Glenn Greenwald Says CIA Duped Media About Hunter Biden Story

Independent Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald claims that the media partnered with the U.S. intelligence community to act as "agents of disinformation" in suppressing allegations concerning President-elect Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden.

During the Thursday edition of Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight, host Tucker Carlson focused on allegations concerning Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family, claiming that they "had been selling access to the former vice president to a number of foreign governments." Greenwald was interviewed during the show and said the following:

"We need to recognize what a historic crime and disgrace this is, not only in journalism, but as soon as these documents became known the operatives in the intelligence community, the CIA... all the standard professional liars, issued a letter claiming that this material was the hallmark of Russian information, disinformation actually, even though they had no basis for thinking that.

"And that gave the media permission to lie to the public continuously and Silicon Valley to censor these materials. So, not only did the public not become aware of them, they were lied to."

Greenwald went on say that the "incredible crime by the corporate media" was aided by the intelligence agencies "in order to manipulate the outcome of our election." He claimed that media outlets, apparently operating in unison, had become "agents of disinformation" at the direction of the agencies "based on the premise that the Trump presidency poses a danger." He also claimed that the media "mindlessly repeated" the supposed disinformation "for their own self interests."

Greenwald Says Media, CIA Suppressed Hunter Story
Hunter Biden and President-elect Joe Biden, then serving as vice president, appear together during an event in Washington, D.C. on April 12, 2016. Kris Connor/WireImage/Getty

On Wednesday, Hunter Biden said that the U.S. Attorney's Office in Delaware was investigating his "tax affairs," while insisting that he was "confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately." Subsequent reports indicated that the investigation also focused on several allegations not related to taxes, including potential money laundering.

Unsubstantiated allegations against Hunter Biden, and by extension Joe Biden, were heavily pushed by President Donald Trump and his allies leading up to the presidential election and have continued to be amplified by prominent conservatives and repeated in the press after Biden's victory.

Allegations initially centered on a claim that Hunter Biden's former job with Ukrainian energy company Burisma was obtained by improper influence from his father, although no evidence has confirmed the claim. A conspiracy theory further suggests that the elder Biden pressed for the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor because he wanted to avoid an investigation of his son and Burisma.

Not long before Election Day, The New York Post published a story based on emails and files from what it claimed was a laptop that had been owned by Hunter Biden, with one email hinting but not explicitly saying that Joe Biden met with a Burisma adviser. The article does not reference any materials that prove anything illegal or improper actually took place.

Greenwald resigned from The Intercept, the online news outlet he founded in 2014, while complaining that he had been "censored" when attempting to report on the Hunter Biden story days before the election. The Intercept insisted that Greenwald was "attempting to recycle the dubious claims of a political campaign — the Trump campaign — and launder them as journalism."

The Hunter Biden allegations were not hidden by the media, although the extent to which they were covered is debatable. They were likely not covered to the degree that Trump and his allies may have favored in the days leading up to the election, but they were anything but obscure, having been the focus of many reports from mainstream outlets, including in dozens of Newsweek articles. And the allegations were featured extensively on Fox News, a mainstream media outlet that has more viewers than any other cable news network.

While news that Hunter Biden is being actively investigated is significant, the mere investigation of allegations does not indicate that the allegations are true. Greenwald suggested that investigating "the very transactions these documents uncovered" bolsters the veracity of claims featured in the Post article and his own "censored" story, but it is not clear that any new information or evidence of illegal or inappropriate activity has been uncovered, only that an investigation into the allegations has been or is taking place.

Former U.S. intelligence officials did suggest that the allegations have the hallmarks of a Russian disinformation campaign, although Greenwald also suggested that the intelligence community was actively suppressing the story. The head of the current intelligence community, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, said "the intelligence community doesn't believe" that the allegations are part of a Russian disinformation campaign during a Fox Business interview in October.

In addition, the authenticity of at least some of the documents and emails referenced by the Post article is in doubt. The story was based on information from a hard drive delivered to the paper by Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his former adviser Steve Bannon, prompting some to question the article's credibility given the obvious potential political motivations. Trump was impeached by the House for activities related to his alleged pressuring of the Ukrainian government to launch an investigation into the Bidens.

Joe Biden is not under investigation and there is no evidence that the president-elect has done anything illegal. An investigation by leading Republicans in the Senate, who presumably would have access to at least the same materials Giuliani and Bannon supplied to the Post, found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Carlson himself said that "people can make, I think, a legitimate argument" that "these charges aren't a big deal, people shouldn't care" before interviewing Greenwald on Thursday.

Newsweek reached out to The Office of the Director of National Intelligence Strategic Communications and the Biden presidential transition team for comment.