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CIA admits some ‘Spies Who Lie’ were active contractors — as records show internal fear of ‘long run’ harm of letter

WASHINGTON — Among the 51 “lying agents” was a current CIA contractor who claimed files on Hunter Biden’s laptop had “classic hallmarks” of Russian disinformation ahead of the 2020 election, sparking concern within the agency at the time, according to new records obtained by The Washington Post.

Former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell, who previously testified to Congress that he engineered the Oct. 19, 2020, letter to give Joe Biden a “talking point” ahead of a debate with then-President Donald Trump, was a contract employee at the time, the agency recently acknowledged to Congress.

Former CIA Inspector General David Buckley was also a contractor at the time of the letter, according to interim reports from two House committees investigating the matter.

Records indicate that at least two other signatories may have had valid contracts in place at the time.

The terms of their contracts or their compensation were not immediately clear, and the House committee believes the additional signatories may have been contractors, even though the letter described them as “former” public officials.

“This frustrates me. I don’t think it’s beneficial to the CIA in the long run,” a CIA official who declined to be identified said on Oct. 20, 2020. The letter was distributed to Politico. — with a link to the outlet’s article.

“I also like that at least some of the randomly selected signatures are from individuals currently working here under contract…” responded another official, who also asked not to be named.

While the federal Hatch Act bars most employees of the CIA and other intelligence agencies from participating in partisan political activity, the status for contractors is murkier.

The CIA suggested that Morell and Buckley were contractors in a statement that specified that no such arrangement existed with former CIA Director John Brennan and letter signatories Nick Rasmussen and Mark Polymeropoulos.

A separate table provided by officials showing which employees had either badge clearance or contracts at the time suggests that at least three other signatories had formal ties to the company.

The table also shows that Morell’s contract expired sometime after Oct. 19, 2020, and that he entered into a new contract as an “independent contractor” on May 1, 2021, although the financial element was unclear as the relationship was said to include “unpaid senior advisory services.”

Blue and white card with text

Jeremy Bash, a colleague of Mr Morrell’s at Beacon Global Strategies, who also signed the letter, is identified in the second table as an “independent contractor”, working as a “contractor/green badge” holder from 2 April 2019 to 1 April 2022, with a short period from August 2022 before receiving a new contract.

Another signatory, former deputy director of the National Security Agency, Richard Leggett, was listed as holding a similar position at the time of the letter.

The revelations are contained in interim reports by the House Intelligence Committee and the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Federal Weaponization, which also reveal that then-CIA Director Gina Haspel likely knew about the letter when it was submitted for review.

“The new information contained in this report, based on new testimony and declassified documents, illustrates the potential dangers of a politicized intelligence community,” the House committee’s interim report said.

“Some of the signatories to the statement were on the CIA’s payroll as contractors at the time and had special access to CIA facilities.

“Even Michael Morell, before the committee learned of the CIA contract, acknowledged that ‘it is inappropriate for serving staff or contractors to be involved in the political process.'”

“Due to operational concerns, the CIA declined to declassify all of the contract signatories,” the report said.

During the second and final debate with Trump in the 2020 presidential election, then-candidate Biden used a letter from an intelligence alumnus to falsely claim that a Washington Post report about Biden’s role in his family’s international business dealings was a “Russian agent” and “bullshit.”

“Fifty former national intelligence officials have accused Trump of being a Russian agent,” Biden said of Trump. “Five former CIA directors from both parties say what he’s saying is bullshit. No one believes him except his good friend Rudy Giuliani.”

Morell testified before Congress last year that the letter was prompted by a call he received from Antony Blinken, a longtime Biden adviser and future secretary of state.

The Post’s explosive story, first published five days before the letter to the 51 people was made public, revealed that Vadym Pozharsky, an executive at the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, had emailed Hunter in 2015 to thank him for giving him “the opportunity to meet his father” — a direct contradiction to Biden’s statements. 2019 billing He said he had “never discussed” any “overseas business dealings” with his son.

The Biden campaign vaguely denied that the meeting took place, but subsequent reports corroborated key details, including the fact that Joe Biden had attended a dinner in Washington, DC, in 2015, one day before the Burisma executive’s email. Also in attendance were members of Biden’s son’s inner circle, including Pozharsky and a trio from Kazakhstan who were photographed with the Bidens.

Hunter served on the board of directors of Burisma from 2014 to 2019, when his father was leading the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy, earning up to $1 million a year.

A second shocking story, published in October 2020 by The Washington Post, came out four days before the spy’s statement and described interactions between Hunter Biden and his uncle, Jim Biden, regarding a business venture with CEFC China Energy, a Chinese state-owned company that was allegedly a key part of Beijing’s “Belt and Road” foreign influence campaign and is now bankrupt.

A May 13, 2017 laptop email said a “tycoon” would get 10% of the CEFC deal, and former Biden family associate Rob Walker testified before Congress that Joe Biden had met with the company’s chairman, Ye Jianming, before the money started flowing earlier that year.

The CIA did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday, and The Washington Post was unable to immediately reach Morrell and Buckley.