DOJ Withholds Biden Interview Audio, Citing AI Manipulation Concerns


The Department of Justice is withholding President Joe Biden’s interview audio with former special counsel Robert Hur due to fears of alteration by artificial intelligence, according to a court filing.

CNN, the Heritage Foundation, and Judicial Watch, among others, have been denied Freedom of Information Act requests for the audio and have consequently filed suit against the Justice Department. In response, the department issued a court filing on Friday night to clarify its refusal to release the audio from Hur’s interview with Biden.

“Disclosure of that record is unwarranted,” the filing states. “The release of the audio recording would threaten critical law enforcement interests by discouraging the potential cooperation of witnesses in current and future sensitive investigations. Additionally, disclosure would represent a significant invasion of privacy. … These privacy harms are heightened by the increased threat of malicious manipulation of audio files.”

Deepfake audio can be created using the extensive catalogs of content that public figures have featuring their voices. Deepfakes could also involve slowing down audio or removing words to distort the intended message of the speaker.

According to the department, public awareness that the audio has been released would encourage malicious actors to create distorted audio clips. Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer provided an affidavit to explain his concerns about releasing the audio.

“If the audio recording in question were released, it would worsen the aforementioned concerns by showing future witnesses that interview recordings may be released (and thus become highly public) even for investigations that do not result in criminal charges,” Weinsheimer wrote.

Biden’s competence was questioned by Hur, who described the president as “an elderly man with a poor memory.” Hur’s office interviewed Biden last year but determined he did not have a “mental state of willfulness,” and hence, he was not charged over his handling of classified documents because “it would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him.”

Hur left his role as special counsel with the department in March. Just before resigning, he addressed the House Judiciary Committee about his interview. This committee and the House Oversight Committee have since issued subpoenas for the audio, which have remained unanswered.

Jenny Goldsberry
Jenny Goldsberry
Jenny Goldsberry covers social media and trending news. She’s a 2020 Brigham Young University graduate with a major in communications and minor in Japanese. She was born in Utah and has previous newsroom experience at the Salt Lake Tribune and Utah’s NPR station.

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