data from aHe left him, the attorney for the owner of a computer repair shop in Delaware says in 2019 — which the store owner later submitted to the FBI under a subpoena — shows no evidence of tampering or fabrication, according to an independent review commissioned by CBS News.
Brian Della Roca, an attorney for the store owner, provided CBS News with what he called a “transcript” of laptop data provided to federal investigators nearly three years ago. Della Roca said he considers it “clean” because it predates versions widely circulated by Republican operatives to attack then-candidate Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
The independent analysis, conducted by two cyber investigators from Minneapolis-based Computer Forensic Services, found no evidence that user data was modified, fabricated, or tampered with. Nor did it find any new files that originated after April 2019, when store records indicated Biden dropped them for repairs.
This digital forensics was conducted because laptop data, as well as bank records, are at the center of a looming Republican-led House investigation into the Biden family businesses.
Some other versions of the laptop data that circulated later appear to have had data added after April 2019, a sign that it could have been tampered with, according to reports in other media outlets, including The Washington Post.
In a statement, Hunter Biden’s attorney said, “There have been multiple attempts to hack, infect, distort and spread misinformation about Mr. Biden’s devices and data.” Attorney Christopher Clark said the Hunter Biden team believes that “there is an ongoing effort to use infected and distorted data to spread disinformation. At no time has any individual…obtained Mr. Biden’s consent to access or share his computer data with others.” “
Clark’s statement did not address questions about the specific data, documents and personal identification analyzed for CBS News’ independent review, or the findings of Computer Forensics Services. Clark also referred to CBS to Hunter Biden’s recent memoir.
After two years of scrutiny, the laptop computer yielded massive amounts of material about Hunter Biden’s personal struggles, and his foreign business ventures in Ukraine and China. It did not provide direct evidence that President Biden profited from his son’s business dealings.
“There’s a huge amount of data that’s built up over time that’s personal in nature. Everything from photos to personal documents to photographs and text messages and emails. And just the sheer volume of what we’re dealing with will be difficult,” said Shawn Lanterman, the company’s director of incident response. If not impossible, make it up.
Lanterman said the data accumulated over time in a way “consistent with normal daily computer use.”
This daily laptop use appears to have come to an abrupt halt in March 2019, according to an audit. That was a few weeks before the computer was brought in for repairs, apparently as a result of liquid damage.
The review uncovered more than 120,000 emails, nearly 30,000 text messages, as well as photos, video, personal identification forms, and voicemail from user profile data.
Mark Lanterman, chief technology officer for Computer Forensic Services, said he thinks it’s clear the data was generated by Hunter Biden.
“I have no doubt that this data was generated by Hunter Biden, and that it came from a computer under Mr. Biden’s control,” he said.
In addition to analyzing the underlying data of the records for potential anomalies, the audit also identified several voicemails apparently from future President Biden.
Mr. Biden said in one message, an apparent reference to Hunter Biden’s own admission of his struggles with drug addiction. “I don’t know what to do. I know you don’t either, but I’m here no matter what you need, no matter what you need, I love you.”
When Republicans gain a majority in the US House of Representatives in January, they promise to focus their investigative powers on Hunter Biden’s business deals. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley alleged last month in a letter to the Attorney General, FBI Director and Delaware State Attorney that Hunter Biden and the President’s brother James “benefited from a $5 million transfer from a company linked to CEFC (China Energy Corporation) in August 2017.”
Republican lawmakers pointed to a particular May 2017 email that promises to be at the center of their congressional investigation.
The email, with the subject line “Expectations,” specifies an “interim agreement” for “equity” in a deal with a Chinese energy company.
Two of Hunter’s former business associates, including Tony Bobulinski who received the e-mail, told CBS News that “10 being held by H for the big guy?” It is an abbreviation for the 10 percent that Hunter keeps for his father.
But when the email became public in 2020, the author, James Gilliar, told the Wall Street Journal that Joe Biden was not involved. Gilliar did not respond to questions from CBS News.
Bobulinski had fallen out with Hunter Biden, and was critical of the president and his son. His appearance and interview on Fox News followed initial reports in the New York Post about the laptop. While Republicans — including then-President Donald Trump and allies like Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani — defended the Post’s reporting, then-candidate Joe Biden called it disinformation and a “Russian factory.”
The president also said he “never spoke to my son about his business dealings abroad. “
The White House declined to comment on the contents of the computer and Bobulinski’s allegations.
“They’re going to look at every part of the Joe Biden administration,” said Republican strategist Doug Hay. “A lot of this will also be aggressive on Hunter specifically. We’ll be hearing a lot more about the laptop.”
Heye said he expected the congressional investigation to consider “Who benefited? Was the law broken? Wasn’t it broken? Were there serious national security issues?”
“And then there’s the political aspect, you can never separate the two,” Hay said. “If there’s filth, it will smudge it. If not, these attacks can backfire.”