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House Republican calls on ‘The 51’ to be prosecuted for alleged Hunter Biden laptop cover-up

Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., took aim at a group of intelligence officials responsible for signing a letter that sought to discredit the Hunter Biden laptop story on the eve of the 2020 election.

‘The 51 should all be prosecuted for knowingly pushing a false statement,’ Tenney said in a post on X Sunday. ‘See 18 U.S.C. § 1001, it’s a felony crime to: make a ‘false statement’ to an agent of the federal government related to a federal matter.’

‘The 51’ in Tenney’s post refers to 51 former top intel officials who signed on to a letter claiming that the laptop at the center of a New York Post report just weeks before the 2020 election bore all the hallmarks of a Russian disinformation campaign, a document that was later used by President Biden to shrug off concerns over the device in a debate with former President Trump. It was later revealed that the laptop was real, even eventually being entered as evidence in Hunter Biden’s federal gun trial.

In the wake of that trial, Fox News Digital reached out to all 51 individuals who signed the October 2020 letter to ask if they regretted signing it after it was revealed to be authentic.

‘No,’ former Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said.

‘This is very old news,’ Greg Treverton, a signatory who previously served as chair of the National Intelligence Council, told Fox News Digital. ‘’What we said was true, we were inferring from our experience, and it did look like a Russian operation. We didn’t, and couldn’t of course say it was a Russian operation. Enough said.’

Meanwhile, an attorney for signatories Ronald Marks, Marc Polymeropoulos, Douglas Wise, Paul Kolbe, John Sipher, Emile Nakhleh and Gerald O’Shea provided Fox News Digital with a statement that claimed signing the letter was a ‘patriotic’ move by his clients.

‘A careful and objective reading of the document reflects that even today its content is accurate,’ the attorney, Mark S. Zaid, said. ‘It served as nothing more than a warning letter of what we have known for decades: certain foreign governments – including Russia – continue to try and actively interfere in our domestic affairs and our guard must remain vigilant. Every patriotic American should have signed that letter.’

But Tenney shared a different view, arguing that the 51 should be prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. § 1001, which states that anyone ‘within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States’ who ‘falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact,’ or ‘makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation,’ or ‘makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry’ could face fines or a prison sentence of up to five years.

Tenney’s office did not immediately respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment.

Former CIA Director and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, former CIA Director Michael Hayden, former Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper, former National Intelligence Council Chair Thomas Fingar, former National Security Agency Deputy Director Rick Legett, former CIA acting Director John McLaughlin, former CIA acting Director Michael Morell, former Defense Undersecretary for Intelligence Mike Vickers, former Defense Intelligence Agency Deputy Director Doug Wise, former National Counterterrorism Center Director Nick Rasmussen, former National Counterterrorism Center acting Director Russ Travers, former National Counterterrorism Center Deputy Director Andy Liepman, former CIA chief of staff John Moseman, former CIA chief of staff Larry Pfeiffer, former CIA chief of staff Jeremy Bash, former National Security Agency general counsel Glenn Gerstell, former CIA chief of staff Rodney Snyder, former CIA analyst and manager David Priess, former CIA Deputy Director of Analysis Pam Purcilly, former CIA senior operations officer Marc Polymeropoulos, former CIA senior intelligence officer Chris Savos, former CIA senior intelligence officer John Tullius, former CIA senior intelligence officer David A. Vanell, former CIA senior operations officer Kristin Wood, former CIA inspector general David Buckley, former CIA analyst and targeting officer Nada Bakos, former CIA senior intelligence officer Patty Brandmaier, former CIA senior intelligence officer James B. Bruce, former CIA intelligence analyst David Cariens, former CIA operational support officer Janice Cariens, former CIA senior operations officer Paul Kolbe, former CIA analyst Peter Corsell, former CIA senior intelligence officer Brett Davis, former national intelligence officer Roger Zane George, former CIA senior intelligence officer Steven L. Hall, former national intelligence officer Kent Harrington, former national security executive Don Hepburn, former dean of CIA’s Kent School of Intelligence Analysis Timothy D. Kilbourn, former CIA officer Ron Marks, former CIA technical operations officer Jonna Hiestand Mendez, former director of CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program Emile Nakhleh, former CIA senior operations officer Gerald A. O’Shea, former CIA deputy chief of staff Nick Shapiro, former CIA senior operations officer John Sipher, former National Security Council senior director for intelligence programs Stephen Slick, former CIA deputy assistant director for global issues Cynthia Strand, former CIA Deputy Executive Director Greg Tarbell, former National Intelligence Collection Board Chairman David Terry, former National Intelligence Council Chair Greg Treverton, and former CIA director of analysis Winston Wiley.

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