ANALYSIS – Say it Isn’t So, Joe – In what must be one of the most ironic twists of news, in a world full of twisted news, Joe Biden appears to have taken home highly classified intelligence memos and documents during his time as Vice President.
Or, worse, took them to a private, unsecured DC office he used occasionally after leaving the White House.
CNN reported that Rep. James Comer, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, said he plans to “press the National Archives for information about the classified documents removed by Joe Biden during his time as VP. He said he would send a letter to the Archives — which his committee oversees — within the next 48 hours.”
“President Biden has been very critical of President Trump mistakenly taking classified documents to the residence or wherever and now it seems he may have done the same,” Comer added. “How ironic.”
This comes as an Attorney General-appointed special counsel investigates, among other things, former president Trump’s treasure trove of classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida.
So, while still bad, Trump’s reckless disregard for sensitive intelligence now seems less unique, or outrageous.
Especially considering Trump was a political neophyte, and Biden has been in national politics his entire adult life.
To be fair, a key difference between the two cases is Team Trump’s long delay in recovering and returning the classified documents in Trump’s possession.
Biden’s personal attorneys reportedly found the documents in a closet when packing files in November while emptying out an office that Biden used at the notorious Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C. for his nonexistent relationship with the University of Pennsylvania (U Penn).
There he was paid handsomely (nearly $1 million over two years) as an honorary professor from 2017 to 2019, but never taught a class or saw a student.
Instead, according to the New York Post, “Biden gave roughly a dozen lectures and talks but never taught a full semester’s course. Nor did he conduct any research or have any administrative responsibilities.”
This reality hasn’t kept Biden from claiming he was a “full professor” at U Penn for years.
In response to the public disclosure, almost three months after the documents were found, the White House evaded commenting by using the Justice Department ‘ongoing investigation’ trope.
CNN reported that nearly a dozen classified documents were found at Biden’s former office.
The news outlet added:
It is unclear why they were taken to Biden’s private office. The classified materials included some top-secret files with the “sensitive compartmented information” designation, also known as SCI, which is used for highly sensitive information obtained from intelligence sources. Federal officeholders are required by law to relinquish official documents and classified records when their government service ends.
In response to specific questions about why the Biden team did not disclose the discovery of classified documents in November at Biden’s private office, Ian Sams, a spokesman for the White House counsel’s office, said that they are “limited in what we can say” now because the Justice Department is looking into the matter, and “further details” may be shared in the future.
Typically, despite some of the documents being clearly labeled SCI, CNN chose to report that “two people familiar with the call say, none of which are ‘particularly sensitive’ and ‘not of high interest to the intelligence community.’”
Yet, the designation of SCI on some of the documents says otherwise.
Newsflash to the hacks at CNN, by definition SCI information is ‘sensitive’ as in Sensitive Compartmented Information.
It is also always of high interest to the intelligence community since SCI always concerns or is derived from sensitive intelligence sources, methods, or analytical processes.
All SCI must be handled within formal access control systems established by the Director of National Intelligence.
While SCI is not a classification; SCI clearance has sometimes been called “above Top Secret.”
In practice though, information at any classification level (Confidential, Secret or Top Secret) may also be considered SCI and protected accordingly.
However, as noted above at least some of the Biden documents were Top Secret/SCI, which is fairly high.
The U.S. government requires SCI be processed, stored, used, read, or discussed in an extremely secure Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF).
Rep. Mike Turner, the new GOP chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines requesting an “immediate review and damage assessment” of the classified documents Biden had left in an old private office closet.
So, despite the laughable mental gymnastics CNN is performing to minimize Biden’s reckless actions in taking home some highly classified intelligence – in that regard, his doing so makes him no different than Trump.
Just more hypocritical.
Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of Great America News Desk.