You Don’t Say: Classified Docs Discovered In Private Office Used by Then-VP Biden Just Days Before November Midterms (UPDATE ADDED)
[guest post by Dana]
President Biden’s lawyers confirmed that classified documents from his time as vice president were discovered in a private office just days before the 2022 midterms (Nov. 2, to be precise):
Attorney General Merrick Garland has asked the *US attorney in Chicago to investigate the matter, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN, and congressional Republicans are also taking notice.
Biden’s lawyers say they found the government materials in November while closing out a Washington, DC-based office – the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement – that Biden used as part of his relationship with the University of Pennsylvania, where he was an honorary professor from 2017 to 2019.
Fewer than a dozen classified documents were found at Biden’s office, another source told CNN. It is unclear what the documents pertain to or why they were taken to Biden’s private office. Federal officeholders are required by law to relinquish official documents and classified records when their government service ends.
President Biden’s special counsel released a statement that made it clear that, upon discovery of the documents, established protocols were followed:
“The White House is cooperating with the National Archives and the Department of Justice regarding the discovery of what appear to be Obama-Biden Administration records, including a small number of documents with classified markings,” Richard Sauber, special counsel to President Biden, said in a statement. “The documents were discovered when the President’s personal attorneys were packing files housed in a locked closet to prepare to vacate office space at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C. The President periodically used this space from mid-2017 until the start of the 2020 campaign. On the day of this discovery, November 2, 2022, the White House Counsel’s Office notified the National Archives. The Archives took possession of the materials the following morning.”
“The discovery of these documents was made by the President’s attorneys…The documents were not the subject of any previous request or inquiry by the Archives. Since that discovery, the President’s personal attorneys have cooperated with the Archives and the Department of Justice in a process to ensure that any Obama-Biden Administration records are appropriately in the possession of the Archives.”
As you can imagine, Trump supporters and Biden detractors are up in arms about the revelation and what they see as hypocrisy. Donald Trump demanded to know when the FBI would be raiding President Biden’s home(s).
Experts point to a distinction between Trump and Biden’s classified documents situation:
Bradley Moss, a security clearances expert, told “CNN This Morning” on Tuesday that so far, and if no more problematic evidence emerges, the current president team’s conduct was different because of “the cooperation and the absence of obstruction in which they have engaged compared to what Donald Trump did.”
“So far, it’s completely apples to oranges here,” said Moss, who is the deputy executive director of the James Madison Project.
As of this morning, President Biden has not responded to questions about the classified documents:
As the press is herded out of the room, a reporter asks Biden: " Any response to the discovery of classified documents at your office?"
Biden does not answer. pic.twitter.com/baf4mFwSPP
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 10, 2023
(*U.S. Attorney John Lausch is a Trump nominee.)
UPDATE: Today President Biden addressed the question of whether he knew about the classified documents and whether the public should have been notified earlier:
“When my lawyers were clearing out my office at the University of Pennsylvania, they set up an office for me. Secure office in the Capitol. When I ran, the four years after being vice president, was a professor at Penn. They found some documents in a box. You know locked cabinet? Or at least a closet…And as soon as they did, I realized there were several classified documents in that box. And they did what they should have done. They immediately called the archives, immediately called the archives, turned them over to the archives.
And I was briefed about this discovery and surprised to learn that there are any government records that were taken there to that office. But I don’t know what’s in the documents. I’ve my lawyers have not suggested I ask what documents they were. I’ve turned over the boxes. They’ve turned over the boxes to the archives. And we’re cooperating fully, cooperating fully with the review, and which I hope will be finished soon. And there’ll be more detail at that time.
It appears that President Biden knew about the classified documents right after they were discovered. Given that this was 5 days before the midterm elections, I believe that the White House should have been up front with the American people about the discovery. I have no idea if it would’ve moved the voting needle one way or the other, but the optics are bad. It looks like a strategic decision was made to keep quiet about the documents because of the impending election. Considering that Democrats were already bracing for a red wave, they didn’t want to risk an even worse outcome. In other words, politics as usual.
It’s not yet clear whether Biden knew about the documents, whether he had taken them to his private office, how long they had been there, and why they weren’t returned to where they belonged at the time. It will be interesting to see where this goes.Dana (1225fc) — 1/10/2023 @ 8:44 am
Dana, Thank you for the post. Do you (or any of the other lawyers here) have any interest in a post on what the intent and willfulness language in the law means in practice? I’d be interested in reading that and it seems like that will be a key difference between the Trump and Biden cases and how they’re handled.Time123 (db7ec2) — 1/10/2023 @ 8:56 am
Both Trump and Biden intended to move those documents. I think the intent spiel is a bit of a red herring.
Either’s its illegal to mishandle documents, or it’s not. I don’t think there’s an “oops” exception.
So, in both cases, to me, that’s the determining factor here.
That, and whether or not these “classified marking” documents were truly still classified, or not.whembly (bdf55e) — 1/10/2023 @ 9:49 am
The stuff was discovered November 2… a week before the election, too??? On September 18, 2022, when criticizing Trump, Squinty boasted to 60 Minutes, ‘How could anybody be that irresponsible?’
Duh. Tell us, Joe. How could they? Raid every one of Joe’s homes; check all the trunks and spare tires of all his Corvettes [and, per ‘Popeye’ Doyle, the rocker panels]; all his parked 18-wheelers; every tire on every bike; even the bicycle pumps… every coal mine his family ever worked in… the freezers where he keeps his ice cream stashes… and all the family laptops. Such a bum.DCSCA (5c5df9) — 1/10/2023 @ 10:28 am
I’m not a lawyer.
I guess the question is whether Biden intentionally misled the National Archives. From what I’ve read, that would be a distinct difference between Trump and Biden.
Unfortunately, this is already being politicized from the get-go. So if it’s found to be a simple misplacement of documents with no intention to mislead, let alone obstruct, it will still be viewed as purely partisan favor toward a Democratic president.
What bothers me most, and this is without knowing any intention or the document contents, is that the knowledge of their location was withheld from the public before the midterms. The optics are awful regardless of whether or not a revelation made before the election would have swayed voters one way or the other.Dana (1225fc) — 1/10/2023 @ 10:34 am
@2 Furthermore, intent is not required for prosecution under the Espionage Act. Only mere negligence.whembly (f5d390) — 1/10/2023 @ 10:42 am
@5, Dana, again, intent isn’t required. Mere negligence can run afoul with the Electoral Act.
IF we’re going to compare bad deeds from one party (ie, Trump) to another democrat maladministration. It isn’t Trump v. Biden we’d ought to compare… but Trump vs Hillary Clinton.
I’m more concerned with the premise that the law, and even policy and prosecutorial discretion be applied as evenly as possible in the political sphere.
Even right now, you cannot ignore how aggressively the Biden administration chose to engage with Trump’s bad behavior in this regard and wonder how Hillary Clinton was treated with kids gloves over her email scandal.
I’m not so sure the DOJ would want to walk into this political area now to indict Trump. (I say this as someone who vastly prefers DeSantis over Trump and wouldn’t mind Trump being unceremoniously taken out of the Presidential election window).whembly (bdf55e) — 1/10/2023 @ 10:52 am
“Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”
Who can he blame this time?
[ ] Jill
[ ] Beau & Hunter
[ ] Putin
[ ] Xi & Kim
[ ] The Saudis
[ ] Pope Benedict XVI
[ ] Michelle & Barack Hussein Obama
[ ] Big Meat, Big Oil, Big Med
OTOH, Aanother Irish-Catholic POTUS had the guts to step up and take heat:
“I am the responsible officer of the government.” – JFK, 1961DCSCA (5c5df9) — 1/10/2023 @ 10:53 am
The CNN story is a moving target. here is what they are saying now:
This seems like pretty important stuff.
The location of the documents is interesting:
In other words, Biden put this with documents that were important to him.
However, just because a lawyer spotted the documents on November 2 doesn’t mean Biden or the National Archives were told on November 2. There would be scramble of a few days as layers asked “what do we do now” an the report protocol is complied with. So the timing doesn’t bother me as much.
What do we do here? Unlike Sandy Berger or Donald Trump, there is no evidence of an intention to retain or hide the documents. The documents are found, the lawyers disclose the oops, there is no acerbic correspondence back an forth between Biden’s people and the Archives.
Could this develop into something worse? Yes, if someone can drag up some proof that Biden was told after he left office that he had documents and that he needed to return them.Appalled (eeb4e8) — 1/10/2023 @ 11:03 am
Intent will drive a prosecutor’s decision to indict or not. That’s reality.
I don’t support Trump being prosecuted for this, by the way, unless he tried to share the documents with someone not entitled to see them, or wanted to hide them for crrupt reasons. He should be prosecuted for January 6 and his pressure campaign to steal votes here in Georgia — not a process crime.Appalled (eeb4e8) — 1/10/2023 @ 11:20 am
Whembly, the statute does reference intent and willfulness several times.
I’m not sure what that means in practice (IANAL) but based on what I understand it would create an additional element the prosecution would need to prove. I think it does create a ‘oops’ defense, but I’m sure there limits.Time123 (db7ec2) — 1/10/2023 @ 11:47 am
I wanted to add, that should be part of what the DOJ works to uncover as part of their investigationTime123 (db7ec2) — 1/10/2023 @ 11:47 am
Rather than trying to one-up on “gotcha now” accusations against this or that political individual, and trying to determine an ever-elusive “intent,” it seems to this fairly ignorant reader that it’s perhaps the PROCESS of handling documents that should be addressed. If the point of classifying information is to avoid to the extent possible or practicable, the opportunity for violation, then isn’t it a diversion to attack likely negligent activities if in fact, one’s primary concern is that highly sensitive information not be accessed by our real or potential enemies?
It appears that there’s a great deal of sloppiness in the PROCESS of producing, tracking, classifying, archiving, etc., executive/administrative documents and/or other information. …especially with the decades-long increase in staffing numbers, the proliferation of executive agencies, and the myriad methods of document/information production (i.e., multiple copies of digital documents, multiple addressees of texts, emails & attachments, etc.)
If that’s a reasonably accurate interpretation of the current situation, then inadvertent negligence, notwithstanding who the president might be, may and should be resolved with updated law/regulation, clear guidance for staff (esp. new staff) periodically refreshed, and so on. In the grander scheme of things, in the broader national interest, wouldn’t that type of action be far more effective and productive than flinging politically-motivated accusations at a Clinton, a Trump, or a Biden?
Perhaps the National Archives (or some other respected agency), in conjunction with relevant national defense agencies, should offer proposed guidance that would tighten up how documents/information is handled?ColoComment (c11dab) — 1/10/2023 @ 11:52 am
Dana, I thought you were a lawyer. My bad.
Whembly, I’m not sure it’s possible to convict Trump of any crime that requires intent. Previous discussions were around if it was appropriate to even investigate. I think it was, and I think investigating Biden is appropriate here.
From what I saw it looked like Trump was treated with great deference. The DOJ tried repeatedly to work with Trump prior to executing a search warrant.
In contrast it appears that Biden brought the issue forward of his own accord and is cooperating with the investigation.
Both should be investigated, but I’m not seeing where Biden was treated any better then Trump.Time123 (db7ec2) — 1/10/2023 @ 11:55 am
It’s different when a rather dim (and Slow Joe is dim) Democrat does it. No harm, no foul.Comanche Voter (a15ae2) — 1/10/2023 @ 12:03 pm
Meh. A sitting President has more to do than keeping track of every last document. And it really should be his staff that takes the heat here anyway. And they WERE locked up.
Trump’s staff should also take some heat, particularly Trump’s lawyers, but a lot of the problem there was Donald Trump’s obsessive ignorance and brain-dead tenacity rather than simple error by staffers.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/10/2023 @ 12:22 pm
Whembly, the statute does reference intent and willfulness several times.
Further, actual prosecution depends on many things, not just intent and willfulness. You CAN go to prison for leaving a document on your back seat during a car wash and having some employee take it and post it online, even if intent and willfulness is clearly absent.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/10/2023 @ 12:25 pm
“I am the responsible officer of the government.” – JFK, 1961
Yes, I remember his tearful resignation speech after the Bay of Pigs.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/10/2023 @ 12:27 pm
In contrast it appears that Biden brought the issue forward of his own accord and is cooperating with the investigation.
I seriously doubt Biden had anything to do with bringing it forwardJF (89db71) — 1/10/2023 @ 12:34 pm
This didn’t happen when Biden was POTUS. These are documents he retained after leaving office as VPOTUS.
We’re only hearing about it now.frosty (864061) — 1/10/2023 @ 12:37 pm
@11 Time123, Yes I know that, but I thought I was being clear.
You can ALSO being legal jeopardy by simply being negligent. Intent isn’t the only thing that’s required.
This is really me pushing back the current narratives of the Biden defenders that he didn’t intent to mishandle these documents.whembly (d116f3) — 1/10/2023 @ 12:40 pm
To repeat, you can be in legal jeopardy by simply ‘negligent’ in handling classified doc.
That’s why, under the Obama administration, it was so galling that the government argued that HRC ‘must’ be grossly negligent in order to violate the Espionage Act. They effectively mis-applied the law in order to avoid charging HRC, instead of simply exercising their prosecutorial discretion to refuse to bring charges.whembly (d116f3) — 1/10/2023 @ 12:43 pm
@13 ColoComment (c11dab) — 1/10/2023 @ 11:52 am
That’s definitely a separate issue.
The process definitely needs to be revamped. Not sure what’s the answer, but the current system needs definite improvements.whembly (d116f3) — 1/10/2023 @ 12:48 pm
13. 20. The laws are impractical, and not consistent with the way documents are handled at the highest level of the executive branch but probably nobody wants to revise them to make them more lenient.
The partisans seem to be hanging their hats, not on documents being in wrong place, but on Trump trying to retain them after being asked to return them.Sammy Finkelman (1d215a) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:02 pm
@16. Meh. A sitting President has more to do than keeping track of every last document.
Kevin Vindicates Trump.
Film at 11.
@18. Yes, I remember his tearful resignation speech after the Bay of Pigs.
Hmmmm so must Joe. Drunk History though entertaining, isn’t a wise source. The rest of the world remembers his popularity rising…
A Lesson for Biden: How JFK Went Up in the Polls After the Bay of Pigs
‘[JFK’s] public standing actually improved in the aftermath of the invasion, in no small part because he took responsibility and admitted error. There are lessons here for Biden, should he choose to take them.’
When to admit you’re wrong: JFK’s lessons for Joe Biden
https://www.salon.com/2021/08/08/when-to-admit-youre-wrong-jfks-lessons-for-joe-biden/DCSCA (08cb38) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:03 pm
frosty (864061) — 1/10/2023 @ 12:37 pm
His lawyers discovered them on November 2, 2022, when clearing out (for some reason) an office he had had.
Besides the documents marked classified there were probably many others that were supposed to be placed in the National Archives (or destroyed by them? Their choice? )
The search may have been stimulated by the Trump Mar-a-Lago case.Sammy Finkelman (1d215a) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:06 pm
Whembly, I think we’re in agreement and that information needs to be understood as part of the investigation. I’m really not clear on what the standards are in practice for this particular law.
JF, I should have said “Biden’s team” as I expect the recommendation came from a lawyer that works for him. Seems unlikely to me that they’d inform the DOJ of a possible crime committed by Biden without him approving the disclosure.Time123 (db7ec2) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:12 pm
I seriously doubt Biden had anything to do with bringing it forward
Or with the mishandling.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:17 pm
I’ve been thinking about this.
Who should have informed the public?
The DOJ doesn’t typically announce that they’re investigating someone. Doing so right before the election would violate their internal policies.
When the DOJ searched MAL Trump was the one who announced it. The DOJ had been investigating Trump for months over classified material without any leaks to the press.
Biden has no legal obligation to announce that he’s being investigated by the DOJ. Is he morally required to do so? Maybe, but it would demonstrate an unprecedented level of integrity on his part. (Unprecedented for him at any rate) Doing so without disclosing the details of what the files were would be politically bad for him and declassification of what they generally concerned would (imo) be an abuse of power on his part.
If someone in the media knew they for sure should have announced it. But there’s no evidence they were aware.Time123 (db7ec2) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:18 pm
These are documents he retained after leaving office as VPOTUS.
OK. Still it was clearly inadvertent and the documents were secured. And it is still a staff problem, even for the less-busy VP.
I don’t know what the severity of the Trump document thing is, except that it was in some cases intentional and became willful in others, even if it was just hiding the mistake. I also don’t know if they were secured, which makes a big difference actually, even if they aren’t in a SCIF, since disclosure is the main thing to avoid.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:21 pm
Yes negligent handling CAN be prosecuted, but negligent handling that leads to disclosure WILL be prosecuted. The former is mostly not, the latter always is. “No harm, no foul” doesn’t work after there is harm.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:24 pm
That’s not how the Espionage Act reads (discussion here). The key language is “willfully retained”…
For Trump, he retained classified materials willfully, even keeping a few in the desk of his private office, and he obstructed their return. The FBI search of his country club confirmed it.
For Biden, it was established that he retained the classified materials, but the “willfully” part is unproven, and there was no apparent obstruction.
I see several scenarios for Biden:
(1) He knew he had the classified documents, and he dispatched a couple of his lawyers (for the outward purpose of double-checking in the wake of Trump’s document problem) to Penn Biden Center to “discover” the classified documents. However, this would display the kind of alacrity and scheming that I don’t believe he possesses, at least not anymore. It’s possible but more likely not than likely, IMO.
(2) Biden didn’t know whether or not his office had classified materials, but probably not considering the date his lawyers went to Penn Biden Center. BTW, November 2nd is a curious date for checking on this. Why not wait a week.
(3) Biden’s WH Counsel coordinated the action, out of an abundance of legal caution, and kept Biden out of the loop, maybe advising him about what they were doing, or maybe not.
I’m guessing #2 or #3 because Biden is not smart or devious enough for #1, IMO, but we’ll see.Paul Montagu (8f0dc7) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:25 pm
I doubt that such information, coming to light only days before the election, was certain enough to make any statement, and it is unlikely that anyone releasing it would be rewarded. They did that with Hillary only because 1) they had the information and 2) The FBI was ripsh1t about the lack of indictment.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:28 pm
BTW, I don’t see Trump being prosecuted for the Mar-a-lago materials unless they were so insecurely stored that they were compromised. And even then, the DoJ folks need to find some way to separate Trump’s carelessness from Hillary’s, or it will appear mostly political.
Trump SHOULD worry about the J6 and the GA probes, and whatever Latisha James can concoct in NY.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:32 pm
Paul, I don’t know which is more likely but all of those seem plausible.Time123 (db7ec2) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:33 pm
JFK was a speed-freak sex fiend. I see nothing to be learned there except maybe how to manage the press.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:34 pm
Trump’s a lunatic who lies to a famous degree. Proving any sort of intent or will on his part has got to be hard bordering on impossible.
Also, there’s no way to do anything Trump related that won’t make the persecution complex wing of the GOP throw a tantrum.Time123 (db7ec2) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:35 pm
4) The documents were discovered serendipitously shortly before the election and Biden’s people were called in to check, then slow-walked the “investigation” until after the election.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:37 pm
Ukraine! Was hunter grifting at time of ukraine documents ??? AOC 2024!asset (5be7ef) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:39 pm
Also, there’s no way to do anything Trump related that won’t make the persecution complex wing of the GOP throw a tantrum.
Also Biden does not want to create any kind of precedent making him responsible for the management of classified documents. If anything, the looser the rules are (up to a point) the better for him and future presidents. Plenty of other stuff to get Trump on since he’s “a lunatic who lies to a famous degree.”Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:40 pm
Yeah, it would be pretty terrible if the documents were transcripts of VP Biden’s discussions with Ukrainians.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:41 pm
That doesn’t align with the story, that his lawyers found the documents and immediately informed DOJ. They may have been confident that this discovery (or “discovery”) would not leak prior to election day.Paul Montagu (8f0dc7) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:45 pm
Paul Montagu @32
(4) Biden, or his counsel, knew that he had retained documents that were supposed to be handed over to the National Archives, but not that any were classified, although that some would be could have been guessed by his lawyers, and he wanted to get rid of them before it got discovered independently some time before the 2024 election.Sammy Finkelman (1d215a) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:49 pm
“I don’t see Trump being prosecuted for the Mar-a-lago materials”
I agree. He is more vulnerable on the Jan 6 counts, but finding 12 objective jurors (either way) might be a challenge. It might be interesting if they aim lower and go after someone like Guiliani first…or maybe John Eastman (who may bend easier)AJ_Liberty (5f05c3) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:54 pm
BTW, when Comey announced that he wouldn’t indict Hillary, he said she was using “extreme carelessness” in using her home-brewed server in her duties as SecState, which is bad but not criminal. It would’ve been a different story had he said “gross negligence”, which carries real legal meaning.Paul Montagu (8f0dc7) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:55 pm
It does seem like a case of negligence that allowed classified documents to be kept in a DC office building for seven years. Whether that negligence rises to the level of “gross”, I can’t say for sure.
Link.Paul Montagu (8f0dc7) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:56 pm
@45 Paul Montagu (8f0dc7) — 1/10/2023 @ 1:55 pm
Paul…that’s the Democrat HRC aligned talking point.
The mere fact she had a home-brew server is not only negligent, but grossly negligent.
Any prosecutor could bring charges and would be justified as what she did definitely broke the law. Peons where thrown in jail for doing less than what HRC did.whembly (d116f3) — 1/10/2023 @ 2:01 pm
The homebrew server wasn’t negligent. It wasn’t easy and was probably done, if you want to be real about this, so that nobody would inadvertently leave incriminating information in the government’s possession.
She never used an official email address for anything — nor left anything else behind in writing. You cold say that this was maybe just to avoid anything she did being discovered by a FOIA request or a Congressional committee.Sammy Finkelman (1d215a) — 1/10/2023 @ 2:08 pm
What evidence do we actually have of that at this point? I don’t argue that that’s the claim being made now but “clearly” and “inadvertent” seem more opinions and wishful thinking than anything based on actual evidence.frosty (864061) — 1/10/2023 @ 2:08 pm
But I think it was done to avoid somebody one day sending her an incriminating message, or her sending one by mistake using an official email addressSammy Finkelman (1d215a) — 1/10/2023 @ 2:09 pm
Nobody to blame but himself. He could learn something from the other Irish-Catholic POTUS:
“I am the responsible officer of the government.” – JFK, 1961DCSCA (46cdbc) — 1/10/2023 @ 2:20 pm
Ukraine doc. hunter biden. UK doc. steel dossier. Iran nuke deal. Still waiting on china doc’s. Mr president comment? President no comment.asset (5be7ef) — 1/10/2023 @ 2:22 pm
Mr. President ? Bueller anyone? For DCSCA and AOC smiled.asset (5be7ef) — 1/10/2023 @ 2:24 pm
Joe versus Corn Pop…
https://www.gawker.com/5742110/heres-seven-minutes-of-the-best-slaps-in-hollywood-historyDCSCA (46cdbc) — 1/10/2023 @ 2:40 pm
The Three Amigos’ in Mexico City…
And President Martin Short finds a new source to blame America’s open border failures on… EARTH:
“It’s the hemisphere’s fault.”DCSCA (46cdbc) — 1/10/2023 @ 3:23 pm
Geez, Whembly.Paul Montagu (8f0dc7) — 1/10/2023 @ 3:39 pm
I didn’t say I agreed with Comey. I said back in 2016 she should’ve been indicted. I was trying to answer Kevin and his comment about negligence, that the threshold for an indictment is gross negligence.
Also Biden does not want to create any kind of precedent making him responsible for the management of classified documents
Precedent? Not responsible for management of classified documents?? He’s the PRESIDENT. He already is responsible for them; and can declassify at will. This is all on him and if he had any balls he’s step up and take the hit– instead of searching for someone to blame. On deck for blame… Beau.
He’s a bum.DCSCA (46cdbc) — 1/10/2023 @ 3:42 pm
It was absolutely negligent Sammy.
The first “email server” HRC used when she started as Secretary of State was a holdover server used during her role with the Clinton Foundation, which was a Apple Server. Woefully inadequate hardware and security, so they swithed to a homebrew server with a local install of Microsoft Outlook for the rest of her tenure.
Here’s what’s grossly negligent: Getting TS/SCI information from a SCIF is impossible to access from the outside world internet.
It’s impossible because the SCIF is “air gapped” from the internet. What that means, is that you can’t go to any PC right now, and try to access the SCIF infrastructure…there isn’t any physical connection that connects the SCIF network to the outside world’s internet (hence the term ‘air gapped’).
So, how does HRC get TS/SCI top secret information in the first place? She emails her staff to “plz print” the information and ‘retranscribe’ it into her unclassified homebrew email server, for her to continue her correspondences.
There were NUMEROUS ‘plz print’ emails/text for TS/SCI.
Furthermore, remember how everyone condemned Trump for “comingling” classified documents with unclassified/personal documents? HRC literally did this with her email server.
So, yes, with regards to her handling of classified documents, HRC was ‘grossly’ and ‘purposely’ negligent.whembly (d116f3) — 1/10/2023 @ 4:06 pm
@56 Paul Montagu (8f0dc7) — 1/10/2023 @ 3:39 pm
My apologies Paul.
I’m just super cranky about the 2-Tier’ed justice system we have… by rights, HRC should’ve been charged, but she wasn’t for political reasons.whembly (d116f3) — 1/10/2023 @ 4:08 pm
I get that everyone who has access to classified documents should obey the rules, and have bridled in the past over reports of lower ranking employees being severely disciplined for what seemed like inadvertent mistakes while higher-ups skate for similar offenses. But really, doesn’t the government have an over-classification mania? Is there any indication, other than the magic word “classified,” that the documents Biden apparently left behind in an office really are important to the security of the US? And the same question could be asked of the documents that Trump retained and did not turn over. The furor over the Trump documents came across to me as almost totally politically inspired, and so does this story about Biden. To paraphrase a leader even more unloved than Trump, at this point, what difference do these documents make? Yes, no doubt for now the answer has got to be that no one really knows and we must be very concerned, but it will surprise me if they turn out to have any real significance.
Have to wonder whether the Biden story is surfacing now because some persons in the Democratic Party (or their allies outside the party) want to weaken Biden so that someone else can get the 2024 nomination.RL formerly in Glendale (48bc71) — 1/10/2023 @ 4:09 pm
It’s been so long since I correctly predicted something, I have no standing to disagree, but I do. If I had to handicap the relative chances of prosecution by DOJ for the M-a-L docs, for Jan 6, and by Fani Willis for the “just find me 11,000 votes” phone call, I’d put the M-a-L docs first and Jan 6 last. The evidence of willful intent in the documents case, where Trump was put on notice and responded with lies and obstruction, seems a lot stronger than Jan 6, where everything he did could conceivably be explained by being a solipsistic lunatic who believed his own bullsh1t. Honestly if insanely believing he was acting legally to overturn an election he honestly if insanely believed was stolen may actually be a get out of jail free card for crimes requiring specific intent. Honestly if insanely believing he was entitled to keep documents he’d been legally ordered to turn over, then hiding them and lying about it, isn’t. That’s like a bank robber who pleads innocence because he believes the money is his.lurker (cd7cd4) — 1/10/2023 @ 4:11 pm
What you’ve described isn’t negligence. That’s specific intent.frosty (df16ca) — 1/10/2023 @ 4:19 pm
I’d add that Garland may set a higher bar of proof for prosecuting Jan 6, due to its more political nature.lurker (cd7cd4) — 1/10/2023 @ 4:24 pm
That too, for sure.whembly (d116f3) — 1/10/2023 @ 4:27 pm
Information is power. And Americans are tired of feeling powerless. It’s bad enough very few Americans trust their government anymore– and back in the day this was not nearly so prevalent an issue. It heated up w/t exposed lies over Vietnam, the waste of lives and treasure.. and classifying evidence of government errors like The Pentagon Papers; the 1953 overthrow of the Iranian government by the CIA and so on along w/other assorted files full of stuff. Add to it Watergare, Iran-Contra, etc.,… the Saudi involvement in 9/11… the lies about WMD… the Afghan fvck-up… It goes on to this day… and they classified more and more of this crap chiefly for bureaucrats to play ‘cover you azz’ to protect their own incompetence and to hide information from the American people— who pay for this incompetence.
What’s to hide about Joe’s dealings in Ukraine and China… or letters between Trump and Kim… or the hot videos and phone number of Putin’s mistress… And still hiding sources and methods from 60 years ago, especially when everybody is now dead, is even screwier self-perpetuating poop as well. Everything from UFO info to the Ameila Earhart files, so many of the JFK murder files etc., etc., remain sealed or so cleansed, even w/a delayed FOIA request is met, that the info is useless. They classify too much government sh!t that does not have to be classified. So if Joe really takes handling of classified documents ‘seriously’ — he’d see the light: sunshine is the best disinfectant.DCSCA (671528) — 1/10/2023 @ 4:59 pm
I’ve updated the post.Dana (1225fc) — 1/10/2023 @ 5:04 pm
@ RL formerly of Glendale,
Interesting thought… especially as the original report said:
The lawyers didn’t offer the information, they were being asked about it and they confirmed the story. So the question is: If there was an intentional and strategic leak looking to the 2024 election, who do you think was behind it?Dana (1225fc) — 1/10/2023 @ 5:13 pm
That’s some impressive psychic skills. It’s unfortunate that he couldn’t keep his story straight over even a few sentences.frosty (34c1d9) — 1/10/2023 @ 5:14 pm
Optics have always been important to voters. That is why the media works so hard to protect one narrative over another. Add to it the dunderheads that we have running for public office, and here we go.Simon Jester (f66ca7) — 1/10/2023 @ 5:18 pm
It appears that President Biden knew about the classified documents right after they were discovered. Given that this was 5 days before the midterm elections, I believe that the White House should have been up front with the American people about the discovery.
Don’t’ blame ‘the White House’: the fish rots from the head down.
Given Biden’s half-century history of deliberate lying, deceptions and plagiarism, this just another willful and misleading episode by a swamp creature who has been given a pass on accountability long enough. This generation of media, journalists and so forth, deserve a great deal of blame for America being saddled with this chump. In ’88, they nailed his windbagged carcass to the wall. This time, the new generation of gadget gazers gave him a pass. It’s bums like Biden that fuel voter outrage and give them a reason to vote for bums like Trump.DCSCA (671528) — 1/10/2023 @ 5:20 pm
One more thing to add the list of impeachable offenses.Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/10/2023 @ 5:29 pm
If Trump had given the documents he took back to the archives when asked, we never would’ve heard a word about it. We might never have heard about it except that Trump got offended by them taking the documents back and had a public fit. It doesn’t seem like this is usually a thing that gets talked about to the public so I’m not really surprised that no one talked about it with the public until now. I am kind of surprised anyone did talk about to the public since Biden himself clearly didn’t throw a fit over them being returned to the archives.Nic (896fdf) — 1/10/2023 @ 5:39 pm
So let me see if I understand this. Biden did not say that 1) that they were his own personal documents, 2) that he had declassified them, and that 3) the FBI planted them?
Shaking my head. I can’t even. I just can’t.nk (bb1548) — 1/10/2023 @ 5:41 pm
whembly (d116f3) — 1/10/2023 @ 4:06 pm
No, what she wanted printed was news articles she sent the link, after all. She could read and comprehend hard copy better .
The classified infrmation was all original documents typed outside the State Department’s classified system. Sometimes her schedule, where the person who typed it mistakenly labeled it confidential.
Her system took the place of the unclassified State Department system.
What she also did which was never investigated was have documents faxed to her home in D.C. , which was not a SCIF – and her maid, whom she prese=umbably believed could be trusted with Clinton secrets, did not have a security clearance.
That’s not my understanding. Anything TS/SCI was air gapped, like you said, and she couldn’t ask for it to be printed.
Those were published news articles she accessed on the Internet, but couldn’t read, or didn’t want to read, on her Blackberry or other device.
All the classified stuff she had was classified at birthSammy Finkelman (0ac4d7) — 1/10/2023 @ 6:03 pm
This was actually in 1987. (but the presidential election of 1988)Sammy Finkelman (0ac4d7) — 1/10/2023 @ 6:08 pm
It;s surfacing because McCarthy was elected Speaker and committees were about to appointed after the rules passed or were set to pass and this question of other presidents retaining documents was now certain to be investigated — so they leaked it to get ahead of the story.Sammy Finkelman (0ac4d7) — 1/10/2023 @ 6:11 pm
If you can discern a coherent time line from that Biden statement, you’re better at deciphering gibberish than I am.
I’d say the administration had an ethical obligation not to suppress the discovery and to be honest about it when questioned, but I don’t know that there was an affirmative duty to disclose it. Is it customary for the Archives or another agency to announce when documents like these are found? If so, I’d want to know if there was pressure to delay the announcement. But if such announcements aren’t customary, where’s the duty? I don’t think we expect politicians to announce events against their political self-interest when they aren’t legally required to do so. That’s what reporters, leakers and oppo research are for.lurker (cd7cd4) — 1/10/2023 @ 6:15 pm
@77. I don’t think we expect politicians to announce events against their political self-interest when they aren’t legally required to do so.
But he promised…
Joe Biden: ‘I’ll Always Tell You the Truth’
“I promise you that if I am elected, I’ll always tell you the truth,” said Biden… “You deserve a president who tells the truth.”
Hmmmm. He’s a bum. A PLAGIARIST. He has no “ethics”.
We’re a better people than this.DCSCA (a9f9f5) — 1/10/2023 @ 6:55 pm
It may surprise some, in the aftermath of Trump, that Democrats can be just as dishonest. They just haven’t had to be that way lately. Except in the Afghanistan withdrawal, or the Southern border crisis, or calling voting rights laws “Jim Crow 2.0”, or financing the Trumpists in the primaries (giving them aid and comfort), or about how their 2021 stimulus wouldn’t cause inflation (or where the money was going), or gun control, or the Supreme Court, or … well I guess they can be pretty damn dishonest, too.
Who knew?Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/10/2023 @ 6:59 pm
It’s not that they suppressed it, they just had to do a thorough 2-month investigation.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/10/2023 @ 7:00 pm
I don’t really care if Biden said anything or not, but because it was just days before an important election, the optics of not saying anything are bad. Obviously the WH was not legally obligated to do so.Dana (1225fc) — 1/10/2023 @ 7:04 pm
@79. Who knew?
A week before the election. And said nothing.DCSCA (a9f9f5) — 1/10/2023 @ 7:05 pm
When is the point that
Lady MacbethKamala could take over the office and still run for two more terms? Later this month, right?
Interesting timing.norcal (862cdb) — 1/10/2023 @ 7:06 pm
For 77,Dana (1225fc) — 1/10/2023 @ 7:13 pm
Later this month, right?
I’d say the 21st, but 2024 is a leap year, so to be safe, the 22nd.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/10/2023 @ 7:15 pm
Well, Biden often misspeaks, but that implies that he put them there and knew that he’d put them there. I’m sure this will be clarified.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/10/2023 @ 7:17 pm
Well, Biden often misspeaks
Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/10/2023 @ 7:17 pm
Holy Euphemism, Batman!norcal (862cdb) — 1/10/2023 @ 7:23 pm
Except the full quote contradicts that.frosty (34c1d9) — 1/10/2023 @ 7:30 pm
Bud & Lou crack wise on Joey-you-know-who:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CiRhq-pfE4DCSCA (2d4b7d) — 1/10/2023 @ 7:30 pm
@84. Taking just that snippet, I agree with your timeline. But when you read the full quote, it’s a jumbled mess. That said, even reading the quote in its full incoherent context, I suspect your timeline is still correct. Here the whole thing again from your OP:
And it’s not just the timeline that’s incoherent. The second paragraph seems to contradict the first as to what he knew/knows about the documents. Like I said, the whole thing’s a mess. Shocker, I know.lurker (cd7cd4) — 1/10/2023 @ 7:50 pm
Biden caught on camera apparently mistaking Salvation Army for Secret Service during El Paso trip
President Biden visited the US-Mexico border for the first time in his presidency – and the first verified border trip during his decades in politics – at El Paso, Texas, on Sunday. The president spoke with members of the Border Patrol, walked along the towering wall separating Texas from Mexico, and visited a migrants center.As the president walked in at the migrants center, a woman said, “And here we have the folks from the Salvation Army. Biden then walked up to one of the uniformed men standing there and shook his hand.
“I spent some time with the Secret Service in Poland and Ukraine,” the president said. -FoxNews.com
‘Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy, and there is no place I’m going to
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle mornin’ I’ll come followin’ you…’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Swqw5a8I4b4DCSCA (2d4b7d) — 1/10/2023 @ 8:40 pm
A Byrdbrain?!DCSCA (2d4b7d) — 1/10/2023 @ 8:41 pm
Love seeing the pretzel twisting. It’s good for flexibility.NJRob (eb56c3) — 1/10/2023 @ 8:42 pm
It’s like every week there’s some new confirmation that we live in the crazy times.frosty (34c1d9) — 1/10/2023 @ 8:49 pm
Two issues corporate media is trying to make one. One: both trump and biden took classified documents. Two only trump tried to not return them. Separate crimes that corporate media is trying to make one to defend biden. We still don’t know what was in ukraine document burisma? hunter? UK doc. steel dossier? clinton/biden mercy and for giveness. Trump law and order not a good look. What about Obama and Bush did they keep secret documents? There was something in the news about classified documents that Obama was found to have.asset (2bfc00) — 1/10/2023 @ 11:22 pm
The optics are just fine for Biden. He looks bad in January 2023, when it doesn’t really matter. He looked OK-ish in November 2022 when it did matter. By November, 2024, if he looks bad, it won’t be because of this disclosure.
In January 2023 — we can attempt to find an equivalency with the Trump situation but that will likely make everyone trying that look foolish. On the scope of security disasters, this ranks below Trump, Hillary, and Mr. Underpants Berger. There was no attempt to destroy or hide documents (as far as we can tell) and there was no angry attempt to retain documents that shouldn’t be retained.Appalled (9a397b) — 1/11/2023 @ 6:06 am
I think there is enough foolishness to go around. Namely, the instant and reflexive “this is different so it’s not a problem” response we’re seeing in the media and from the usual sources.
In Jan/2023 we don’t know what was in the Biden docs, when they were taken, who had access to them, etc. We don’t have anyway to evaluate the security implications.
It’s not hard to rank below HRC though. While she was SECSTATE she knowingly communicated classified information using unapproved and insecure means.
This seems to be an odd aspect of this story that I’ve noticed people focus on. That doesn’t have anything to do with the security implications or the underlying problem. Is it better that JB gives a rambling nonsensical answer and pretends to be clueless instead of getting irritated and angry? We’ve seen JB do irritated and angry and it won’t take much questioning on this for that to come out. Either way that has nothing to do with how equivalent this situations are in a material sense.frosty (f0ada5) — 1/11/2023 @ 7:09 am
Sammy, she regularly requested stuff to be printed at the SCIF. That’s not unusual, but risky af, as printed its still classified and governed by the usual laws/regulations. The issue, is that those information was found on her UNCLAS server, and some looked to be transcribed.whembly (b00359) — 1/11/2023 @ 7:25 am
This commenter on Althouse offers some context and perspective. FWIW.
https://althouse.blogspot.com/2023/01/aggravating-factors.html?showComment=1673444438406#c4077866521708351939ColoComment (c11dab) — 1/11/2023 @ 8:06 am
frosty — Let’s stipulate that we don’t know what the documents Biden had are. The idea that one of them deals with Ukraine no doubt raises your eyebrows, even though that’s when Russia took Crimea. I’d like to know more and so would you.
Moving from that — we know that there were repeated attempts to get classified materials back from Trump, and these attempts were not successful. According to the information we currently have, nobody asked Biden for this stuff (they did not know he had it) and Biden provided it promptly upon discovery. That’s a significant difference on how Biden’s team addressed this.
The way I look at it — security rules get violated all the time. They are sacrificed on the altar of convenience. People take documents out of secure locations so that they can read them from home. They forget they have them; they don’t understand the big deal; etc. What bothers me when these incidents happen is when it looks like people are trying to hide things. (Both Hillary and Sandy Berger fit this category.) Nothing suggests Biden was trying to take documents out of circulation. (If that Ukraine thing turns out to be a confidential examination of Hunter Biden’s activities — then I will change my mind on that.) I also think nothing suggests Trump was trying to hide anything. He was just being mulish about returning things he was not entitled to keep. If he gets indicted for this, it will likely be out of simple frustration with his conduct, rather than any great crime. (Please note — I don’t support Trump being indicted for this kind of law violation.)Appalled (0007a7) — 1/11/2023 @ 8:37 am
Holy Euphemism, Batman!
Not at all. Sure, sometimes he lies, but not everything that he says that might be a lie, is a lie. He just sometimes says really stupid things, or phrases things so poorly that they sound like stupid lies.
I wish that I could blame this on his advanced age, but I can’t — he’s always done this and I think he finds it useful to be maddeningly imprecise. That way his actual lies can be conflated with his misstatements or more easily retconned into something else.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/11/2023 @ 9:32 am
All in all, though, this is simply a tempest in a slow news cycle. It will be displaced by the first important thing that comes up.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/11/2023 @ 9:34 am
Exclusive: US intelligence materials related to Ukraine, Iran and UK found in Biden’s private office, source tells CNN
I do wonder what the topics of these briefings might be.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/11/2023 @ 9:58 am
Sure, sometimes he lies, but not everything that he says that might be a lie, is a lie.
50 years of evidence to the contrary.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CiRhq-pfE4DCSCA (93b678) — 1/11/2023 @ 10:19 am
I really have no idea which Democrats may have been involved or on whose behalf the Biden classified documents story may have been leaked but the speculation that someone inside the party engineered it seems at least plausible. Why would media outlets that are always friendly to the Democrats suddenly be giving this story such play? They usually try to minimize any embarrassments for Biden, not play them up. I don’t know enough about the factions inside the Democratic party, or the personal alliances or antagonisms, even to hazard a guess. And like much conspiratorial speculation that is fun to entertain it may be the real explanation is more prosaic. But after a while, it becomes hard to believe that any leak, or sudden media campaign, is just happenstance and you wonder if someone is behind it, and why.RL formerly in Glendale (48bc71) — 1/11/2023 @ 10:38 am
Biden possibly collected the documents, which included personal material like arrangements for his oldest son’s Beau’s funeral, while he was still vice president, and may have used them — or, I may add, a ghostwriter probably without a security clearance did – for a book which was published in November, 2017 and undoubtedly finished long before.
The book was called Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose >/i> The hardcover became available on Amazon on November 14, 2017.
When Biden or whoever was done with them, earlier in 2017, they then were probably taken to his office in Washington without being looked at.
The classified material included things (possibly CIA briefings) about Ukraine (the Maiden Revolution, annexation of Crimea) Iran (the Iran nuclear deal) and the United Kingdom (that would be about Brexit)
There may not be too much about these subjects in the book, but there may be a little:
Now those details might have come from the classified material. Iran and Brexit aren’t mentioned in this review.Sammy Finkelman (1d215a) — 1/11/2023 @ 12:38 pm
Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/11/2023 @ 9:58 am
The prospect of war between Russia and Ukraine in 2014 (because he threw that into the book) Iran’s nuclear program, and an evaluation of Brexit.Sammy Finkelman (1d215a) — 1/11/2023 @ 12:42 pm
98. whembly (b00359) — 1/11/2023 @ 7:25 am
I don’t know where she asked for it to be printed, but it couldn’t have been classified stuff, because she didn’t have access to it from her Blackberry.
Here’s an example:
It was a link she encountered on Twitter. (this had to do with the supposed provocation that led to the demonstration in Cairo.
This is not to say that some unknown classified material might have been typed in and sent to her server. Her lawyers omitted any attachments to the emails when they sent hard copies to the State Department.
But Hillary Clinton knew what to do when she wanted to secretly give people secrets. She talked on the telephone, (often to Sidney Blumenthal) or she invited people to her office on the 7th floor of the State Department.Sammy Finkelman (1d215a) — 1/11/2023 @ 12:57 pm
Here’s a description of what all these plz prints were:
That’s not unusual, but risky af, as printed its still classified and governed by the usual laws/regulations. The issue, is that those information was found on her UNCLAS server, and some looked to be transcribed.Sammy Finkelman (1d215a) — 1/11/2023 @ 12:58 pm
Biden aides find second batch of classified documents at new location
WASHINGTON — Aides to President Joe Biden have discovered at least one additional batch of classified documents in a location separate from the Washington office he used after leaving the Obama administration, according to a person familiar with the matter. The White House did not return a request for comment. The Justice Department had no comment. – NBCNews.com
Expect more dirty diapers to show up in the Biden hampers…
‘How could anybody be that irresponsible?’ – Squinty McStumblebum 9/18/22
IDIOT.DCSCA (efbc81) — 1/11/2023 @ 1:42 pm
@67/@105 Party establishment loves joe biden ;but doesn’t want him running in 2024. They prefer gavin newsome or buttgeig and will have to except AOC as veep so the left stays on board. Expect more of this to stop biden running in 2024.asset (6bbc1b) — 1/11/2023 @ 2:42 pm
110. Listening carefully to the news stories, the documents in the other place were not discovered now; they were leaked about now. Possibly a bit unexpectedly. The White House was not prepared to comment.Sammy Finkelman (5d5971) — 1/12/2023 @ 12:12 am
If enough of them do it, often enough, it will become “ordinary care”.nk (bb1548) — 1/12/2023 @ 7:32 am