We learned last week that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had “set in motion the events that led to the issuance” of a public statement by a group of former intelligence officers falsely framing the Hunter Biden laptop story as Russian disinformation.
Blinken’s involvement confirms the Biden campaign’s responsibility for pushing the hoax on the American public. And when coupled with evidence that our government helped the Biden campaign push that false narrative to secure the 2020 election, we are witnessing the unraveling of one of the most consequential info ops in our country’s history.
While less significant, the same testimony that connected Blinken and the Biden campaign to the scheme also exposed a Clinton connection to the Russian disinformation hoax — one that might provide investigators a hint as to the origins of the info ops.
A Quick Review to Set the Scene
As previously reported, Blinken spoke with former CIA official Michael Morell soon after the New York Post released its first of many articles about the Biden family pay-to-play scandal based on information recovered from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop. Morell later testified to House investigators that their conversation prompted him to coordinate the public statement by 51 former intelligence officials that portrayed the laptop as Russian disinformation.
Soon after their conversation, Blinken, who was then an adviser to the Biden campaign, would email Morell a USA Today article that reported “the FBI was examining whether the Hunter Biden laptop was part of a ‘disinformation campaign.’” That email included the signature block of Andrew Bates, then a Biden campaign spokesman and the director of his “rapid response” team, suggesting Bates had sent the article to Blinken for him to forward to Morell.
Laundering Spin Through the Media
The Biden campaign’s transparent use of the media to push the Russia-disinformation hoax harkened back to the Clinton campaign’s peddling of the Russia-collusion hoax to get Trump. The similarities between the two info ops only grew from there.
Some of the most prominent Russia-collusion hoaxers promoted the narrative that Hunter’s laptop was Russia disinformation. “Fusion Natasha” Bertrand parrotted spin from Biden’s campaign head, Bates, who redirected the story to focus on Rudy Giuliani, who had provided a copy of the hard drive to the Post. Bates spun the scandal as one concerning Giuliani’s supposed connection “to Russian intelligence.”
Bates’ response was reminiscent of Clinton campaign chair Robby Mook’s interview with Jake Tapper at the Democratic National Convention in 2016. Tapper asked Mook about the emails that had just been published by WikiLeaks “showing Democratic Party officials actively discussing possible ways to sabotage Bernie Sanders.” After saying the DNC needed to “look into this and take appropriate action,” Mook pivoted to Trump.
“What’s disturbing to us,” Mook countered, is that “experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails, and other experts are now saying that the Russians are releasing these emails for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump.”
The Trump-Russia conspiracy theory Mook previewed at the convention soon took hold and consumed the country for the next five years.
The Biden campaign followed that lead, relying on the legacy media and leaks from the FBI to create circular “reporting” that exploded the narrative that the president’s son’s laptop was a Russian info op. The Biden team used that reporting to bolster the case for the 51 former intelligence officials to issue their public statement, as shown by Blinken forwarding the USA Today article to Morell.
Morell’s contact with Blinken, however, reportedly extended beyond the one phone call and email. Among other interactions, Morell testified that “the Biden campaign helped to strategize about the public release of the statement.” Specifically, “Morell testified that he sent an email telling Nick Shapiro, former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Director of the CIA John Brennan, that the Biden campaign wanted the statement to go to a particular reporter at the Washington Post first and that he should send the statement to the campaign when he sent the letter to the reporter.” Shapiro was another signatory of the statement.
Another Clinton Connection
Beyond the similarity between the Russia-collusion hoax and the Russia-disinformation hoax, Morell’s testimony revealed another connection to the Clinton campaign.
Morell testified that after the Oct. 22, 2020, presidential debate — in which then-candidate Biden cited the intelligence officers’ letter to undermine the bombshell revelations from the laptop — he received a call from Jeremy Bash, with whom he had worked “at Beacon and who is active politically.” Bash was another one of the letter’s 51 signatories.
Morell testified that Bash asked if he had a minute to talk to the head of Biden’s campaign, Steve Ricchetti. Morell said, “Of course,” after which Bash put Ricchetti on the line, and Ricchetti thanked Morell for releasing the statement.
Beacon Connection to Clinton Shenanigans
Morell’s reference to Beacon proves of note because the organization, Beacon Global Strategies LLC, used a similar strategy to assist Hillary Clinton during her primary campaign against Bernie Sanders.
Beacon Global was formed in 2013 by Bash, described at the time as a “Clinton ally” and former “chief of staff at both the CIA and Pentagon for former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.” Joining Bash in the new venture was “Clinton’s longtime spokesman Philippe Reines and one-time national security adviser turned Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro.” Morell would join Beacon Global a couple of months later.
Beacon Global reportedly provided consulting services to the Clinton presidential campaign. In 2016, two days after the Jan. 17 Democrat primary debate, The Washington Post — the same outlet Morell testified the Biden campaign had wanted the 51 former intelligence officials’ statement released to first — reported that 10 former foreign policy experts released a letter shortly after the Clinton-Sanders debate, expressing their concern that Sanders had not thought through several “crucial national security issues that can have profound consequences for our security.”
The signatories of the letter attacking Sanders included Bash and two other individuals connected to Beacon Global Strategies: Assistant Defense Secretary Derek Chollet and former Deputy National Security Adviser Julianne Smith.
That the Biden campaign pursued the same strategy of releasing a statement signed by former intelligence officials to attack the Hunter Biden laptop story — and that a founder of Beacon Global arranged the call between Morell and the Biden campaign lead — raises the question of whether the strategy of peddling the Russia-disinformation hoax originated with Beacon Global, or whether Beacon Global assisted in the plot in any way.
The Federalist requested confirmation from Beacon Global of its work with the Hillary Clinton campaign, but the organization did not respond. Beacon Global also did not respond to the question of whether it provided the Biden campaign with any consulting or other services.
Was Beacon Part of the Russia-Disinfo Hoax?
While Morell’s testimony opens many lines of inquiry — raising questions about Blinken, the 51 signatories, members of the Biden campaign such as Bates and Ricchetti, and other Biden advisers, including Michael Carpenter — Beacon Global should not be overlooked as the House oversight committees attempt to unravel the Russia-disinformation hoax.