The Wall Street Journal published a few moments ago a story indicating that their reporters have seen the inventory of documents taken from Mar a Lago on Monday by the FBI. According to the Journal report, the FBI “removed 11 sets of classified documents, including some marked as top secret and meant to be only available in special government facilities.”
In civilian-speak, the “special government facilities” referred to in the story is likely a SCIF, or Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility. These facilities can range from temporary secure rooms to specially constructed rooms-within-rooms that are shielded from electronic surveillance so that conversations can be held without a hostile foreign power listening in. Some of the SCIFs are set up permanently in places like the White House, State Department, Justice Department, Pentagon and elsewhere because highly classified documents and information are dealt with on a daily basis.
A SCIF is the kind of ultra-secure facility used to view ultra-classified secrets about nuclear weapons or our nuclear plans.
There is no SCIF at Mar a Lago, and even if one had been constructed there, it would have been rendered or declared out-of-service after Trump left office.
The Journal went on to report: “The list includes references to one set of documents marked as “Various classified/TS/SCI documents,” an abbreviation that refers to top-secret/sensitive compartmented information. It also says agents collected four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents, and three sets of confidential documents. The list didn’t provide any more details about the substance of the documents.”
It is a federal crime to remove top secret or TS/SCI documents from government buildings. Clinton’s national security adviser, Sandy Berger, was prosecuted and convicted of a misdemeanor offense of doing just that after he left office and “borrowed” some secret documents he had been given access to by the National Archives.
The Journal did not get access to the affidavit that accompanied the request for the search warrant for Trump’s residence. That affidavit would provide the information about why the DOJ had probable cause to believe a crime had been committed and that evidence of the crime could be found at Mar a Lago. A former member of the Department of Justice just speculated on MSNBC that the affidavit would have included “double probable cause” of a crime judging by what is on the list of items recovered from Mar a Lago that has been seen by the Wall Street Journal.
Half-hour until the hearing in Florida on the DOJ motion to release the search warrant and inventory, although it is probably going to be anti-climactic now that the Journal has published a report indicating they have seen both documents.
Stay tuned. It’s going to get interesting.
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