FBI Director Christopher Wray recently testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and he was treated to the usual verbal floggings from Republican senators via Mediaite.
It has been noted that at one juncture, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) inquired about Hunter Biden’s laptop. Ahead of the 2020 election, right-wing media started circulating content purporting to be from a device belonging to Biden – the son of then-presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Under the Trump administration, the FBI warned social media companies that the laptop – whose authenticity could not be verified for a time – may be part of a disinformation campaign meant to affect the election. The laptop story – including the lewd images and thousands of communications on its hard drive – turned out to be real.
Conservatives have long cried foul, saying the FBI pressured platforms to suppress the story, which was originally published by the New York Post.
“At that time, you had 80 agents interfacing with social media, doing whatever they were doing,” Kennedy said to Wray during the hearing. “The FBI had the Hunter Biden laptop, got it on December 9th, 2019. the New York Post story, which a lot of the social media companies – at the suggestion of government – took down. The story came out on 10/14/2020. Why didn’t the FBI just say, ‘Hey, the laptop’s real’? Why didn’t you just tell everybody the laptop’s real?”
“Well, as you might imagine the FBI cannot, especially in a time like that, be talking about an ongoing investigation,” he responded. “Second, I would tell you that, at least my understanding is, that both the FBI folks involved in the conversations and the Twitter folks involved in the conversations, both say that the FBI did not direct Twitter to suppress–”
“But others were in government,” Kennedy protested.
“Well, again, I can’t speak to others in government,” Wray said. “That’s part of the point I was trying to make–”
“Yes, but you’re the FBI,” the senator interrupted. “You are not part of the White House or part of Homeland Security. You’re not supposed to be political. You see all of this controversy going on. Why didn’t the FBI say, ‘Timeout, folks, we’re not getting in the middle of this, but the laptop’s real’?
“Again, we have to be very careful about what we can say, especially in the middle of an election season because that’s precisely some of the problems that led to my predecessor’s negative finding from the inspector general,” the director answered