Fact Check

Have Contents of 'Ashley Biden's Diary' Been Verified?

The existence of a diary and the authenticity of purported facsimiles of a diary are two entirely different questions.

Published April 5, 2024

Updated May 14, 2024
 (Twitter / Getty Images)
Image courtesy of Twitter / Getty Images
Claim:
A diary authored by U.S. President Joe Biden's daughter, Ashley Biden, describes showers taken with her father when she was a child as "probably not appropriate."

Note: On April 29, 2024, Snopes changed the rating of this fact check from "Unproven" to "True" based on testimony provided by Ashley Biden. In an April 8 letter to a New York judge requesting jail time for one of the two people convicted of stealing her diary, Biden wrote "I will forever have to deal with the fact that my personal journal can be viewed online." 

Previous versions of this fact check noted "strong evidence" that the diary existed, but argued that no source had authenticated the contents of the pages published online, writing that "the authenticity of photographs purported to be from a diary is a separate question from the factual existence of a diary."

Ashley Biden's letter to the court, in Snopes' view, provides that authentication. 

Since 2023, various right-leaning accounts on X (formerly Twitter) have shared an old video containing audio of a phone call between Ashley Biden, the daughter of U.S. President Joe Biden, and operatives of Project Veritas — a political organization that claims to practice journalism. 

As Snopes discussed in detail in March 2023, that phone call is part of a suite of evidence that suggests Project Veritas came into possession of a diary that authentically belonged to Ashley Biden. Project Veritas, nevertheless, withheld publication of the document.  

Instead, a month before the November 2020 U.S. presidential election, a right-wing blog named The National File published what it claimed was "a copy of the complete diary of Ashley Blazer Biden, the 39-year-old daughter of Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden, dating from during the 2020 presidential campaign." 

An often cited page from that "leaked diary," which chronicled its author's addiction recovery in intimate detail, makes reference to sexual trauma and poses questions in search of an explanation for being "hyper-sexualized @ a young age." Along with mentions of not liking to visit a certain family's house, "being sexualized" with a female friend, and "having sex with friends @ a young age," the author noted taking "showers with my dad (probably not appropriate)." 

Legal proceedings that occurred later make it clear that the National File document came from Project Veritas. The Intercept reported in September 2022 that a Project Veritas employee provided the alleged diary to the National File in October 2020, when Project Veritas had reservations about publishing it.

Project Veritas, court testimony indicates, paid $40,000 for this alleged diary. As reported by The Associated Press in August 2022, the document had come into the possession of two people after one moved into an apartment previously occupied by Ashley Biden:

Ashley Biden was moving out of a friend's Delray Beach home in spring 2020 when she stored the diary, tax records, a digital device with family photos, a cellphone and other items there, prosecutors said in a court filing.

They said [Aimee] Harris then moved into the same room, found the items and got in touch with [Robert] Kurlander, who enthused in a text message that he would help her make a "ton of money" from selling it, adding an expletive before "ton."

Harris and Kurlander pleaded guilty in August 2022 to conspiracy to transport stolen property across state lines in their sale of the document to Project Veritas. According to Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe in August 2022, his organization could not confirm the diary it received belonged to Ashley Biden. 

In April 2024, the New York Times published a letter that Ashley Biden wrote to the Judge in Harris' case as part of her sentencing process in which Biden referenced the harm caused by the publication of photographs of her journal online, confirming that the words published online were hers while noting that they have been misinterpreted:

After being the victim of a crime in my early twenties, I developed PTSD. The journal that was stolen was part of my efforts to heal. 

I am a private citizen, targeted only because my father happened to be running to be President. In other words, the extensive work I have done to move past my trauma was undone by Ms. Harris's actions. …

Although this criminal act happened more than three years ago, because of the publicity it drew—exactly as Ms. Harris intended—I am constantly re-traumatized by it. I will forever have to deal with the fact that my personal journal can be viewed online. 

Repeatedly, I hear others grossly misinterpret my once-private writings and lob false accusations that defame my character and those of the people I love.

Harris was sentenced to one month in prison. Kurlander has yet to be sentenced. 

Because published court documents including the written testimony of Ashley Biden herself demonstrate the reality of the diary, the claim that it has been "confirmed" is True. 

 

Sources

"2 Florida Residents Plead Guilty in Scheme to Sell Ashley Biden's Diary." Tampa Bay Times, https://www.tampabay.com/news/nation-world/2022/08/25/2-florida-residents-plead-guilty-in-scheme-to-sell-ashley-bidens-diary/. Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

Howley, Patrick. "EXCLUSIVE SOURCE: Biden Daughter's Diary Details 'Not Appropriate' Showers With Joe As Child." National File, 24 Oct. 2020, https://nationalfile.com/exclusive-source-biden-daughters-diary-details-not-appropriate-showers-with-joe-as-child/.

Ryan, Grim. "A Project Veritas Employee Leaked Ashley Biden's Diary." The Intercept, 7 Dec. 2022, https://theintercept.com/2022/09/07/project-veritas-ashley-biden-diary-leak/.

Goldman, Adam. "Woman Sentenced to Month in Prison Over Theft of Ashley Biden's Diary." The New York Times, 9 Apr. 2024. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/09/us/politics/project-veritas-ashley-biden-diary.html.
 

Updates

April 29, 2024: The rating of this fact check was revised from "Unproven" to "True" based on a letter authored by Ashley Biden as part of court proceedings and published by The New York Times on April 9, 2024.

May 14, 2024: The wording of the claim has been slightly revised to make it more specific.

Alex Kasprak is an investigative journalist and science writer reporting on scientific misinformation, online fraud, and financial crime.