Aug 27, 2022 - Politics & Policy

U.S. intelligence to review security risks from Trump's Mar-a-Lago documents

Mar-A-Lago is seen August 16, 2022 a week after the FBI raided the home of former President Trump.
Mar-A-Lago after the FBI raid. Photo: Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.S. intelligence officials plan to evaluate the natural security risks of the top secret documents obtained at former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told lawmakers in a letter sent Friday.

The big picture: On Friday, the Department of Justice released a redacted version of the affidavit that led to the Mar-a-Lago search. The unsealed document said boxes obtained at the residence had a mix of confidential, secret and top secret documents.

Driving the news: Haines said in a letter to House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) that her office plans to investigate "the potential risk to national security that would result from the disclosure of the relevant documents," according to Politico.

  • “The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) are working together to facilitate a classification review of relevant materials, including those recovered during the search,” Haines wrote, Politico reports.
  • She said in the letter the investigation will “not unduly interfere with DOJ’s ongoing criminal investigation.”
  • Politico was the first to report the story. Axios has also viewed a copy of the letter.
  • Haines' office did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

What they're saying: “We are pleased that in response to our inquiry, Director Haines has confirmed that the Intelligence Community and Department of Justice are assessing the damage caused by the improper storage of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago," Schiff and Maloney said in a statement sent to Axios.

  • "The DOJ affidavit, partially unsealed yesterday, affirms our grave concern that among the documents stored at Mar-a-Lago were those that could endanger human sources. It is critical that the IC move swiftly to assess and, if necessary, to mitigate the damage done — a process that should proceed in parallel with DOJ’s criminal investigation.”

Context: The unsealed affidavit released Friday unveiled the evidence for the FBI's search at former President Trump's home. It revealed the contents of 14 of the 15 boxes recovered by the National Archives and Record Administration earlier this year.

  • The boxes contained 184 documents, 67 of which were confidential, 92 marked as secret and 25 marked as top secret.
  • The DOJ said in the affidavit that "there is probable cause to believe that additional documents that contain classified NDI [national defense information] or that are Presidential records subject to record retention requirements currently remain at the PREMISES.”

Go deeper: Read the redacted FBI affidavit for Trump's home released by U.S. DOJ

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