Breitbart News Politics Editor Emma-Jo Morris denounced the “elaborate censorship conspiracy” to silence her 2020 reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop during testimony before the House Weaponization Committee on Thursday.
The following is the full text of Morris’ opening statement before the House Committee:
My name is Emma-Jo Morris. I am the Politics Editor at Breitbart News.
I am here today because I published a series of news stories three years ago, in October 2020, about Hunter Biden’s now infamous laptop — also known as the “laptop from hell” — which is seen as some of the most scandalous reporting of the last decade.
What was more scandalous than the reporting itself though was the fact that it exposed the unholy alliance between the Intelligence Community, social media platforms, and legacy media outlets.
At the time, I was deputy politics editor at the New York Post. My reporting showed that, despite then-candidate Joe Biden’s repeated and furious denials, he was apparently involved in the foreign business deals of his family.
Over several days, just weeks before Americans would vote for their next president, I revealed verified authentic emails from the Biden scion’s hard drive showing Ukrainian business partners receiving leaks from the Obama White House, I documented an off-the-books meeting between then-Vice President Biden and a Ukrainian energy executive, and introduced the world to “the Big Guy,” who got action on a deal with CEFC China Energy Co.
The Post published exactly how the material for the reporting was obtained, even identifying the sources, as well as a federal subpoena showing the FBI was in possession of the material the story was based on, and had been since December of 2019.
But when the stories appeared on social media that morning — the venue where millions of Americans go to find their news, and editors to get their angles — within hours, the reporting was censored on all major platforms, on the basis of being called “hacked” or “Russian disinformation.”
Twitter refused to allow users to share the link to the stories, banned the links from being shared in private messages — a policy typically used to clamp down on child porn distribution — and locked the Post out of its verified account.
Facebook said it would curb distribution and reach of the links on its platform.
However, the stories were not based on “hacked materials,” nor were they “Russian disinformation.” And despite those claims appearing to come out of thin air at the time, we would eventually learn that they actually didn’t come out of thin air at all.
On October 19, five days after the Post first began publishing, Politico ran a story headlined, “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.”
Politico printed a letter, completely uncritically, from veteran members of U.S. intelligence falsely claiming the Post exposé “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”
Most notable among the signatories of the letter were Jim Clapper, former DNI, and John Brennan, former CIA — despite having such damaged credibility following their participation in the Russia Collusion conspiracy theory.
A few days later, on October 22, when Biden appeared in the second presidential debate, and was confronted with the facts of the Post’s reporting, he said to Trump, “Fifty former national intelligence professionals said this: what he’s accusing me of is a Russian plot.”
But it was not.
Now, fast forward to this year, three years later.
Just last spring, House investigators revealed it was a call by now-Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell that prompted the spy letter published by Politico, which bypassed agency approval processes that would have been normally applied.
It is also now known that ahead of my reporting, federal agencies were priming social media companies to execute an operation to discredit it.
According to internal documents released by Elon Musk upon his acquisition of Twitter, the FBI and other intelligence community members essentially directed the platform’s censorship operation in part externally, by working with top management; in part internally, by social media companies hiring eye-popping numbers of agency-alumni.
Journalist Michael Shellenberger reported, based on documents he obtained from Musk, that “during all of 2020, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies repeatedly primed” Twitter executives “to dismiss reports of Hunter Biden’s laptop as a Russian ‘hack and leak’ operation.” Feds arranged for Top Secret security clearances to be granted to Twitter management, and even had an encrypted messaging network set up, which they dubbed a “virtual war room.”
To this day, hundreds of people from the intelligence community work at social media companies.
Over the last few years, my reporting has been confirmed by virtually every mainstream news outlet, from the Washington Post, to the New York Times, to Politico. No one denies that the laptop is real, that the origin story is exactly what I told you it was in the first place.
This elaborate censorship conspiracy wasn’t because the information being reported on was false. It was because the information was true, and a threat to the power centers in this country.
What this relationship between U.S. government officials and American corporations represents is an unprecedented push to undermine the First Amendment — the right to think, write, read, and say whatever we want — and how we respond will determine whether we see a free press as inalienable, or as optional.