More top-secret documents were revealed in the aftermath of the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago and it has the global intelligence community going nuclear.
Documents detailing the nuclear capability of a foreign government were among the property seized during the August 8th retrieval. Though the country’s name hasn’t been released, it has heightened concerns in the intelligence community.
Assessing the threat to national security has been a priority and the development that nuclear intelligence on a country outside our own could pose risks to our foreign relationships.
According to The Washington Post:
“Some of the seized documents detail top-secret U.S. operations so closely guarded that many senior national security officials are kept in the dark about them. Only the president, some members of his Cabinet or anear-Cabinet-level official could authorize other government officials to know details of these special-access programs, according to people familiar with the search, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive details of an ongoing investigation.”
The level of clearance required for some of the documents goes above the top-secret level and is on a strictly “need to know” basis.
For over a year and a half, former President Trump stored documents at his Palm Beach estate, engaging in a cat-and-mouse game with the Department of Justice to have the sensitive and classified materials returned to the federal government where he no longer worked.
“Records that deal with such programs are kept under lock and key, almost always in a secure compartmented information facility, with a designated control officer to keep careful tabs on their location.”
It wasn’t bad enough that Trump was storing 184 classified documents at his Palm Beach country club, prompting NARA to refer discovery to Justice Department, which sought a warrant.
Now things have gone nuclear—literally.
Just days after the search, The Washington Post reported that the FBI was looking for nuclear documents, but it wasn’t revealed whether it involved that proprietary to other nations.
In an unpopular and possibly illegal opinion, criticized by legal experts on both sides of the aisle including an amicus brief filed by longtime Republican federal prosecutors and high-level government officials, Trump-appointed judge Aileen Cannon granted Trump’s motion for injunctive relief, appointing a special master to review the FBI seized documents and temporarily halting the DOJ’s criminal investigation.
This newest revelation will likely complicate an already unprecedented and politically explosive situation. The Washington Post wrote:
“Material about nuclear weapons is especially sensitive and usually restricted to a small number of government officials, experts said. Publicizing details about U.S. weapons could provide an intelligence road map to adversaries seeking to build ways of countering those systems. And other countries might view exposing their nuclear secrets as a threat, experts said.”
With Trump playing fast and loose with top secret materials and using the judicial system as his “get out of free” card, hopefully, the DOJ’s investigation will be allowed to resume before any more damage is done.
A risk assessment is being conducted by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Original reporting by Delvin Barrett and Carol D. Leonig at The Washington Post.
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