Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

National security experts criticize Biden’s handling of classified documents

By 37ci3 Feb17,2024

Controversy over the characterization of special prosecutor Robert Huron Memoir of President Joe Biden covered one The most surprising findings in his report: Evidence that Biden deliberately withheld classified materials he stayed at home for years and could not hand them over.

After a year-long investigation, Hur found that the evidence of “intentional detention” — the language used in the criminal code — was not strong enough to justify the charge. And he detailed why the criminal charges against former President Donald Trump over his handling of classified materials involve more serious allegations of wrongdoing than Biden’s case.

For Democrats, Huron’s revelation that there is no criminal case against the president is the most important speech.

But for some national security experts, Biden’s disclosure to a ghostwriter that he discovered classified documents at his Virginia home in 2017 — which he never returned without a trace — was unexpected and unsettling. Biden was found to have disclosed classified information to his dreamer at least three times and kept notebooks full of state secrets in unlocked drawers in his home office.

They said a high-ranking public official like Biden should be held to a higher ethical standard than whether a jury convicted him of a felony.

“It may not be a crime, but it’s reckless and terrible because you have no idea what sources and methods you’re putting at risk,” said Chuck Rosenberg, NBC News’ legal correspondent and former federal prosecutor. “Someone who has served as Vice President of the United States should know better.”

White House spokesman Ian Sams said the Hur report “finds a body of evidence that does not actually support deliberate withholding.”

“The report also notes how in early 2017, the president found another classified classified document and presented it through an aide, which shows exactly what he told the special counsel.” “If he had found classified documents, he would have returned them.”

Sams also noted that the Hur report failed to establish that prosecutors knew Biden knew the information was confidential when he shared it with the ghostwriter.

Biden, who has been immersed in the world of state secrets for decades, has taken a firm position on working with classified documents. In September 2022, when asked about Trump keeping classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home, he replied: “How could that happen? How could a person be so irresponsible?”

When classified documents were discovered in his Delaware garage and other locations in December 2022, he said he was surprised, adding, “People know I take classified documents and classified information seriously.”

But Huron’s report said the documents, found in a box in Biden’s garage, many of which were classified, mostly related to his role in opposing the Obama administration’s 2009 troop surge in Afghanistan. Some were classified as “top secret”. When they were discovered in late 2022, Biden’s team immediately called the FBI.

The special counsel said the evidence showed the documents were the same ones cited by Biden in 2017, when he said in a taped interview that he “found all the classified stuff downstairs” in the Virginia home he rented after breaking up with a dreamer. vice presidency. The special prosecutor found no evidence of any classified documents being handed over at that time.

That’s perhaps the report’s most damning finding: Biden knew he was declassifying the documents in 2017, but there’s no evidence he took steps to turn them over.

But the report says the special prosecutor was unable to definitively identify those documents and therefore prosecutors failed to prove to the jury what the 2017 comment referred to.

Again, the report contradicted this message The White House announced for months: Biden did not know he was storing classified documents in his home and office.

White House spokesman Sams said he believed Biden was referring to a handwritten letter the special counsel had sent to President Barack Obama.

But Hur’s report says Biden “had no recollection of the incident” — a particularly important factor that Justice Department officials said led Hur to make controversial assessments of Biden’s mental state, including whether he would appear to the jury to be “one.” a sympathetic, well-intentioned old man with a weak memory.”

Ghost writer Mark Zvonitzer was helping Biden write a memoir about his son’s death called “”.Promise me, father.”

The report said Biden shared classified information with Zvonitzer three times from notebooks he compiled while in office. Biden then stored these laptops in unsafe locations, he says.

The report also said that “the evidence strongly suggests” that Biden knew the notebooks contained classified information. But he also concedes that prosecutors won’t be able to prove to the jury that the exact parts Biden read to the ghostwriter were classified.

The report notes that other presidents, including Ronald Reagan, took home notebooks or diaries containing classified information and were never prosecuted. And Biden is said to believe he has the right to keep his notebooks. So it will be difficult to prosecute.

Still, there were warning signs. Hur’s report found that in October 2016, when then-Vice President Biden was collecting notebooks to use to write his memoirs, a military aide in his office expressed concern that the notes contained classified material. Assistant the immediate supervisor disagreed, so he wrote an email for the record, saying he believed “these records were mishandled.”

In another case, the report said, a lawyer working in the vice president’s office noticed that some of the notecards he collected “contain notes on the President’s Daily Information,” which contains the most sensitive intelligence collected by the U.S. government.

Mark Zaid, a lawyer who specializes in classified information cases, said Hur’s results were “worse than I would have expected given the president’s conduct over the years. But even then, none of this surprised me.”

“His behavior was emblematic of what we’ve always seen with past senior public officials,” Zaid said. “This sends a terrible message to the workforce that our senior management is not responsible for the mishandling of classified information.”

A typical client who did what Biden did likely wouldn’t be prosecuted, Zaid said, but “they would certainly face the loss of a federal job and/or security clearance.”

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