NEW YORK (KXAN) — Questions about credibility surrounded the publication of a story alleging claims that a laptop belonging to Joe Biden’s son Hunter proved shady dealings with foreign countries.
The claims made in the article, titled “BIDEN SECRET E-MAILS,” allege that Joe and Hunter Biden profited from deals in the Ukraine while Joe Biden was vice president, according to the New York Times. The New York Times reports that the Post based its story around photos and documents claiming to be from the laptop of Hunter Biden.
But two employees of the tabloid say the staff writer who wrote the story refused to put his name on it because he had doubts about the credibility of the claims.
Additionally, the Times says other Post staff members weren’t sure the paper did enough to verify claims — in addition to having doubts on the reliability of sources.
Sources that were named in the article were Pres. Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon and Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Bannon, who was arrested in August on charges claiming he ripped off fundraising donors, reportedly flagged the laptop’s contents to the Post last month, the NYT reports.
Giuliani, meanwhile, is said to have given “a copy” of the laptop contents to The NY Post on Oct. 11, according to the Times.
Two writers with The Post report that after the “BIDEN SECRET E-MAILS” article was written, editors pressed staff to put their names on it, but many refused out of fear over its possibly questionable content — in addition to possible legal ramifications.
Several outlets have independently tried to verify The Post’s claims, including the New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, but as of Wednesday they have not been able to do so.
On Monday, National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe said on Fox Business Channel that there’s no data to support that the reported laptop information is part of a “Russian disinformation campaign.” Ratcliffe did not, however, verify any part of the claims.
Meanwhile, the FBI also has not verified the claims and says it has “nothing to add” to Ratcliffe’s comments. They bureau says it will be in touch with the DNI should “actionable intelligence” arise related to the claims.
Despite the clamor surrounding the article, The New York Post is standing by its publication, saying in a statement: “The story was vetted and The Post stands by its reporting.”
The New York Post, which is considered to be a tabloid (both by other outlets and the Post itself), is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Fox News — both the Post and Fox News are also considered to be right-wing-leaning.
Giuliani told The Times that he chose to take the story to The New York Post because “either nobody else would take it, or if they took it, they would spend all the time they could to try to contradict it before they put it out.”
The source and timing of the article, The Times says, also raise questions for some, with little over two weeks to go before the Presidential Election.
After the article was released, Facebook and Twitter limited the spread of the story and its claims due to concerns over misinformation. The move sparked discussion over censorship. Twitter said that the article violated its policy against possibly hacked materials, while Facebook said it would wait until the claims could be verified to allow it to be shared any more.