The Washington Examiner’s
laptop saga marks a giant leap in the public’s understanding of a significant story of national import. A story that was reprehensibly suppressed in the run-up to the
For one thing, the Washington Examiner has put to rest the risible claims that the laptop’s digital contents are not authentic. Plainly, the contents were produced by Biden’s operation of the laptop and nothing else. An exacting technical analysis performed by a highly qualified expert, retained by the Washington Examiner based on his decades of government and private work in the field, confirms what has been patent since the laptop emerged as a public controversy in the weeks just prior to the 2020 election: The laptop belonged to Hunter Biden.
HUNTER BIDEN’S LAPTOP IS 100% AUTHENTIC, FORENSIC EXAMINATION CONCLUDES
The thousands of emails, memos, ledgers, and photos contained on the laptop were generated by his use of it. To have suggested the laptop’s contents were the result of a hack, a plant, or (most preposterously, Russian intelligence service disinformation) was grossly irresponsible. There was scant evidence that the information could have been fabricated, in comparison to overwhelming evidence that the information, though startling in many particulars, was what one would reasonably have expected to find on a Hunter Biden laptop. Expected to find, that is, given the younger Biden’s notoriously shady foreign business entanglements, his network of family and friends, his history of trading on his father’s political influence, and his demons.
Contrary to what the public was told, it is not difficult to authenticate evidence for purposes of use in court. The rules of evidence indulge a presumption in favor of the admissibility of probative evidence. If an item appears to be what the proponent represents it to be, the rules provide for its admission into the evidentiary record even if there are gaps in the chain of custody or other indications of possible irregularities. Our law’s theory is that such questions go to the weight of the evidence, not its admissibility. The party against whom the evidence is admitted gets to demonstrate any weaknesses through cross-examination; the jury or court then decides how much credibility and significance to attribute to the item. Hunter Biden’s laptop always appeared to be what its proponents claimed it was: Hunter Biden’s laptop.
Even before the Washington Examiner’s analysis, there was a plausible account of how the laptop came to be left at a repair shop. There was the revelation of numerous emails that appeared, in context, to relate to independently verifiable transactions. There were emails and memos that similarly related to independently verifiable personal associations and events. There were photographs that appeared to be of a personal nature. There were witnesses who authenticated key documents. And perhaps most telling of all: There was no detailed denial from President Joe Biden’s campaign or Hunter Biden himself — the parties in the best position to cry foul if the materials published by the
New York Post
had been corruptly manufactured.
When a question emerged about whether Joe Biden, as vice president, had met with one of Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian business associates, campaign officials said they would need to check the former vice president’s calendar — they didn’t deny that it could have happened or claim the relevant laptop file was a fabrication. And Hunter Biden’s latest position is that the laptop information “absolutely” could be his. Now, we finally have an analysis that makes what was already obvious indisputable. This forensic analysis combines standard, technical DKIM analysis with so-called “digital sandwiching.” The latter is a not-so-fancy term for placing things in their factual context. While the analysis is an impressive piece of work, we are not talking rocket science here. This sort of “sandwiching” is what all of us do when questions arise about the reliability of information: We place the information in its time (relative to events that happened before and after), we assess how the information stacks up against other independently verifiable facts, and we determine whether the people involved were in a position (and had logical reason) to say and do what is reflected in the information.
Because it applies this commonsense approach methodically to the thousands of files on the laptop, the analysis enables us to say with confidence that the laptop’s contents would be admitted as evidence by any competent judge in the United States. The authenticity of the laptop should never have been a serious issue. That is why legacy media outlets suppressed the laptop. They knew they could not establish its falsity because it wasn’t false. That former government national security officials would exploit their expert credentials in a blatantly politicized effort to discredit information that was not suspect, but that stood to harm the Biden campaign, goes far in explaining why public confidence in our intelligence services has never been lower.
There are many alarming facets of the laptop’s contents. Some are already known. Some are only now emerging. But the first order of business in any fact-finding endeavor is to authenticate the source of one’s information. The laptop is authentic.
Andrew C. McCarthy is a contributing editor at National Review and a former federal prosecutor.