Speaking of disinformation

Miranda Devine takes up the disparagement of the New York Post stories derived from Hunter Biden’s laptop as Russian disinformation and lays out the background of the Post’s acquisition of a copy of the laptop’s hard drive in her current Post column. Here is the background as she lays it out:

On April 12, 2019, a man who calls himself Hunter Biden enters a Wilmington, Del., Mac repair shop with three “liquid-damaged” computers just before closing time. The owner says one computer is beyond repair. Another has a fried keyboard, so the owner gives Hunter a spare keyboard.

The third laptop, a MacBook, is salvageable. Hunter signs a work order to confirm he wants him to fix it and provides contact details.

The owner — whom The Post promised anonymity, even though he has since been named by others — recovers the content of the laptop and transfers it to his server. He calls Hunter and asks him to bring in an external drive, onto which he can transfer the content.

Hunter arrives at closing time with the external drive.

He never sets foot inside the store again.

The owner makes frequent attempts to contact Hunter to pick up his laptop, pay the $85 bill and return the keyboard and cord.

No reply.

After 90 days, as per the work order signed by Hunter, the laptop becomes the store’s legal property.

In August, the computer repairman hears news reports about the leaked phone call in which President Trump raises Hunter and Joe Biden’s Burisma activity with Ukraine’s president — the call which sparked his impeachment.

The repairman does a word search of Burisma on Hunter’s laptop. Bingo.

Four months later, the impeachment is big news, so he decides to contact the FBI, via a friend, in case the material on the laptop is useful.

On Dec. 9 two FBI agents take away the laptop and hard drive.

In August this year, the repairman sees Giuliani on TV talking about Hunter and Burisma and decides to contact him via an e-mail address he finds online.

This is how the repairman explained his actions in an e-mail to Giuliani on Aug. 27, 2020:

“As I read deeper into the drive, I started to realize what I was sitting on and who was involved and at what level. I figured the safest thing to do was reach out to the FBI and have them collect the drive and the Mac so I could wash my hands of it and they might be able offer me some level of protection should someone come looking for it and come after me because I knew what was on it. The FBI did show up and . . . over the next few days they contacted me for access to the drive . . . because their tech guys didn’t know Macs.

“That kind of threw up a flag . . .

“They also said nothing ever happens to people who don’t talk about this stuff so that got me a little concerned . . .

“There is some very incriminating videos on the drive . . .

“I live and work in [the Bidens’ hometown] Wilmington, Delaware and my life here as well as my business would be destroyed if people found out what I was involved in.

“I have been trying to keep things quiet . . . but I feel time has been running out.”

The e-mail was compelling. Within two days, a copy of the hard drive was FedEx’d to a Long Island address where Giuliani and his lawyer examined it, and verified the material was genuine.

Bannon, a former Trump adviser, was only peripherally involved. He was brought in by Giuliani in late September to help decipher the China material.

Shortly thereafter, Bannon alerted The Post to the existence of the material, although he did not have a copy.

On Sunday a week ago Giuliani provided The Post with a copy of the hard drive.

It is not hard to believe that Hunter would be as reckless as to abandon a laptop at a repair shop. In October 2016, he left a crack pipe in a Hertz rental car in Arizona, along with a white powdery substance, credit cards and his driver’s license, as widely reported.

Devine concludes: “The Post has been transparent about the provenance of the material we have published. We stand by our reporting and the authenticity of the material. It’s hard to believe the rest of America’s media does not want to know the full story about a man running for president.”

Speaking for “the rest of America’s media” today, the New York Times ingeniously approaches the story backasswards precisely to avoid “the full story.” The New York Post responds to the Times in this editorial and Post opinion editor Sohrab Ahmari responds to the Times story in the tweets below.

Speaking for “the rest of America’s media,” David Frum comments on the Post stories in the tweet below. Ahmari responds again.

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