A document describing the military defense of a foreign government, including its nuclear capability, was found by agents of the FBI who raided the residence and private club of the former president donald trump in Sea-to-Lake last month, anonymous sources familiar with the investigation reported, fueling concerns among U.S. intelligence. USA and various government officials about the classified material hidden on the property of Florida.
Some of the seized documents detail top-secret operations of USA, so rigorously guarded that many top national security officials don’t know about them. Only the president or some members of his cabinet could authorize other government officials to know the details of these special access programs.
Documents about highly classified operations require special authorizations. Some classified access programs may have as few as a couple dozen government personnel authorized to know of the existence of an operation. Records dealing with such programs are kept under lock and key, often in a secure information facility, with a designated control officer to carefully monitor their location.
But these documents were stored in Sea-to-Lakewith uncertain safety, more than 18 months after Trump will leave the White House.
After months of trying, according to government court documents, the FBI recovered this year more than 300 classified documents from Sea-to-Lake: 184 in a set of 15 boxes sent to the National Archives and Records Administration in January, 38 more turned over by a Trump attorney to investigators in June, and more than 100 additional documents uncovered in a court-approved search on August 8.
It was in this latest batch, people familiar with the case said, that the information about a foreign government’s nuclear defense was found. These people did not identify the foreign government in question, say where the document was found at Mar-a-Lago, or offer additional details about one of the most sensitive national security investigations in the world. Justice Department.
A spokesman for Trump did not comment on this information. The spokesmen of Justice Department and the FBI they declined to comment.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is conducting a risk assessment to determine how much potential harm the removal of hundreds of classified documents from government custody represented.
Washington Post previously reported that agents of the FBI who searched Trump’s home were looking, in part, for classified documents related to nuclear weapons. After that version was published, Trump compared it on social media to a series of previous government investigations. “The nuclear weapons issue is a hoax, just like Russia, Russia, Russia was a hoax, two impeachments were a hoax, the Mueller investigation was a hoax, and so much more,” he wrote, suggesting that US officials FBI they could have planted evidence against him.
A grand jury subpoena issued May 11 required the return of “all documents or writings in the custody or control of Donald J Trump and/or the Office of Donald J. Trump with classification marks,” including “Top Secret” and “Secret” and “Confidential” categories.
The summons, issued to the records custodian of Trump, listed more than two dozen document subclassifications, including “S/FRD,” an acronym for “Formerly Restricted Data,” which is reserved for information primarily related to military or nuclear weapons use. Despite the “formerly” in the title, the term does not mean that the information is no longer classified.
A person familiar with the raid on Sea-to-Lake he said the goal was to ensure the recovery of all classified records on the property.
Investigators became alarmed when they began reviewing documents recovered from the residence of Trump and his office in August. The team soon found extremely restricted records, to the point that even some of the highest national security officials in the administration Biden they were not authorized to review them. A government file alluded to this information when it noted that counterintelligence agents of the FBI and the prosecutors investigating the documents of Sea-to-Lake they were not authorized at first to review some of the seized material.
Among the more than 100 classified documents seized in August, some were marked “HCS,” a category of highly classified government information that refers to “HUMINT Control Systems,” which are systems used to protect intelligence obtained from human sources. secret. A partially unsealed affidavit says that the documents found in the boxes that were sent to the National Archives in January were related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. There was also material that should never have been shared with foreign nations.
The investigation into the possible mishandling of classified information, as well as the possible concealment, manipulation or destruction of government records, was made even more complex Monday when a federal judge in Florida granted the request for Trump to appoint a special master to review the material seized in the August 8 search and eliminate documents that may be covered by executive privilege, a legal rule that, applied to former presidents, is ill-defined.
U.S. District Court Judge Aileen M. Cannon ruled that the special master will also examine the nearly 13,000 documents and items the FBI seized to identify anyone who may be protected by attorney-client privilege, though attorneys The Justice Department have said that a “filter” team has already completed that task.
Cannon’s ruling could slow down and complicate the government’s criminal investigation, especially if the Justice Department decides to appeal pending and sensitive issues of executive privilege that a former president may have. The judge ruled that the investigators cannot “use” the seized material in their investigation until the special judge concludes his examination.
A special teacher has not yet been appointed; Cannon has asked Trump and the Justice Department to agree on a list of qualified candidates by Friday. Legal experts noted that the Justice Department you can still interview witnesses, use other evidence, and present information to a grand jury while the special master examines the seized material.
In his order, Cannon said the appointment of a special master was necessary “to ensure at least the appearance of impartiality and integrity in the extraordinary circumstances that arise.”
It also reasoned that a special teacher could mitigate the potential harm to Trump “through improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public,” suggesting that knowledge or details of the case were harmful to the former president, and could be lessened by inserting of a special master in the document review process.
“Based on plaintiff’s former position as President of the United States, the stigma attached to seizing the matter is in a league of its own,” Cannon wrote. “A future seizure, based to any degree on property that should be returned, would result in reputational damage of a decidedly different order of magnitude.”
While the FBI’s search has drawn strong condemnation from Trump and his Republican allies, who accuse the Justice Department to act with political malice against a past president who may seek office again in 2024, some Republicans have said the action might have been necessary.
In an interview that aired Friday, Trump’s former attorney general, William P. Barrsaid there is no reason the classified documents should have been at Mar-a-Lago after Trump left office.
“People are saying this is unprecedented,” Barr told Fox News. “But it’s also unprecedented for a president to take all this classified information and put it in a country club, okay?”
(With information from The Washington Post)
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