10 January 2023

Not This Shit Again!

Now the cable networks are acting like the discovery of classified documents in Biden's old offices is the biggest scandal since Watergate.

Clearly there was some mishandling of documents, but it was 10 documents, not boxes, and once discovered, it was promptly reported, and the documents were promptly turned over to the National Archives.

This does not mean that someone might have mishandled classified documents, and that is potentially a big deal, but the FBI did not have to raid Joe Biden's offices to get the documents back:

After serving as Barack Obama’s vice president for eight years, Joe Biden did what high-profile former politicians so often do: He set up a think tank at a prominent university.

Biden’s was called the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, headquartered at the University of Pennsylvania. But unlike other elected officials and other such institutions, Biden’s engagement with the Penn Biden Center was soon back-burnered. By April 2019, he was a candidate for the presidency.

In November, almost exactly two years after Biden’s election, attorneys for the president were emptying an office at the center when, according to their account, they discovered about 10 documents bearing classification markings. The next day, the documents were turned over to the National Archives. The Justice Department is now reviewing them.


At this point, we don’t know much about the Biden documents beyond what his team has made public, which is certainly an important caveat. According to the Biden team’s statement, the documents were found in a locked closet and quickly turned over to the government. What they contain is unclear, as is their current classification level or status. (There are, of course, numerous existing documents that are no longer classified but which may nonetheless still carry classification markings.) One person, tongue presumably in cheek, told CBS News that the documents did not contain nuclear secrets.

We know a bit more about the Trump documents. We know that the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago turned up dozens of documents with classification markings in multiple locations around the facility. We know that one box alone in Trump’s office at the event facility, a room where he regularly entertained guests, held more than a dozen documents.

We also know that the seizure of those documents came only after a lengthy effort to secure documents (both classified and nonclassified) that were produced during his presidency and were therefore government property. The investigation into Trump’s documents was triggered in May 2021 when the National Archives contacted Trump’s team about documents it knew existed but were not in its possession. (The country’s archivist, watching Trump leave the White House the previous January, later mentioned wondering what was in the boxes Trump’s staff was loading into Marine One.) Over the next few months, the Archives and Trump’s team went back and forth on taking possession of the material.

So the information we have at this point is that documents were found that had classification markings, but we do not know whether they were still classified, they kept in a secure location, and when discovered, they were promptly turned over to the National Archives.

At this point, it should be a page 1 below the fold story, but the cable networks leading with this, CNN spent about ¼ of their air time on this from 5 pm to 11 pm, for example, is nuts.

They should be flooding the zone with this with reporters, not mindlessly speculating on air.


Anonymous said...

Trying to prove they aren’t the “liberal media” to people who will never change their opinion.

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