Feds examining whether alleged Hunter Biden emails are linked to a foreign intel operation

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  john-russell  •  2 weeks ago  •  8 comments

By:   Ken Dilanian (NBC News)

Feds examining whether alleged Hunter Biden emails are linked to a foreign intel operation
Many commentators have said it is hard to believe that Hunter Biden would abandon a Mac laptop full of incriminating information at a repair shop. Some have speculated that the material could have been hacked from Hunter Biden's accounts and put on the laptop as a cover story to offer a plausible explanation of how the material became public.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Oct. 16, 2020, 12:42 AM UTC / Updated Oct. 16, 2020, 12:55 AM UTC By Ken Dilanian

WASHINGTON — Federal investigators are examining whether the emails allegedly describing activities by Joe Biden and his son Hunter and found on a laptop at a Delaware repair shop are linked to a foreign intelligence operation, two people familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The FBI seized the laptop and a hard drive through a grand jury subpoena. The subpoena was later published by the New York Post. The bureau has declined to comment.

The Post, a conservative tabloid, has published a series of stories based on emails the newspaper said it obtained from President Donald Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani. The first story highlighted what it called a "smoking gun email" that suggested a meeting between Vice President Biden and a representative of a Ukrainian company that once paid Hunter Biden. The Biden campaign says there is no evidence the meeting happened, and the story was greeted with widespread skepticism.

George Mesires, attorney for Hunter Biden, said in a statement, "We have no idea where this came from, and certainly cannot credit anything that Rudy Giuliani provided to the New York Post, but what I do know for certain is that this purported meeting never happened."

President Donald Trump's lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani talks to journalists outside the White House West Wing on July 1, 2020.Chip Somodevilla file / Getty Images

"The New York Post never asked the Biden campaign about the critical elements of this story," said Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates. "They certainly never raised that Rudy Giuliani — whose discredited conspiracy theories and alliance with figures connected to Russian intelligence have been widely reported — claimed to have such materials."

Bates added, "We have reviewed Joe Biden's official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place."

Questions have swirled around the Post's account of how it obtained the emails and other materials. The newspaper said they were found on a laptop left in a Delaware repair shop in April 2019 and never claimed. The repair shop owner then took it upon himself to access the private material, the Post said.

The Post said the shop owner, who has been identified as Mac Isaac, called the FBI, and also called a Giuliani associate. The shop owner said he believed the laptop was among equipment left by Hunter Biden, Joe Biden's son, because a sticker on the laptop bore the name of the Beau Biden Foundation, a charity named after his late brother.

"Before turning over the gear, the shop owner says, he made a copy of the hard drive and later gave it to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani's lawyer, Robert Costello," the Post said. "Steve Bannon, former adviser to President Trump, told The Post about the existence of the hard drive in late September and Giuliani provided The Post with a copy of it on Sunday."

It remains unclear whether the emails cited by the Post are authentic or have been doctored.

Giuliani, who acknowledged helping bring the material to light, has in the past sought to unearth information damaging to Biden with the help of a man identified by the U.S. government as a Russian intelligence officer.

Questions about the provenance of the emails have led Facebook and Twitter to limit sharing of the story, prompting fierce criticism from Republicans.

In an interview published by the Daily Beast, Issac, the repair shop owner, did not answer key questions.

"Throughout the interview, Mac Isaac switched back and forth from saying he reached out to law enforcement after viewing the files in the laptop to saying that it was actually the FBI that contacted him," the Beast wrote. NBC News has reached out to Isaac but has not heard back.

The Post published a grand jury subpoena for the laptop and hard drive. The subpoena had been issued by a federal prosecutor who already had the serial numbers of the devices when they were ordered to be handed over in early December 2019, indicating federal law enforcement was aware of the specific devices they want to examine.

"Other material extracted from the computer," the Post said, "includes a raunchy, 12-minute video that appears to show Hunter, who's admitted struggling with addiction problems, smoking crack while engaged in a sex act with an unidentified woman, as well as numerous other sexually explicit images."

Many commentators have said it is hard to believe that Hunter Biden would abandon a Mac laptop full of incriminating information at a repair shop.

Some have speculated that the material could have been hacked from Hunter Biden's accounts and put on the laptop as a cover story to offer a plausible explanation of how the material became public.

In January, Burisma's networks were breached by Russian hackers, according to cybersecurity experts.

ken-dilanian-circle-byline-template_1c5ca23c4e8c423213b27f66d3dc8b38.focal-100x100.jpg Ken Dilanian

Ken Dilanian is a correspondent covering intelligence and national security for the NBC News Investigative Unit.

Michael Kosnar, Julia Ainsley and Tom Winter contributed.


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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

Bottom line - according to this report, the FBI is investigating whether this Hunter Biden story is fake news planted by Russia working in conjunction with the Trump campaign. 

 
 
 
JBB
2  JBB    2 weeks ago

Is anything less appealing than cold nothing burger?

 
 
 
Ozzwald
3  Ozzwald    2 weeks ago

The ineptitude of this story is screaming "Giuliani" at the top of its lungs.

  • An unknown person dropped a laptop off to be repaired.
    • Apparently this shop does not believe in receipts or customer contact info to notify customer when repairs are complete.
  • After repairing it the shop owner decided to start searching through the laptop.
    • I'm sure people are lined up to drop off their personal computers and information with this guy.
    • I believe this is also a criminal action.
  • After "finding" suspicious emails, shop owner decided to copy the hard drive.
    • Email generally reside on an email server.  Did the shop owner hack into the laptop owner's email account?
    • Once again, I believe breaking into someone's email is a crime.
    • Copying the hard drive would also be considered another crime, since it is not the shop owner's property to copy.
  • After turning over laptop to FBI
    • Finally something done right
  • Shop owner gives copied hard drive to Giuliani.
    • DOH!  Making Giuliani an accessory to theft?

Believable?  Only to right wing nut jobs who are desperately trying to find something against Biden to believe in.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
3.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Ozzwald @3    2 weeks ago

Nice analysis Ozzwald......

I can't see any reason why a Trump supporter would question the authenticity of the story.......  

 
 
 
evilgenius
4  evilgenius    2 weeks ago

All that matters to the Trump Humpers is that Biden and Emails are in the same news story 3 weeks before the election. That's all that matters. 

 
 
 
Ender
5  Ender    2 weeks ago

Read this.  Haha

@dantoujours
So just so I follow this story: Hunter Biden, who lives in Los Angeles, decides to fly 3000 miles across country, to drop off 3 MacBook Pros at a repair shop run by a blind guy who charges the insanely low price of $85. He gets off the plane and drunk drives to the repair shop
(because there aren't repair shops in LA). He drops them off, signs a contract for repair and then disappears. The repair shop owner recovers and reads Hunter's *private* emails, a few of which mention a possible meeting with his dad and is so alarmed, he contacts the FBI.
The FBI arranges to pick up the hard drives, but the computer repair shop owner takes a totally normal step of copying them. Once he realizes the FBI isn't doing anything with them, he calls up the most credible ex-Mayor on Earth and hands them the contents of these drives.
That totally credible ex-Mayor sits on them for months, then chooses to release them 3 weeks before the election. The mainstream media asks to independently verify their validity but said ex-Mayor does what all people trying to prove facts do and ignores these requests.
Is this how stupid we are now?
No one who does data recovery would read through thousands of personal emails, even if the computer is abandoned. You'd just wipe the drives clean and sell the computers used. If these emails were as alarming as it's being pushed, Giuliani wouldn't have sat on them for months.
And if Giuliani wanted to prove their validity, he'd turn them over to forensic experts.
 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
5.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Ender @5    2 weeks ago

Yep..... I'm sure it makes total sense to any Trump supporter as gospel, no matter how many times they read it.

 
 
 
Ender
5.1.1  Ender  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @5.1    2 weeks ago

I don't know how anyone could be skeptical of this...

 
 
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