Bo Dietl, the bombastic private investigator, was on a mission. Unfortunately for him, the Amtrak announcer wouldn’t shut up about passengers putting on their masks.
“This fucking guy wants to be an actor,” Dietl grumbled as his Acela train idled in New York’s Penn Station on Thursday morning.
The former NYPD detective turned eccentric media personality was on his way to Washington to meet with one of the largest financial whistleblowers of all time. And he was eager to preview the dirt he hoped to get: information on former Vice President Joe Biden’s youngest son Hunter that had allegedly been obtained through a laptop computer and journal that the younger Biden had left at the Massachusetts home of his one-time shrink, a disgraced former Fox News pop-psychiatrist who recently had his medical license revoked and his office raided by federal agents.
Riding along the rails on his way to D.C., Dietl told The Daily Beast that he’d been clued into the Biden saga by his longtime friend and associate, Rudy Giuliani. The former New York mayor and personal attorney to President Donald Trump had obtained three hard drives from computers ostensibly belonging to Hunter Biden, which he said contained evidence that Biden had tried to use his father’s position to secure lucrative business deals abroad.
Dietl believed this was a bombshell. But, even worse, he claimed that the hard drives contained compromising images of underage women—an allegation that Giuliani himself had made, but for which he’s so far provided no evidence. “I saw one picture of a young girl, 14 years old. It was a very not nice picture of the young lady,” Dietl said. Asked how he knew her age, he said, “She looked 14, definitely was a child.”
Why Dietl is involved in this at all is not entirely clear. He’s known Giuliani for years, and says they were working together on a separate project when Giuliani stumbled on these alleged Hunter Biden hard drives. And so, he’s now providing help, joining what has become a makeshift team of investigators, cynical political operatives, and loyal Trump boosters who have latched on to the Hunter Biden saga as the miracle cure for the president’s re-election woes.
Among this motley crew, according to Dietl, is Bernie Kerik. The former NYPD commissioner, he said, was with Giuliani when Giuliani traveled to Wilmington, Delaware to obtain the hard drives from a computer repair shop.
“Bobby Costello, he’s been involved with us also,” said Dietl, referring to the white shoe attorney whom Giuliani hired last year to fend off investigations into his suspect business dealings and conduct efforts to dig up dirt on the Bidens in Ukraine.
In the days since the existence of that laptop was first announced, its contents have become fodder for countless stories about the younger Biden’s business ventures overseas, along with speculation and insinuation that the elder Biden was aware of it and, perhaps, profiting off of it. The latter point was disputed on Thursday night by the Wall Street Journal—one of the outlets that got a copy of Biden’s emails and reported that there was no evidence that the former VP profited from the overseas transactions.
But at the same time that the paper was working on its story, Dietl was working on another source of potentially incriminating information on Hunter Biden. He was headed to Washington, he said, to meet with Bradley Birkenfeld, a Boston-area native who now lives in Malta. A former executive at Swiss banking giant UBS, Birkenfeld until recently held the record for the largest financial award given to a whistleblower; the IRS gave him $104 million in 2012 after he exposed a massive international tax evasion scheme.
“He’s the top whistleblower guy,” Dietl said.
Birkenfeld was in D.C. to promote his new book, Lucifer’s Banker Uncensored, a follow-up to his 2016 debut, Lucifer’s Banker. At 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dietl and about two dozen others—not a single one wearing a protective face mask—gathered at the Capitol Hill Club, a restaurant and event space owned by and adjacent to the headquarters of the Republican National Committee.
Guests mingled at an open bar, drinking mid-shelf liquor and a sparse selection of beers and wines. The crowd skewed older, and included some other notable names in addition to Dietl. Also in attendance was John Kiriakou, the former CIA officer who served prison time after revealing details of the CIA’s torture program.
But the star of the evening was Birkenfeld, and at the pre-event reception the modest crowd buzzed about the information he’d apparently gathered on Trump’s political adversaries. Of his new book’s 332 pages, just two contained details about Hunter Biden. But Birkenfeld appeared to recognize what the audience wanted to hear. And so, he kicked off his event with a yarn about the former vice president’s son.
The story, Birkenfeld said, started when he got a call from a friend in Boston, in October 2019. The friend, a corporate legal consultant and Forbes columnist named Walt Pavlo, wanted to tell him about a psychiatrist named Keith Ablow.
(An aside here: Cable news watchers likely know Ablow well. He is a former Fox News contributor, where he frequently opined on the mental health of various public figures. Way ahead of his time, he accused Joe Biden of having dementia after the 2012 vice presidential debate.)
At the time Pavlo placed his call to Birkenfeld, Ablow had just settled lawsuits from three former patients who accused him of sexual misconduct, allegations that Ablow flatly denied. He’d also just had his medical license suspended by a state medical board in Massachusetts, which called him “an immediate and serious threat to the public health, safety and welfare.”
But that wasn’t what Pavlo wanted to discuss. Instead, he told Birkenfeld that a friend of his had informed him that Hunter Biden had actually lived with Ablow for three months during the summer of 2018. During that time, Pavlo claimed, Biden had been Ablow’s patient, and had told him about many of the same business dealings during the Obama administration that are now at the center of Team Trump’s allegations against the Biden family.
“He had information about money laundering and tax evasion,” Birkenfeld said of Ablow at Thursday’s event. To bolster his point, Birkenfeld’s book even included a photo of Ablow and Biden together, which it says was taken in the town of Newburyport, Massachusetts, where Ablow lives and works. The photo is credited to Pavlo.
At this point, Birkenfield’s story catches up to current events. In a now-familiar refrain, he says Pavlo told him that Hunter Biden had left a laptop and a journal at Ablow’s home. “This was potentially bombshell stuff,” Birkenfeld writes in his new book. He said he and Pavlo tried to arrange a number of meetings with Ablow, but Ablow kept standing them up. After consulting with Dietl—whom Birkenfeld referred to as “my friend” on Thursday—he and Pavlo decided to simply show up at Ablow’s home. In December 2019, they knocked on his door and proceeded to talk with him for about an hour.
Birkenfeld says that he tried to encourage Ablow to give the material in his possession to law enforcement, but to no avail. So Birkenfeld decided to take the initiative himself. On Feb. 11, he says, he traveled to Washington D.C. and met with two investigators for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, whom Birkenfeld understood was investigating Hunter Biden allegations at the time.
Birkenfeld says he told the investigators that they should subpoena the records from Ablow as part of their investigation. But, three days later, the Drug Enforcement Administration raided Ablow’s office and, according to contemporaneous news reports, hauled off computers and paperwork (Ablow has not been charged with a crime).
And here’s the rub: Birkenfeld says those materials included Biden’s laptop and journal. In his book, he suggests that the raid may have been an effort to keep the material from being exposed.
At this point, Birkenfeld seemed to recognize how surreal this all sounds: that Hunter Biden would not only professionally see but live with a psychiatrist in a state hundreds of miles from his home—a psychiatrist who accused his dad of having dementia—that he confided intricate details of international corruption during these therapy sessions, that he would leave YET ANOTHER LAPTOP at this TV doctor’s residence; and that the DEA would surreptitiously seize that laptop right when Senate investigators were swarming.
“I’m not a Deep State conspiracy nut, but draw your own conclusions,” Birkenfeld writes in his book. “I tried to warn Ablow that it would go down that way.”
He expanded on that during his remarks on Thursday. “Why did they raid his home? Don’t know,” he said. “Someone said because I went to Grassley’s team. Maybe. Someone’s tapping my phones? CIA? NSA? Knuckleheads? Who knows.”
The Daily Beast tried to confirm details of the story on Ablow’s end. Reached by phone on Thursday, he said he was not talking to the press and quickly hung up. A Grassley spokesperson, likewise, did not respond to a request for comment on Birkenfeld’s account of events.
But according to Pavlo, who briefly spoke with The Daily Beast after the event on Thursday, Ablow himself has shared his story with the New York Post, which first published details from the hard drives that Giuliani obtained in Wilmington. Pavlo said he spoke with the Post as well.
By the end of Birkenfeld’s discussion, it was clear where his electoral sympathies were. “I think Donald Trump, like me, is a whistleblower,” he said. The crowd picked up on the like mind at the front of the room, and began picking his brain on—what they saw as—the potentially apocalyptic situation facing the country in November.
If Donald Trump prevails next week, one questioner at the event declared, “It’s going to be war. And we’ve got to be ready for it.” Not with violence, he quickly added. ”I’m sure everybody in the room has armed themselves and turned us into murderers when they come for us,” he said, declining to specify who “they” are. But “that’s not the answer at all… We have to be tremendously active” politically, he said.
For Dietl, the stakes are not quite so dramatic, but just as imminent. If Trump is defeated next month, he said, the story he and Giuliani and Birkenfeld are trying to get out there may never see the light of day.
“If Biden gets elected, all this stuff gets quashed,” he predicted. “Even if you don’t like Donald Trump… we know what we got. He doesn’t have the greatest personality in the world, but we know what we got.”
When Thursday’s event wrapped up, about an hour or so before the start of the final presidential debate, Dietl and other attendees decamped to the only proper place for a group of committed conservatives to watch the president take on the deep state: the Trump International Hotel.