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Central issue related to FBI search of Mar-a-Lago last a week this is one what remains most unanswered: What documents did former President Donald Trump has and why government such intention on Get them back?
There are other questions of well. He took material because he thought they were “cool” like some of trophy? Or did he see some advantage in The New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman wondered during an appearance on “New Day” CNN on Monday.
Were the documents somehow connected to Trump’s pardon of Roger Stone? key proof? What behind Appearance of material on the president of France” in receipt for what did they take?
imagination runs wild in absence of data.
Now Trump has demanded the return of the papers, even though the presidential papers do not belong to him under US law. property.
The most enticing detail is that 11 sets of documents were classified.
it shines light on in system of classification according to which government hides information from him people in title of each national safety.
It’s actually a very big universe. of people with access to top secret information.
Director of National Intelligence publishes what is called an annual Security Clearance Definition report, although the most recent one I have been able to find it since 2017.
In that, more than 2.8 million people are described as having security clearance, as of October 2017 – more more than 1.6 million access either Confidential or Secret information and nearly 1.2 million are described as having access to top secret information.
There are additional people who have security clearance, but not currently have access to information. This includes civil servants, contractors and members of in military.
This does not mean more than 1 million people have access to any top secret documents that were lying around in Mar-a-Lago. Each agency involved in classification has its own system and expected to participate in declassify own documents.
Trump’s defenders claim he put in place an order declassifying any documents he took from the Oval Office to the residence in his time in White House, although professionals say this claim cannot be true.
“The idea that the president can declassify documents is just moving them out one physical location another nonsense on so many levels,” said Sean Turner, a correspondent for CNN. analyst as well as former director of communication for US National Intelligence, during a speech on Monday on “Domestic Policy”.
Turner said the process for declassification must include a signature from the agency that classified information in in first place in in order to protect the process of collecting intelligence information, its sources and methods.
Presidents periodically used decrees to update in official system by which it is classified information declassified.
Most recently, then-President Barack Obama put in place Executive Order 13526 in 2009. It’s still the one official policy because neither Trump nor President Joe Biden updated It.
Biden started review of how classified data processed earlier this summer. Here is a comprehensive report from the Congressional Research Service. on declassification process.
Biden review will review three general levels of classification.
Katie Lobosco of CNN wrote very good primer on secret data last a week. Here is her description of three levels of classification:
Top secret – it highest level of classification. Information is classified as “Top Secret” if “it can be reasonably expected to be cause extremely serious damage national security”, according to the regulation of 2009, which describes the classification system.
Subset of Top secret documents known as SCI or confidential information reserved for definite information obtained from intelligence sources. Access to an SCI document can be further restricted to a smaller number of users. group of people with special security permissions.
A little of in materials retrieved from Florida Trump home were labeled “Top Secret SCI”.
Secret – Information is considered secret if information considered able cause “serious damage” to national security if found.
Confidential – Confidential – the least sensitive level of classification applied to information it is reasonable to expect that cause “damage” national security in case of disclosure.
former CIA Officer David Priss, who now a publisher of in website Law, said on “New day”, which, regardless of the specific classification, is information in government has an interest in Does not exist made public.
It may be information collected on North Korean nuclear program or Russian military operations, for example.
government often gets this type of information asking people to risk their life or using technology is not want opponents know about.
Talking about it on On Monday morning, Priss became emotional.
“Revealing this information put people lives in risk,” he said. “This is not a joke. We know people who died serving their country way”.
Priss argued that a more important question than what is classified is why, if government knew that the documents were in Mar-a-Lago, took investigators take so long to go get them.
In order to for to the president, in order to declassify something, he argued, there must still be a paper trail so that everyone knows that something has been declassified.
“If they are not marked as declassified and other documents with same information not also declassified, was it really so? if not record of It, how have you ever know?
problem now it may be that the imagination will run crazy about what is in the documents.
It may be a very long time before American voters realize that all this was real.
“Technically we won’t see any further action on this case on legal list until the Department of Justice makes criminal accusations against any person,” CNN Legal told analyst as well as former federal Attorney Eli Honig, also on “New day.”
RELATED: Justice Department opposes creation public Details in Search warrant in Mar-a-Lago probable cause affidavit
There are already some suggestions that instead of pursuing accusations, government just trying to protect the data.
Secret information can stay way for years and years – from 10 to 25, according to the declassification manual signed by Obama.
standard is that if something no longer needs to be classified, it should be declassified. And if it needs to be classified past what 25-year period maybe.
The FBI, CIA and State Department have online reading rooms of previously classified data released through Freedom of Information law. Nobody of this is very fresh stuff.
A business of Trump’s documents from Mar-a-Lago seem special, however, they are already bipartisan calls from senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio – top elected officials on Senate Intelligence Committee – Director of National Intelligence Avril Haynes and Attorney General Merrick Garland ask for more information about what was taken by the FBI.
persecution for mishandling of secret information may include high-ranking figures.
for example a pensioner general as well as former CIA Director David Petraeus Reveals Secret Information information to his mistress who was writing a book about him. He eventually pleaded guilty, paid a $100,000 fine, and received two years in prison. of probation.
What data did he mishandle? From a CNN post at the time: During his tenure as Commander in Afghanistan, Petraeus kept personal records, including secret information in eight 5 by 8 inches black notebooks. Secret information (included) personality of secret officers, war strategy notes of diplomatic and national security meetings and security code words.
Other figures are not so familiar – like Asia Janai Lavarello, Defense Department Civilian employee working in Embassy of the USA in manila, who took secret documents in her hotel room and her house while she was working on Thesis project. She got three months in prison.