Just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, Twitter and other social media companies censored reports about Hunter Biden's laptop on the grounds that it was Russian misinformation.
While even the Washington Post eventually admitted that this claim was itself an example of misinformation, one former CIA director says he has no regrets about spreading it.
The Federalist noted in an article published on Monday that Leon Panetta both headed the CIA and served as secretary of defense under President Barack Obama.
Panetta was also one of 51 former high-ranking U.S. intelligence officials who signed a letter in which they declared that the laptop story had "all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation."
"If we are right this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this," they wrote.
Yet as Federalist contributor Joy Pullman pointed out, it was actually the letter and accompanying censorship that appears to have affected the election's outcome.
Pullman linked to a poll conducted among voters in the seven swing states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The survey found that roughly one in six of those who cast their ballot for Biden would have voted differently had they been better informed about allegations involving his family.
Yet despite those facts, Panetta told Fox News host Bret Bayer this past weekend that he doesn't "regret anything" about helping to suppress the information.
Former CIA Director Leon Panetta said he still believes Hunter Biden's laptop was Russian disinformation and does not regret signing the "intelligence letter":
Host Bayer: “You don’t think it was real?”
Panetta: 'I think there's misinformation involved'
Bayer: “You don’t… pic.twitter.com/tL1h4pZrzh
— Zlatti71 (@djuric_zlatko) October 15, 2023
"Well, Bret, look, I was extremely concerned about, uh, Russian, uh, interference and misinformation," Panetta told Bayer.
"And we all know intelligence agencies discovered that Russia had continued to push disinformation across the board," he continued.
"And my concern was to kind of alert the public to be aware that these disinformation efforts went on," the former CIA chief went on to insist.
Incredibly, Panetta went on to declare that he hasn't "seen any evidence from any intelligence agency that that was not the case."