The FBI allegedly knew Hunter Biden’s laptop was authentic nearly a year before they pressured Big Tech platforms to censor the New York Post’s reporting on it ahead of the 2020 election.
In his remarks before the House Ways and Means Committee, IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley testified that the FBI verified the authenticity of Hunter’s laptop in November 2019, a month after the agency became aware of the laptop’s existence and allegations that its contents potentially contained “evidence of a crime.” According to Shapley, the FBI purportedly authenticated the computer “by matching the device number against Hunter Biden’s Apple iCloud ID.”
“When the FBI took possession of the device in December 2019, they notified the IRS that it likely contained evidence of tax crimes,” Shapley said. “Thus, Special Agent [redacted] drafted an affidavit for a Title 26 search warrant, which a magistrate judge approved that month.”
Shapley — who became supervisor of the investigation in January 2020 — went on to claim that once he and his team began collaborating with the FBI, Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Department of Justice (DOJ) Tax, “it soon became clear … this case was being handled differently than any [he’d] seen before.” Shapley asserted that by the time Joe Biden became the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee in April 2020, DOJ officials were clearly “dragg[ing] their feet” on the IRS team’s efforts to investigate the matter, adding that by June 2020, “those same career [DOJ] officials were already delaying overt investigative actions.”
“This was well before the typical 60- to 90-day period when DOJ would historically stand down before an election. It was apparent that DOJ was purposely slow-walking investigative actions in this matter,” Shapley said.
The timeline of these events is critical. If Shapley’s testimony is true, it means the FBI had authenticated the laptop nearly a full year before the New York Post dropped its bombshell story documenting the Biden family’s foreign business dealings weeks before the Nov. 3, 2020, election. Following its publication, the Post’s reporting was immediately censored by Big Tech platforms.
On Twitter, users were not permitted to share the story, even via direct message. The platform further removed links and posted warnings that it may be “unsafe.” Meanwhile, Facebook announced shortly after the story broke that it would be “reducing [the story’s] distribution” pending verification by third-party “fact-checkers.”
But Shapley’s testimony is even more damaging given what the country now knows about the agency’s bid to pressure social media companies to censor the Post story in the weeks leading up to the 2020 election. Before the Post story even broke, the FBI — as admitted by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg — warned Facebook to be on “high alert” about potential info dumps indicative of “Russian propaganda.” In other words, Zuckerberg essentially admitted the company’s decision to suppress the story was based on the FBI’s warning.
The FBI also issued similar warnings to Twitter. According to Twitter’s then-head of trust and safety Yoel Roth, the FBI — over the course of several regularly held meetings — told the social media platform “they expected ‘hack-and-leak operations’ by state actors [to] occur in the period shortly before the 2020 presidential election, likely in October.” Roth specifically noted that during those meetings, he learned “that there were rumors that a hack-and-leak operation would involve Hunter Biden.”
As revealed in the “Twitter Files,” Roth was instrumental in Twitter’s censorship operations.
Coupled with Shapley’s testimony, these facts paint a damning picture; that is, that the FBI — despite knowing the veracity of Hunter’s laptop in November 2019 — lied to and pressured Big Tech platforms to engage in censorship activities in the hopes that these companies would suppress reporting that would damage their preferred political candidate. The agency was all-to-comfortable slow-walking the IRS’ investigation in an apparent attempt to avoid interfering in the election but was perfectly fine interfering in the election to benefit the “Big Guy.”
It’s the type of behavior not reminiscent of a constitutional republic but of a failed, third-world police state.