After my piece on the Burisma Scandal, we move on to “The Laptop From Hell”. So what exactly happened and what was found on Hunter Biden’s laptop?
Hunter Biden’s Laptop Lands in Delaware
As reported in the original New York Post story, the owner of a small Deleware computer repair shop first received the laptop in April of 2019. According to the man who brought it in, it was heavily water-damaged and the data needed recovering. While the store owner asserts that the man was Hunter Biden, he also says he can’t be sure of his identity due to a condition that leaves him legally blind. After receiving it, he went about the exhaustive process of transferring the data piece by piece to an external hard drive.
Taking a Closer Look
According to the shop owner, he made several attempts to contact Hunter Biden to let him know the data had been recovered but received no reply. This led to him taking a closer look at the laptop, noticing a “Beau Biden Foundation” sticker, raising his suspicions. He soon took to rummaging through the files to see if anything was amiss. And although he disputes that his actions amount to “Hacking”, he is woefully incorrect. Whether we’re talking about the phone phreakers of yesteryear or the phishers of today, hacking is simply any unauthorized access to a system or its files. Although on purely legal grounds, he was well within his rights to do so. And after rifling through the files and finding what he saw as evidence of corrupt dealings, he soon contacted outside agencies and individuals to take a look.
Hunter Biden’s Laptop Changes Hands
The FBI and Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, were among the first to be informed about the laptop. And after being served a subpoena by the FBI requesting the laptop, he hurriedly made several copies, one of which found its way to Rudy Giuliani. Rudy would later share this information with Trump’s former chief strategist and noted white nationalist Steve Bannon. Bannon later informed The New York Post of the drive and arranged for it to be delivered to them.
Major Outlets Blocked From Accessing the Drive
While Donald Trump and his cohorts were complaining about major outlets not reporting on the laptop and its contents, several of them responded with reports that they were denied access to it at all. According to NBC and The Washington Post, Fox News and The Wall Street Journal were amongst the few that were granted access to the contents by Rudy Giuliani.
Bobulinski Steps Out
A former business partner of Hunter Biden’s, Tony Bobulinski came on to the national stage after The New York Posts article was released. He claimed that Joe Biden was lying when he said he never discussed Hunter’s business with him and that Joe Biden himself had become personally enriched. He even went so far as to say that he would be submitting electronic evidence that would testify to that fact. But so far, no such evidence has been released.
“The New York Times Admits It’s Real”
Following The New York Times‘ article going over Hunter Biden’s tax troubles, The New York Post took a victory lap. They lambasted the Times with a headline that read, “NY Times ‘finally admitted’ Hunter Biden’s laptop is real”. But anyone willing to read the full article would see what the New York Times actually said. “The email and others in the cache were authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation”. This isn’t The Times “Admitting” that the laptop is real, the existence of the laptop has never been in question. What has been questioned are the contents of the laptop and whether any of it was a result of a Russian campaign to target those close to Joe Biden. The Russian government has consistently taken steps to infiltrate our democratic processes, by way of something known as hybrid warfare, which seeks to destabilize a foreign government via espionage, cyberattacks, and information campaigns designed to sow discord within the nation.
Hunter Biden’s Laptop Examined by The Washington Post
Several days ago, The Washington Post published their examination of the laptop. According to The Post, when the story first dropped, they had attempted to contact both Steve Bannon and Rudy Guiliani for access to the drive but were rebuffed until June of 2021, when a former researcher for Bannon, Jack Maxey, delivered the drive to them. Hiring two experts in the field of cybersecurity, Matt Green and Jake Williams, they set about examining the contents of the drive brought to them. All in all, the Post managed to verify about 22,000 emails out of over 100,000. One thing of note, however, is that the verification process can only be used to verify that an email was sent from a specific account, and would not be able to verify who actually sent that email. This also means that any emails sent from the laptop itself would be inherently unverifiable unless the recipient were willing to open their files up for the world to see. Still, there are quite a few potential problems that exist within this story, not least of which is the absolutely disastrous chain of custody.
So What Was on the Laptop?
Although the most salacious materials on Hunter Biden’s laptop are the images of him smoking copious amounts of crack cocaine and utilizing the services of various prostitutes, the real meat and potatoes of it lies in the emails that were sent to him. Of those that were on the laptop, several have been verified by multiple outlets, from The Washington Post to The New York Times.
Contents That Have Been Verified
Out of the emails that were released to the public, perhaps the most interesting were those sent by an account purportedly belonging to Vadym Pozharskyi. In one such email, Vadym thanks Hunter for the opportunity to meet his father Joe, although what this meeting entailed, or whether the Gmail account actually belonged to Vadym is unclear, and will likely remain that way until the FBI finishes their investigation. Another email, however, related to the Chinese firm CEFC, was reportedly authenticated by Fox News. In it, a business partner of Hunter Biden is going over how the proceeds from the deal will be split up, and makes reference to “The Big Guy”. Tony Bobulinski claims that this refers to Joe Biden, but there are two important caveats. Firstly, Tony is the only witness so far willing to come forward with this, and secondly, had this actually occurred, Joe Biden would’ve been a private citizen at the time and would’ve held no official power within the United States making such a move perfectly legal.
Potential Pitfalls of the Hunter Biden Laptop Story
Even with the emails being “Verified”, there are still potential pitfalls associated with the data recovered. Especially when we’re talking about the son of a high-profile politician that is almost certainly a vulnerable target for Russia’s unique form of hybrid warfare.
Burisma Gets Hacked by the Russians
In 2019, a campaign by Russian actors to access the email accounts of Burisma officials was underway, according to a report by US-based cybersecurity firm Area 1 Security. Most notably, unlike Gmail or any other large email company, internal emails like the ones used by Burisma are far more open to falsification. An email sent from a Gmail account for instance would fail to authenticate after being tampered with, while a lower quality, carbon copy would be far easier for the GRU to crack.
Russians Stole My Laptop!
Shortly after the original New York Post story, a new video was unearthed. In it, Hunter Biden was once again utilizing the services of a prostitute. Throughout the video, he tells of a weeks-long bender he had gone on in 2018, that culminated in a near OD. According to him, his drug dealers, who were Russian, stole his laptop while he was in a drug-induced stupor. This could potentially be a source of some of the images and videos that were initially released by The New York Post, as in the video, Hunter Biden can be heard saying, “The Russians have videos of me doing crazy f***ing sex!”.
Is Hunter Biden Criminally Liable?
While Hunter Biden is unlikely to see any jail time, he will likely be facing several charges. Including tax fraud and FARA violations (Foreign Agents Registration Act). For both of these charges, the government has to prove that not only did you commit the act, but you did so deliberately. Making a mistake on your 1040 isn’t illegal, and it shouldn’t be. So he’ll likely end up paying restitution on any taxes he didn’t pay, with his punishment simply amounting to interest on what he owes.