FOIA Lawsuit Emails Show CIA Rushed Approval of Infamous Hunter Laptop Letter by 51 Former Intel Officials Before Election

Washington, D.C. — Judicial Watch announced today that it received eight pages of records from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) showing Mike Morell, former acting CIA director under President Obama, requesting CIA permission to publish a letter by former intelligence community leaders stating that they believed the laptop emails exposing Hunter Biden’s connections to Ukraine were Russian disinformation. Morrell’s request for prepublication review was approved in just six hours by the CIA.

Judicial Watch forced the release of material through a June 23, 2023, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the CIA failed to respond to a May 11, 2023, request (Judicial Watch v. Central Intelligence Agency (No. 1:23-cv-01844)). Judicial Watch is asking for:

Records and communications of the Prepublication Classification Review Board, Central Intelligence Agency, including emails, email chains, email attachments, text messages, cables, voice recordings, correspondence, statements, letters, memoranda, reports, presentations, notes, or other form of record, regarding an October 19, 2020, email request to review and “clear” a letter involving the Hunter Biden laptop story potentially having Russian involvement or being a Russian disinformation plot. 

“This is a rush job, as it needs to get out as soon as possible,” Morell wrote in an email on Monday, October 19, 2020, at 6:36 a.m., to the CIA’s Publications Classification Review Board (PCRB) with a copy to Marc Polymeropoulos, a former CIA senior intelligence officer. 

This was five days after the New York Post published an article on the Hunter Biden emails, three days before a Donald Trump/Joe Biden debate, and 15 days before the presidential election.

 The “Public Statement on the Hunter Biden Emails” is included in the records. It states in part:

We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal attorney 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.

At 8:01 a.m. the same day, an unnamed CIA official sent Morell’s request to an official whose name is also redacted:

Below is a high profile/high alert action item for 19 October:

Former DDCIA Michael Morell submitted for review the attached manuscript (“Public Statement on the Hunter Biden Emails”). Mr. Morell has advised us that this article was co-authored with former DO officer Marc Polymeropoulos and that “many former senior and working-level officials from across the IC will sign and then be made public. PCRB has determined that this manuscript contains no classified information.” [Emphasis in original]

 At 11:44 a.m., five hours and eight minutes after Morrell sent his request, a person whose name is redacted sends an email stating:

You may notify former DDCIA [Deputy Director] Morell.

 At 12:44 p.m. an official whose name is redacted emails Morell:

 Dear Michael,

The Prepublication Classification Review Board completed its review of your article titled “Public Statement on the Hunter Biden Emails.” The Board determined that it contains no classified information and can be published. Agency approval for publication of this material does not represent Agency endorsement or verification of this work.

If you add new material, please resubmit it before sharing, highlighting the new language to expedite our review. The PCRB appreciates your cooperation with prepublication review. You may reach out to us via [redacted] with questions or concerns.

Kind regards, PCRB Staff 

“These documents are astounding. That the CIA would turn around a campaign document like this for Joe Biden’s team in six hours is insane news,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “This seems to be demonstrable campaign interference by the CIA, and that should be alarming to all Americans.” 

Judicial Watch has multiple federal lawsuits focused on Biden family corruption:

In July, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ for records from the Office of the Attorney General and Office of the Deputy Attorney General regarding the Internal Revenue Service investigation of Hunter Biden.

In June 2023, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice for a copy of the FBI FD-1023 form that describes “an alleged criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Biden and a foreign national relating to the exchange of money for policy decisions.” Judicial Watch also asked for communications about the FD-1023.

In May 2023, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit against the National Archives for Biden family records and communications regarding travel and finance transactions, as well as communications between the Bidens and several known business associates.

On October 14, 2022, Judicial Watch sued DOJ for all records in the possession of FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten regarding an August 6, 2020, briefing provided to members of the U.S. Senate. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) raised concerns that the briefing was intended to undermine the senators’ investigation of Hunter Biden.

Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the U.S. State Department on April 20, 2022, for messages sent through the SMART (State Messaging and Archive Retrieval Toolkit) system that mention Hunter Biden.

In December 2020, State Department records obtained through a Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit showed that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch had specifically warned in 2017 about corruption allegations against Burisma Holdings.

In October 2020, Judicial Watch forced the release of State Department records that included a briefing checklist of a February 22, 2019, meeting in Kyiv between then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and Sally Painter, co-founder and chief operating officer of Blue Star Strategies, a Democratic lobbying firm which was hired by Burisma Holdings to combat corruption allegations. At the time of the meeting, Hunter Biden was serving on the board of directors for Burisma Holdings.

EDITORS NOTE: This Judicial Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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