A former senior CIA official testified to Congress that former deputy CIA Director Michael Morell had told him that someone in the “Biden world” asked him about writing a letter suggesting the New York Post‘s Hunter Biden laptop story was Russian disinformation — contrary to what Morell had testified himself, according to an interim report released by House Republicans on Wednesday.
Marc Polymeropoulos, former CIA Acting Chief of Operations for Europe and Eurasia, who helped Morell draft the letter, told congressional investigators that Morell “did mention to me that someone in the kind of Biden world had asked about doing this,” according to the Republicans’ report.
When Polymeropoulos was asked to elaborate, he reiterated, according to the report: “Morell said that to me, that someone from kind of the Biden world had asked for this. And he did not tell me who it was or any of the other kind of details of it.”
That statement seemingly contradicts Morell’s testimony released last month.
According to Morell’s testimony, Secretary of State Antony Blinken — then a senior Biden campaign adviser — had asked him his thoughts about the Post’s story and whether he thought it was Russian disinformation, which triggered Morell to write the letter, although Blinken did not ask him to write it. More than 50 former intelligence and national security officials would ultimately sign the letter, which Joe Biden mentioned during a debate with then-President Donald Trump to discredit the laptop story.
According to the report released Wednesday, the only person Morell talked to before first reaching out to Polymeropoulos to help him draft the letter was Blinken. Morell testified:
The first thing I did when Mr. Blinken called me is I did some research. I had not read The New York Post article. I went and read it. I did some internet searches. I did a little bit of research here before I reached out to Marc.
The report showed that Blinken called Morell sometime on October 17, 2020, and that later that day, Morell texted Polymeropoulos. According to the report:
Upon concluding his communication with Blinken and performing internet searches, Morell then enlisted Polymeropoulos to begin preparing the statement. Morell recruited Polymeropoulos because, in Morell’s wording, he was a former ‘acting chief of operations for the part of the world that covers Russia,’ ‘had a very good understanding of what the Russians did in [the] 2016 [election],’ and is an expert ‘in Russian disinformation.
Polymeropoulos said after Morell first reached out to him, Morell asked him to come to his house “shortly after.” Polymeropoulos said he believed that after the meeting with Morell, he sent a backgrounder to Morell that later became the letter. The background was dated that same day, October 17, 2020, according to the report. There is no indication that Morell spoke to anyone else from the Biden campaign except for Blinken before working with Polymeropoulos on the letter that day.
The report was released Wednesday by the House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government and Intelligence Committee. The committees are examining what role the Biden campaign had in the letter, which was used to discredit an unflattering story about Biden before the 2020 election, and was used by establishment media outlets and social media platforms to shut down and censor the story.
The report also showed that after the letter was drafted, Morell and a former deputy, Nick Shapiro, worked with the Biden campaign to place the letter in major publications. The Biden campaign later thanked Morell for the letter, the report showed.
Read the full interim report here.
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