shop had a laptop allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden and that the laptop might contain evidence of a crime” in October 2019. He added that just one month later “the FBI verified its authenticity in November of 2019 by matching the device number against Hunter Biden’s Apple iCloud ID.”
He said that FBI case agent Josh Wilson called repair shop owner John Paul Mac Isaac on Nov. 6, 2019 “and basically got the device numbers from him.” Shapley further testified that “then we bounced those device numbers off third-party records, and it showed that it was, in fact, Hunter Biden’s device.” He added that “then it’s a lot of minutia with what they did with the information — or with the analysis of the computers.”
The whistleblower said that “when the FBI took possession of the device in December 2019, they notified the IRS that it likely contained evidence of tax crimes” and that a redacted special agent “drafted an affidavit for a Title 26 search warrant, which a magistrate judge approved that month.”
Shapley said that “it wasn’t a warrant for the FBI to physically take custody of” the laptop and emphasized that “they determined, because it was abandoned property, that it could be turned over via a document request.”
The whistleblower said that “I don’t know of” any instance where Hunter Biden or his lawyers claimed that anything on the laptop was doctored or fraudulent. The person added that it was discussed internally whether anything was inauthentic, but that analysis showed that “it was not manipulated in any way” and that it was reliable evidence.
Konstantinos “Gus” Dimitrelos, a cyber forensics expert and former Secret Service agent, conducted an examination of the laptop for the Washington Examiner last year. He concluded, “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.”
Hunter Biden reached a plea deal on federal charges related to tax crimes and the illegal purchase of a handgun, Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss’s office revealed in a court filing on Tuesday. IRS whistleblower claims detailing the politicization of the Justice Department investigation were made public on Thursday, including allegations that Weiss had sought special counsel status from the DOJ and sought to file charges in California and in the nation’s capital, but was repeatedly denied.
The New York Post reported in October 2020 that emails from the laptop showed evidence of shady business dealings by the son of President Joe Biden tied to Ukraine and China.
When the publication attempted to post the articles on its Twitter account, the social media company said doing so violated its rule against sharing “hacked” materials. Facebook also limited the reach of the stories.
Former Twitter deputy general counsel Jim Baker, who had previously been the FBI’s general counsel under fired FBI director James Comey, defended his and Twitter’s actions related to the Hunter Biden laptop censorship earlier this year, contending there was no “unlawful collusion” between Twitter and the FBI or the Biden campaign.
Baker seemed to lean in favor of censoring the laptop stories in October 2020, telling Twitter colleagues that “it’s reasonable for us to assume that” the laptop materials “may have been” hacked “and that caution is warranted.”
In December 2020, now-former Twitter executive Yoel Roth detailed meetings he had with the FBI and the intelligence community in the lead-up to the 2020 election, and he claimed that “the federal law enforcement agencies communicated that they expected ‘hack-and-leak operations’ by state actors might occur in the period shortly before the 2020 presidential election.”
Roth had also claimed he learned in those “meetings” about “rumors” that a “hack-and-leak operation would involve Hunter Biden.” But earlier this year, Roth said the rumor had not originated with some other yet-unnamed tech company.
Mike Morell, a former acting CIA director under President Barack Obama, said in a transcribed interview with congressional investigators earlier this year that, before his Oct. 17, 2020, phone call with now-Secretary of State Antony Blinken, he had no intention to write the Oct. 19, 2020, Hunter Biden laptop letter, and testified “yes” and “absolutely” when asked if the call with Blinken, who was then a top advisor for Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign, was what “triggered that intent in you.”
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. That narrative was happily spread by some of the laptop letter signers and seized upon by Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign.
The same day of the Blinken-Morell call, Blinken emailed Morell an article published in USA Today the same day which alleged that the FBI was examining whether the Hunter Biden laptop was part of a “disinformation campaign.”
The April GOP congressional letter said Morell received a call from then-Biden campaign chairman Steve Ricchetti after the Oct. 22, 2020, presidential debate to thank him for writing the statement. Richetti is now a counselor to President Biden. Morell said that “Steve thanked me for putting the statement out.”
Joe Biden pointed to the laptop letter during the debate after Trump brought up “the laptop from hell.”
“There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what he’s accusing me of is a Russian plan. They have said that this has all the characteristics — four, five former heads of the CIA, both parties, say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage,” Joe Biden said.
Joe Biden was referring to the Politico report about the letter in an Oct. 19, 2020, article titled, “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.”
Shapley said that he emailed Delaware assistant U.S. attorney Lesley Wolf the same day that Politico published the laptop letter, telling her that “we need to talk about” the laptop.
“It appears the FBI is making certain representations about the device, and the only reason we know what is on the device is because of the IRS CI affiant search warrant that allowed access to the documents,” Shapley said his email read. “If Durham also executed a search warrant on a device, we need to know so that my leadership is informed. My management has to be looped into whatever the FBI is doing with the laptop. It is IRS CI’s responsibility to know what is happening.”
Shapley said that his email led to a “special meeting” three days later “with the prosecution team and the FBI’s computer analysis team to discuss Hunter Biden’s laptop.” The whistleblower said that “we once again objected that we still had not been given access to the laptop.”
The redacted special agent “stated he had not been provided with” the full data from the laptop and that Wolf “stated that she would not have seen it because, for a variety of reasons, prosecutors decided to keep it from the investigators.”
Shapley said that “this decision is unprecedented in my experience” because “investigators assigned to this investigation were obstructed from seeing all the available evidence.” He said that “it is unknown if all the evidence in the laptop was reviewed by agents or by prosecutors.”
The whistleblower said that “we were directed not to” consult “open source” information on the laptop — such as news articles — when conducting their investigation, but he said that was customary.
Shapley said an IRS case agent “pointed out a couple different times how he had not seen” the full FBI analysis of the laptop, and that the case agent “was questioning whether or not the investigators were provided everything.”
The whistleblower said that “Wolf says, well, you haven’t seen it because, for a variety of reasons, they kept it from the agents” and that “she said that at some point they were going to give a redacted version, but we don’t even think we got a full — even a redacted version.” He added that “we only got piecemeal items.”
Shapley contended that “a prosecutor, in my experience, would never want that … because they want the agents to go through the evidence and the agents to spend that time” and so “we don’t really know what the full contents of that laptop ever had on it.”
The second whistleblower said that “there was the laptop” and that there were also “storage backups” to it. One agent looked through the laptop while another agent went through the backups.
“I’ve gone back through statements that were documented — that there were some things that were held back from us for one reason or another,” Whistleblower X said. “But I don’t still know what that is.”


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