The national story quickly focused on the dubious origin of the material, especially seeing how, four years earlier, WikiLeaks had begun releasing material stolen by Russian hackers at about the same point in the presidential contest. But for news outlets interested in actually evaluating what the New York Post claimed it had, neither the paper nor the source for the material, President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani were willing to share. (Giuliani told the New York Times he had hoped mije have examined the material before it was published.) It therefore seemed prudent to treat the claims of the New York Post with some skepticism.
Now, a new voice has joined in raising those questions about the validity of the material that would have been on Hunter Biden’s laptop: the man who restored that data in the first place.
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Last month, The Washington Post was able to publish a report based on a copy of material we received from a Republican activist named Jack Maxey who had received it from Giuliani. We had several experts examine the contents of a hard drive that claimed to contain the contents of the laptop, and validated tens of thousands of emails as likely to be legitimate. But an enormous amount of the material at the station could not be validated as legitimate, in part because of the game of telephone that the material had undergone by the time it reached us. (The report notes that efforts to obtain the material by 2020 were rejected.)
“The experts found that the data had been accessed and copied several times over almost three years by people other than Hunter Biden,” our report explained, with those we spoke to not being able to reach definitive conclusions about the content as a whole, including whether all of it originated from a single computer or could be compiled from files from multiple computers and placed on the portable drive.
,[An expert] also found records at the station indicating that someone could access the station from a location on the West Coast in October 2020, a little over a week after the first New York Post stories on Hunter Biden’s laptop appeared.
“In the coming days, someone created three additional folders on the drive, titled ‘Mail,’ ‘Salacious Pics Package,’ and ‘Big Guy File’ – an apparent reference to Joe Biden.
One expert compared it to a crime scene littered with fast-food wrappers thanks to the first police officer who came on the scene. That’s meant as an indictment, but it’s also generous. The first people on the scene were not police, in this case; they were (to expand the analogy) people who intended to get a charge against a particular person.
There’s still an unlittered crime. The owner of the store where Hunter Biden would leave his laptop for repairs three years ago handed over the computer to the FBI when he filed a lawsuit to do so. In an interview with the right-wing media “Real America’s Voice”, the owner, John Paul Mac Isaac, explained how elated he was when the FBI arrived to retrieve the laptop.
“I thought everything was great when they took it,” he said, “because that was what I wanted all the time was just to get this game out of my store, to have the FBI – to have a paper trail that gave me something. provided protection, both physically and legally. “
This was a theme of the interview, as it has done in previous interviews with Mac Isaac: his claim that he thought he was somehow endangered by having the laptop in his possession. If you’re wondering how he was then able to pass the material on to Giuliani, the answer is that he still kept a copy of the material from the laptop “in case he was ever thrown under the bus as a result of what he knew, “his lawyer told The Washington Post. In this particular story, this is low on the scale of things that don’t quite make sense.
It’s important to explain how Mac Isaac made the backup in the first place. The laptop he was given was locked several times while he was trying to recover the data. So, instead of just copying the entire hard drive to another device, he did so secretly, copying individual files and folders one by one. In doing so, he claims to have seen material he found alarming.
“I saw some content that was disturbing and then also raised some red flags,” Mac Isaac explained to “Real America’s Voice.” Later asked to explain what had alarmed him, he said he “saw crime … related to foreign business dealings, to possible money laundering and, more importantly, problems and concerns about national security.” That, he explained, was “what caused me to take a deep dive into the laptop when it became my property.”
Here, again, the timeline is questionable. Delaware law states that he may take over ownership of the laptop after one year. But he got the laptop in April 2019 (at the same time that conservative media started focusing on Hunter Biden’s relationship with a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma) and gave it to the FBI that December. He said he was warned by the failure of the laptop to arrive during Trump’s first impeachment investigation. That attempt ended in February 2020, before a year had passed.
What Mac Isaac next said, however, is what was most notable. When he did his “deep dive,” he said, “he saw a lot of pictures” – but “did not see many pictures that are reported to [have been] seen. “
“I do know that over the past year and a half there have been several attempts to insert dubious material into the laptop as in, not physically, but to pass on this incorrect information or disinformation as from the laptop,” he said. “And that’s a big concern of mine, because I have fought with teeth and glands to protect the integrity of this drive and to jeopardize that will mean that everything I sacrifice will be for nothing.”
In other words, Mac Isaac says he has seen claims about what the laptop contains that do not really reflect what he saw on the laptop at the outlet. Or, after all, looks now, as one of the few people who might still have an unlittered copy of its contents.
What is he referring to? It’s hard to say. It may include one of the most popular claims circulated on the right, claiming that the machine contained evidence of criminal sexual activity by Hunter Biden. (this was sabeare on-air by Tucker Carlson last year, without proof.) Or it may contain other claims altogether.
This is where The Washington Post’s discovery that folders were added becomes more important. We have evidence that the portable hard drive added something to it, both before and after the original story of the New York Post – and here Mac Isaac agrees that some of what he saw presented as from the laptop never on it stie. This is why origin is important in journalistic research. Just because Rudy Giuliani says that material came from a hard disk, there is no reason to assume that it did – especially if he is on record as disregarding the idea that the material should be checked before it is reported.
Hunter Biden remains under federal investigation for possible violations of tax law. The material on the laptop (assuming the laptop itself is Biden’s, which is also not fully established) may play a role in determining his guilt or innocence. But the mythical contents of the laptop that have been so fascinating to the right for the past 18 months are – at least sometimes – unproven that.
If you do not want to take the word of the mainstream media, take Mac Isaac’s.