On an unspecified date in September 2020, about a month before the Hunter Biden laptop story, high-ranking social media representatives and journalists participated in a training exercise to prepare for a possible data leak about the Bidens, according to the Daily Caller and journalist Michael Shellenberger.
Organized by the Aspen Institute, a left-wing think tank that took in over $160 million in 2019, media outlets and social media companies took part in the “tabletop exercise” referring to a “hack-and-dump” operation that was titled “The Burisma Leak.”
“Relating to Hunter Biden … the goal was to shape how the media covered it — and how social media carried it,” said Shellenberger.
The exercise detailed potential daily news breaks, such as leak posted by a hypothetical website called BidenCrimes.info. Each subsequent hypothetical news story is detailed with examples from the Drudge Report or Fox & Friends, mockingly stating that they picked up a story from a user named “@HunterLolz.”
On day four of the hypothetical story, “President Trump, at podium, pumps his fist as the crowd chants ‘Lock Him Up!'” the story reads.
On day five, a hypothetical statement from the director of national intelligence states that he has no reason to believe the story is a forgery or Russian disinformation, with Biden dismissing the story on day seven as “dirty tricks by Vladimir Putin.”
Other hypotheticals are eerily close to actual events, such as two “former senior intelligence” officials disagreeing with the intelligence director’s statement. The exercise carries on all the way up to and through the second presidential debate.
Attending the exercise and leading the meeting was Vivian Schiller, the former CEO of NPR and head of news at Twitter. She was joined by Yoel Roth, Twitter “Head of Site Integrity,” the head of security policy at Facebook/Meta, national security reporters from the New York Times and Washington Post, and even the now-defunct, Soros-backed First Draft News.
The about page for First Draft News describes itself as a fact-checking organization, while its Wikipedia page mentions its ties to Soros’ Open Society Foundation.
— Michael Shellenberger (@Michael Shellenberger)
The event took place just about a month before the October 2020 Hunter Biden story by the New York Post, in which Joe Biden is alleged to have met with Burisma executives, contradicting his prior claims. Another email details a Burisma executive asking for advice on how to stop “politically motivated actions” against the company.
The Aspen Institute, funded in part by the Rockefeller Foundation, also runs an anti-disinformation project called the Commission on Information Disorder.