Morris: Twitter Files Reveal ‘Laptop from Hell’ Censorship Was Orchestrated by Security State

UNITED STATES - JULY 7: Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, attends a ceremony t
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images, Getty Images

The censorship of the New York Post’s “laptop from hell” series on social media platforms was an operation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and other intelligence community members, according to a tranche of “Twitter Files” released Monday.

Journalist Michael Shellenberger reported, based on documents he obtained from Elon Musk, that federal agents “discredited factual information about Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings both after and *before* The New York Post revealed the contents of his laptop on October 14, 2020″ — working with top management at Twitter to censor and disparage the Post‘s reporting on evidence of now-President Joe Biden’s personal business involvement with corrupt and adversarial regimes in Europe and Asia, in the run-up to the 2020 election.

Shellenberger revealed that there was “an organized effort by representatives of the intelligence community (IC), aimed at senior executives at news and social media companies,” to smear factual and accurate stories based on a hard drive belonging to Hunter Biden, which the FBI had in its possession almost a year before the Post’s reporting and knew was authentic.

Shellenberger details how agents outside the company worked to get Twitter management, many of whom were former agents themselves, to embrace the narrative that documents showing the Biden family earning tens of million dollars from Eastern European oligarchs and the Chinese Communist Party were part of a “Russian ‘hack and leak’ operation,” and then censor reporting on those documents on that premise. The narrative would then also be adopted by virtually all of legacy media in the lead up to voting day of 2020, and used to buttress their decision not to report on the material.

Shellenberger writes that “during all of 2020, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies repeatedly primed Yoel Roth to dismiss reports of Hunter Biden’s laptop as a Russian ‘hack and leak’ operation,” referring to the Head of Trust and Safety and one of Twitter’s chief censors. Despite the fact that the FBI had the Biden scion’s laptop since December, 2019, and amid Roth allegedly pushing back that “Twitter executives *repeatedly* reported very little Russian activity” on the platform.

“In fact, Twitter debunked false claims by journalists of foreign influence on its platform ‘We haven’t seen any evidence to support that claim’ by @oneunderscore__ @NBC News of foreign-controlled bots. ‘Our review thus far shows a small-scale domestic troll effort…’,” Shellenberger reported. “Time and again, FBI asks Twitter for evidence of foreign influence & Twitter responds that they aren’t finding anything worth reporting,” he adds.

The FBI then escalated efforts, arranging for Top Secret security clearances to be granted to Twitter management so that alleged intelligence pertaining to “Russian interference” attempts in the election could be shared. Then, as Shellenberger reports, when the Biden files were published by the Post, Roth said it “set off every single one of my finely tuned APT28 hack-and-[leak] campaign alarm bells.”

There was such intimate cooperation by mid-September 2020, weeks before the Post would begin publishing the “laptop from hell” series, that FBI, ODNI, and Twitter executives had an encrypted messaging network set up, which they dubbed a “virtual war room.”

On the day the Post published, as has been previously reported, Roth admits the story is not “clearly violative of our Hacked Materials Policy, nor is it clearly in violation of anything else,” but adds, “this feels a lot like a somewhat subtle leak operation.” Jim Baker, then-Twitter Deputy Counsel and former senior FBI agent, pushes back that the Biden materials are “either faked, hacked, or both” — despite the Post publishing the federal subpoena given to the original source of the material when he handed the hard drive over to the FBI in 2019.

“By 10 am, Twitter execs had bought into a wild hack-and-dump story ‘The suggestion from experts — which rings true — is there was a hack that happened separately, and they loaded the hacked materials on the laptop that magically appeared at a repair shop in Delaware’,” Shellenberger reports.

“The influence operation persuaded Twitter execs that the Hunter Biden laptop did *not* come from a whistleblower. One linked to a Hill article, based on a WaPo article, from Oct 15, which falsely suggested that Giuliani’s leak of the laptop had something to do with Russia,” he adds.

Shellenberger reports that, after the election, Baker reached out to thank the FBI for its successful effort to censor and discredit the New York Post‘s reporting.

“In the end, the FBI’s influence campaign aimed at executives at news media, Twitter, & other social media companies worked: they censored & discredited the Hunter Biden laptop story. By Dec. 2020, Baker and his colleagues even sent a note of thanks to the FBI for its work,” Shellenberger writes.

Emma-Jo Morris is the Politics Editor at Breitbart News. Email her at  or follow her on Twitter.


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