“Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) is classified national intelligence information concerning or derived from intelligence sources, methods or analytical processes, which is required to be handled within formal access control systems established by the DNI. The SCI control system structure is the system of procedural protective mechanisms used to regulate or guide each program established by the DNI as SCI” ((U) Intelligence Community Authorized Classification and Control Markings – Register and Manual, 2012).
The ones that are downplaying the severity of the revelation that former President Donald J. Trump took not only “Secret”, “Top Secret” and “Classified” documents to his Mar-A-Lago home after ending his term. The former President in addition took the ones classified as TS/SCI.
All of this shouldn’t have happened in the first place. No Head of State or Commander-in-Chief has done this. There been instances where there been whistleblowers who has released highly classified documents and been targets of the Republic afterwards. This being Edward Snowden, Reality Winner or anyone else who has in the recent years done that. They breached the trust of the state and their security clearances by doing this.
Even back in 2008, the former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales story says it all really:
“In sum, our investigation concluded that Gonzales mishandled classified materials regarding two highly sensitive compartmented programs. We found that Gonzales took his classified handwritten notes home and stored them there for an indeterminate period of time. The notes contained operational aspects and other information about the NSA surveillance program that is classified at the TS/SCI level. By regulation, such material must be stored in a Sensitive Compartmented Storage Facility (SCIF). At the time he took these materials home, Gonzales did not have a SCIF at his house. Although Gonzales did have a safe at his residence at this time, we found that he did not use it to store the notes. We also found that Gonzales improperly stored other highly classified documents about the two compartmented programs in a safe at the Department that was not located in a SCIF. Several employees in the OAG had access to the safe where Gonzales stored the documents even though they lacked the necessary security clearances for this information. We concluded that Gonzales’s mishandling of both the notes and the other classified documents violated Department security requirements and procedures” (Office of the Inspector General – Special Report – ‘Report of Investigation Regarding Allegations of Mishandling of Classified Documents by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ September 2008)
So with that in mind, the TS/SCI especially, which is the highest levels of secrecy and national intelligence. The sort of documents that shouldn’t be anyone’s home. The sort of documents that contain secrets of national defence or otherwise security programs, which shouldn’t be easily accessed. That sort of documents was what former President Trump had in his home. The sort of document that should only be stored in a Sensitive Compartmented Storage Facility (SCIF) and Mar-A-Lago is far from that.
The former Attorney General Gonzales mishandled documents too and took them home. What was striking about Gonzales was that he wasn’t charged after that and was shielded for prosecution. While the media at the time was hit the Espionage Act, if they published or discussed the matters. Which is ironic, as the public should know about the actions of their Attorney General and his activities.
That’s what’s happening today and President Trump can say that the documents was already “declassified”. However that is just hearsay at this point, because why did he take them home and store them? Why if they weren’t important… why did he keep them and have it in his home? That doesn’t make sense.
Secondly, there is a process and legalise to how documents of these manner get classified and declassified. It isn’t just a blink of an eye and that a President Orders to be so. No, when it comes to National Security and Secrets that is deemed by the Director of National Intelligence(DNA) and National Security Agency (NSA). All of these has procedures and means to have oversight of the documents, as well as the Department of Defence (DoD) and Central Intelligence Authority (CIA). So, it isn’t an easy escape or way of getting it.
The third aspect is that with every level of secrecy a person needs a clearance and needs to be designated to work with it. It isn’t like free entry and everyone allowed to read or store. That’s why what Trump did is very dangerous. That from the same man who had issues that Hillary Clinton had a private Email-Server in her home while serving as U.S. Secretary of State. This was investigated and the authorities didn’t find any direct illegal by it, but it shouldn’t have happened. However, as bad as that was… the way the former President took documents has to be answered for.
As Trump did take documents, which are designed to be within a SCIF facility and be contained in a secure location. When he has taken such documents to Mar-A-Lago his clearly not caring about National Security or the National Secrets. He believes his obliged and approved to keep onto it. Others would have served time like Reality Winner. Hell, would be in exile like Edward Snowden. So, who does Trump think he is?
Just to read that someone takes TS/SCI home and doesn’t store those things correctly. That sound send chills down your spine. That the FBI did take so much documents and had such a list of things that Trump kept in his home, says a lot about what he did. This is a deliberate act and not just a random act. Especially, when the documents are so visibly stamped and regulated as is. It just shows how reckless and how his acting…
If he thinks he can double down with “declassified” or “copies” or whatever excuses. That will not stick. Because, you as a former Head of State should know better. It should also be a bad omen when the Department of Justice is investigating him under the Espionage Act. That is signalling that he could have “sold” or used the document as leverage with foreign entities. This is also seditious and treasonous, if proven so.
Trump has a lot to answer too. Not only this investigation. We know there was three statutes, which was the reason for the FBI “raid” of Mar-A-Lago. He has several of other cases built against him and he should be worried. The proof and evidence of the level of document kept in Mar-A-Lago only shows what his willing to do.
The ones trusting this man is clearly not seeing the whole picture. A man who is willing to endanger and breach national security for his own interests. While acting like a victim, when he did it himself and tried to keep these things as long as he could. That’s why the FBI needed a warrant and “raid” his home.
He did something very obviously “illegal” and that should have consequences. While Gonzales didn’t pay a price. He took less documents, but I wonder if anyone want to shield Trump now? Does he have friends or associates willing to trade national intelligence and national security over saving their messiah?
Time will tell.. but it shows how Trump acts and doesn’t care about “rule of law”. Peace.