Fake security analyst peddles Hunter Biden intelligence report

Occurred: November 2020

A fake 64-page report attempting to smear President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden by asserting a conspiracy theory involving his business dealings in China prompted right-wing US politicians and commentators to accuse Biden of corruption. 

President Biden was also accused of being too soft on the Chinese Communist Party. 

According to disinformation researchers and commentators, the report appeared to be the work of 'Martin Aspen', a fake Swiss security analyst whose profile picture had been created with an AI face generator. Aspen reputedly worked for Typhoon Investigations, a fake 'intelligence firm'.

The report was published on Intelligence Quarterly, an anonymous blog, by Fulbright University Vietnam professor Christopher Balding. Balding later admitted that Aspen was 'an entirely fictional individual' and that he had 'authored small parts of the report'. He also said the report had been commissioned by Hong Kong tabloid Apple Daily, a claim that was later denied by the newspaper.

System 🤖

Operator: Intelligence Quarterly
Developer: Apple Daily; Christopher Balding

Country: USA

Sector: Politics

Purpose: Sow distrust

Technology: Deepfake - video; Generative adversarial network (GAN); Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning
Issue: Mis/disinformation; Ethics

Transparency: Governance; Marketing