50 Retired Spooks Want to Bring a Few Key Points to Your Attention

Public Statement on the Hunter Biden Emails

October 19, 2020

We are all individuals who devoted significant por<ons of our lives to na<onal security. Some of us served in senior posi<ons in policy departments and agencies, and some of us served in senior posi<ons in the Intelligence Community. Some of us were poli<cal appointees, and some were career officials. Many of us worked for presidents of both poli<cal par<es.

We are all also individuals who see Russia as one of our na<on’s primary adversaries. All of us have an understanding of the wide range of Russian overt and covert ac<vi<es that undermine US na<onal security, with some of us knowing Russian behavior in<mately, as we worked to defend our na<on against it for a career. A few of us worked against Russian informa<on opera<ons in the United States in the last several years.

Perhaps most important, each of us believes deeply that American ci8zens should determine the outcome of elec8ons, not foreign governments. All of us agree with the founding fathers’ concern about the damage that foreign interference in our poli8cs can do to our democracy.

It is for all these reasons that we write to say that the arrival on the US poli<cal scene of emails purportedly belonging to Vice President Biden’s son Hunter, much of it related to his <me serving on the Board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, has all the classic earmarks of a Russian informa<on opera<on.

We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal aSorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement — just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.

If we are right, this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this elec8on, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this.

There are a number of factors that make us suspicious of Russian involvement.

Such an opera<on would be consistent with Russian objec<ves, as outlined publicly and recently by the Intelligence Community, to create poli<cal chaos in the United States and to deepen poli<cal divisions here but also to undermine the candidacy of former Vice President Biden and thereby help the candidacy of President Trump. For the Russians at this point, with Trump down in the polls, there is incen<ve for Moscow to pull out the stops to do anything possible to help Trump win and/or to weaken Biden should he win. A “laptop op” fits the bill, as the publica<on of the emails are clearly designed to discredit Biden.

Such an opera<on would be consistent with some of the key methods Russia has used in its now mul<-year opera<on to interfere in our democracy – the hacking (via cyber opera<ons) and the dumping of accurate informa<on or the distribu<on of inaccurate or misinforma<on. Russia did both of these during the 2016 presiden<al elec<on – judgments shared by the US Intelligence Community, the inves<ga<on into Russian ac<vi<es by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and the en<rety (all Republicans and Democrats) on the current Senate Intelligence CommiSee.

Such an opera<on is also consistent with several data points. The Russians, according to media reports and cybersecurity experts, targeted Burisma late last year for cyber collec<on and gained access to its emails. And Ukrainian poli<cian and businessman Adriy Derkach, iden<fied and sanc<oned by the US Treasury Department for being a 10-year Russian agent interfering in the 2020 elec<on, passed purported materials on Burisma and Hunter Biden to Giuliani.

Our view that the Russians are involved in the Hunter Biden email issue is consistent with two other significant data points as well. According to the Washington Post, ci<ng four sources, “U.S. intelligence agencies warned the White House last year that Giuliani was the target of an influence opera<on by Russian intelligence.”

In addi<on, media reports say that the FBI has now opened an inves<ga<on into Russian involvement in this case. According to USA Today, “…federal authori<es are inves<ga<ng whether the material supplied to the New York Post by Rudy Giuliani…is part of a smoke bomb of disinforma<on pushed by Russia.”

We do not know whether these press reports are accurate, but they do suggest concern within Execu8ve Branch departments and agencies that mirrors ours. It is high 8me that Russia stops interfering in our democracy.

Signed by,

Jim Clapper
Former Director of Na<onal Intelligence
Former Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
Former Director of the Na<onal Geospa<al Intelligence Agency Former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency

Mike Hayden
Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Director, Na<onal Security Agency
Former Principal Deputy Director of Na<onal Intelligence

Leon PaneSa

Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency Former Secretary of Defense

John Brennan
Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency
Former White House Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor Former Director, Terrorism Threat Integra<on Center
Former Analyst and Opera<ons Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

Thomas Finger
Former Deputy Director of Na<onal Intelligence for Analysis
Former Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research, Department of State Former Chair, Na<onal Intelligence Council

Rick LedgeS
Former Deputy Director, Na<onal Security Agency

John McLaughlin
Former Ac<ng Director, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Deputy Director, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Director of Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Director, Slavic and Eurasian Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency

Michael Morell
Former Ac<ng Director, Central Intelligence Agency Former Deputy Director, Central Intelligence Agency Former Director of Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency

Mike Vickers
Former Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Former Opera<ons Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

Doug Wise
Former Deputy Director, Defense Intelligence Agency Former Senior CIA Opera<ons Officer

Nick Rasmussen
Former Director, Na<onal Counterterrorism Center

Russ Travers
Former Ac<ng Director, Na<onal Counterterrorism Center
Former Deputy Director, Na<onal Counterterrorism Center
Former Analyst of the Soviet Union and Russia, Defense Intelligence Agency

Andy Liepman
Former Deputy Director, Na<onal Counterterrorism Center Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

John Moseman
Former Chief of Staff, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Director of Congressional Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency Former Minority Staff Director, Senate Select CommiSee on Intelligence

Larry Pfeiffer
Former Chief of Staff, Central Intelligence Agency Former Director, White House Situa<on Room

Jeremy Bash
Former Chief of Staff, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Chief of Staff, Department of Defense
Former Chief Counsel, House Permanent Select CommiSee on Intelligence

Rodney Snyder
Former Chief of Staff, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Director of Intelligence Programs, Na<onal Security Council Chief of Sta<on, Central Intelligence Agency

Glenn Gerstell
Former General Counsel, Na<onal Security Agency

David B. Buckley
Former Inspector General, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Democra<c Staff Director, House Permanent Select CommiSee on Intelligence Former Counterespionage Case Officer, United States Air Force

Nada Bakos
Former Analyst and Targe<ng Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

PaSy Brandmaier
Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Deputy Associate Director for Military Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency Former Deputy Director of Congressional Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency

James B. Bruce
Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Na<onal Intelligence Council

Considerable work related to Russia

David Cariens
Former Intelligence Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency 50+ Years Working in the Intelligence Community

Janice Cariens
Former Opera<onal Support Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

Paul Kolbe
Former Senior Opera<ons Officer, Central Intelligence Agency Former Chief, Central Eurasia Division, Central Intelligence Agency

Peter Corsell
Former Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency

BreS Davis
Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Deputy Director of the Special Ac<vi<es Center for Expedi<onary Opera<ons, CIA

Roger Zane George
Former Na<onal Intelligence Officer

Steven L. Hall
Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency Former Chief of Russian Opera<ons, Central Intelligence Agency

Kent Harrington
Former Na<onal Intelligence Officer for East Asia, Central Intelligence Agency Former Director of Public Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Chief of Sta<on, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency

Don Hepburn
Former Senior Na<onal Security Execu<ve

Timothy D. Kilbourn
Former Dean, Sherman Kent School of Intelligence Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency Former PDB Briefer to President George W. Bush, Central Intelligence Agency

Ron Marks
Former Officer, Central Intelligence Agency
Twice former staff of the Republican Majority Leader

Jonna Hiestand Mendez
Technical Opera<ons Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

Emile Nakhleh
Former Director of the Poli<cal Islam Strategic Analysis Program, Central Intelligence Agency Former Senior Intelligence Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency

Gerald A. O’Shea
Senior Opera<ons Officer, Central Intelligence Agency
Served four tours as Chief of Sta<on, Central Intelligence Agency

David Priess

Former Analyst and Manager, Central Intelligence Agency Former PDB Briefer, Central Intelligence Agency

Pam Purcilly
Former Deputy Director of Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Director of the Office of Russian and European Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency Former PDB Briefer to President George W. Bush, Central Intelligence Agency

Marc Polymeropoulos
Former Senior Opera<ons Officer, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Ac<ng Chief of Opera<ons for Europe and Eurasia, Central Intelligence Agency

Chris Savos
Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Officer

Nick Shapiro
Former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Director, Central Intelligence Agency

John Sipher
Former Senior Opera<ons Officer, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Deputy Chief of Russian Opera<ons, Central Intelligence Agency

Stephen Slick
Former Senior Director for Intelligence Programs, Na<onal Security Council Former Senior Opera<ons Office, Central Intelligence Agency

Cynthia Strand
Former Deputy Assistant Director for Global Issues, Central Intelligence Agency

Greg Tarbell
Former Deputy Execu<ve Director, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Analyst of the Soviet Union and Russia, Central Intelligence Agency

David Terry
Former Chairman of the Na<onal Intelligence Collec<on Board
Former Chief of the PDB, Central Intelligence Agency
Former PDB Briefer to Vice President Dick Cheney, Central Intelligence Agency

Greg Treverton
Former Chair, Na<onal Intelligence Council

John Tullius
Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

David A. Vanell
Former Senior Opera<ons Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

Winston Wiley
Former Director of Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Chief, Counterterrorism Center, Central Intelligence Agency

Kris<n Wood
Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency Former PDB Briefer, Central Intelligence Agency

In addi<on, nine additional former IC officers who cannot be named publicly also support the arguments in this letter.