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Here's how U.S. government documents are classified to keep sensitive information safe

42 Comments
By Jeffrey Fields

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For a so-called free country, the USA has far too many secrets. 99% of classified material should be available to the people who paid for it, the taxpayers.

President Donald Trump may contain material related to what The New York Times described as “some of the most highly classified programs run by the United States.” 

The use of hedge words to leave room for the author to deny his accusations is always interesting. Since 50% of Americans can't read past 6th grade level, most will interpret this sentence to mean that Trump is holding nuclear secrets. The three hedges that can obliterate this claim are "may", "related to" and "described as". So, the author can backtrack in three ways.

1- I said "may," as in "it may rain next week." I didn't say it would.

2- I said "related to," as in "butterflies in Beijing are related to North Atlantic weather patterns." Anything can be related to anything.

3- "Described." The New York Times used those words, not me. That's why I quoted them, to give me more room to backtrack.

The complete lack of transparency of government is all the more perverse because of the complete lack of privacy the government gives its citizens. Even files from 60 years ago are still top-secret. Nobody finds that suspicious?

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

They say: The US government, that means not only Trump but others too, simple!!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Three interesting developments occurred today in this espionage and national security incident involving former President Trump...

It was learned today that the source inside Trump's inner circle that tipped off the FBI that he had additional classified information stored in boxes was none other than.....Melania. She reportedly said she was afraid of being buried on a golf course...

Trump himself was interviewed today and asked how the information got to Mar-A-Lago. Trump replied "Mar-A-Lago? I've never been there - don't know where it is"..... Is that where Bill and Hillary live?"

Trump was also asked if he ever read classified material.... "Never, never read the stuff....BORING!"... I gave it all to Pence....ask him how it got to Mar-A-Lago"....

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Guess that shoe box under Trumps bed not a secure place for National secrets

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Melania. She reportedly said she was afraid of being buried on a golf course...

Allegedly said.

Trump himself was interviewed today and asked how the information got to Mar-A-Lago. Trump replied "Mar-A-Lago? I've never been there - don't know where it is"..... Is that where Bill and Hillary live?"

So Trump wants is supposed to give the Feds ammunition to try and nail him, not going to happen.

The complete lack of transparency of government is all the more perverse because of the complete lack of privacy the government gives its citizens. Even files from 60 years ago are still top-secret. Nobody finds that suspicious?

100% agreed

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Even files from 60 years ago are still top-secret. Nobody finds that suspicious?

100% agreed

And yet when it comes to the boxes that Trump took home, his tax returns, anything to do with Jan 6th your suspicions are completely absent and you'd rather nobody knew anything about it.

I find that equally suspicious.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

And yet when it comes to the boxes that Trump took home, his tax returns,

Irrelevant to the vast majority of Americans at the time.

anything to do with Jan 6th your suspicions are completely absent and you'd rather nobody knew anything about it.

Because he was already cooperating with the DOJ to hand over what they requested, but it seems now and looks like the Feds may have violated “constitutional 4th amendment rights”and it’s developing, but if true, the DOJ and FBI are in a world of stink.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Irrelevant to the vast majority of Americans at the time.

Wrong!

Relevance to you is irrelevant. But now we can see that you do not '100% agree'. You only wish stuff that is not politically embarassing to be visible.

Thanks for clearing that up.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Wrong! 

Nope, not while there is an active exchange between the two parties. Once the DOJ initiated a subpoena from there on any attempt with a former sitting President of trying to obtain ANY documents in any unresolved manner shall go through the proper chains of a peaceful resolution process which the former President did

Relevance to you is irrelevant.

No, witch hunts are not. Especially when other high profile politicians have done similar or worse if you are being honest and go with the history and facts of these people

But now we can see that you do not '100% agree'. You only wish stuff that is not politically embarassing to be visible. 

Embarrassing? The Feds are the ones that got embarrassed because not only did they not allow Trump’s lawyers to be present which is another violation of his 4th amendment rights, but the Feds wanted all security cameras off and someone decided to not listen to the agents and kept the cameras rolling, so that’s helpful to his side.

Thanks for clearing that up.

Sure

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

witch hunts The Feds 4th amendment rights other high profile politicians

Blah blah blah. Now this is irrelevant.

You've stated that you want top secret information from 60 years ago to be released because somehow it is relevant now, yet information that pertains to the current situation is irrelevant and should be withheld.

I'm sure this makes sense.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Why did Trump knowingly remove classified documents and what was his intent for them? Surely, there can be no support for his actions. Just removing the documents is a crime.

The bottom line here is simple. Destroying or stealing documents belonging to the United States government is a crime.

Presidential Records Act.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/why-trumps-mar-a-lago-document-dump-may-be-a-crime/2022/08/09/38932ca6-1850-11ed-b998-b2ab68f58468_story.html

According to some, Melania is the whistleblower. She does not want to be the First Lady again.

Who was the Mar-a-Lago whistleblower?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Why did Trump knowingly remove classified documents and what was his intent for them?

According to some here, it's irrelevant and they'd rather that nobody know or even be allowed to ask.

On the other hand, UFO stuff from 60 years ago is absolutely vital!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Blah blah blah. Now this is irrelevant. 

Ahh, you just want his goose cooked, you don’t want to hear the other sides egregious political violated acts, ruins the overall narrative.

You've stated that you want top secret information from 60 years ago to be released because somehow it is relevant now, yet information that pertains to the current situation is irrelevant and should be withheld.

I never said that, I already just explained to what the 2 parties were doing, but once again in their quick haste, the DOJ and the FBI made some serious critical errors and that’s going to cost them politically and legally.

Why did Trump knowingly remove classified documents and what was his intent for them?

Because he has the power to declassify them

Surely, there can be no support for his actions. Just removing the documents is a crime.

Ok, so what crime specifically? If there was a crime committed and the DOJ is so sure about it and the FBI, let’s see the affidavit and then we can see exactly what and why the warrant was requested, you want Trump to be transparent, well, what about the DOJ and the FBI? They definitely don’t have a history of being that. So, if they’re that confident in their actions, let’s see the affidavit.

The bottom line here is simple. Destroying or stealing documents belonging to the United States government is a crime.

Yes, but there is no proof whatsoever that Trump was in the process of doing that none especially when you have on RECORD him handing over boxes of documents. That argument won’t fly in a courtroom. Garland’s days are numbered, it’s just a matter of time now and Wray as well.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

According to some, Melania is the whistleblower. She does not want to be the First Lady again.

It’s the WaPo, take it with a grain of salt. No one cares what Bezos thinks.

Who was the Mar-a-Lago whistleblower?

We don’t know and might not for some time.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Our Trump supporting friends continue to flail and bluster with weak attempts to justify this clearly criminal behavior. Facts are facts....

Trump took (stole) 26 boxes of classified material out of the White House when he left in 2020. Some of this classified was TS/SCI material - the highest classification - and is not allowed outside a secure vault.

He kept this materiel insecure in closet where it could be accessed by anyone - even illegal immigrant maids. TS information is defined as that which if released could cause "the gravest" damage to our national security...

The National Archives realized that Trump had unauthorized records at Mar-A-Lago and Trump returned 15 boxes in Jan 2020 - after two years of it being insecure. He then lied and kept a remaining 11 boxes that should have been returned also.

Someone in his inner circle tipped off the FBI that he had retained this unauthorized material - and the DOJ issued a subpoena and requested Trump turn all his unauthorized classified in - he refused....

The DOJ then petitioned for a search warrant and searched Mar-A-Lago - discovering this additional TS/SCI info.

The claim that Trump could declassify this info is ridiculous - declassifying of classified is a complex process - a review must be made by a group of experts who insure that declassifying doesn't compromise our national security. It then goes to the Original Classification Authority for a decision, Once declassified, a message gets sent throughout the government informing everyone of the declassification. None of this occurred in 2020.

Trump wild claim that the FBI could have planted the info is beyond crazy - he and his his attorneys were able to watch the search via CCTV.

https://people.com/politics/trump-attorney-says-he-and-family-watched-fbi-search-via-security-feed/

This case is now one of the biggest and most serious national security violations in our history - ranking up with John Walker and his decades of stealing TS and sending it to the Soviets.

Trump will be indicted on a whole range of national security and espionage charges - ones wonders if he'll take "the 5th" again at his trial....it's likely his only defense...

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Trump will be indicted on a whole range of national security and espionage charges - ones wonders if he'll take "the 5th" again at his trial....it's likely his only defense...

The Feds seemed to have violated the overbreadth doctrine of the 4th Amendment requirement of particularity. The judge clearly rubber stamped the warrant request, DOJ clearly failed their ethical obligations, and the FBI patently violated Trump's Constitutional rights. Illegal seizure.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Ahh, you just want his goose cooked

Cooked? Dude, I want that traitorous thief deep fried and served up on a silver platter!

I never said that

Yes you did. You probably thought that nobody would notice your double standards, but I'm afraid they did.

You want stuff from 60 years ago to be public knowledge because it is relevant today, but current information about why an ex president has boxes of top secret stuff in his house is irrelevant and doesn't need to be known.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

bass4funk

you only know like the rest of us what is published in the media and social media. You have zero insider contacts.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Cooked? Dude, I want that traitorous thief deep fried and served up on a silver platter!

Hmm, so I’m glad your honest, this is more about being vindictive than for searching the truth, can’t knock someone for being honest. But at least you in many ways have shown why the Dems and the Feds are in trouble and have overplayed their hand (once again) in trying to take this guy down

Yes you did.

No, I did not.

You probably thought that nobody would notice your double standards, but I'm afraid they did.

No double standards here, no need for it 

You want stuff from 60 years ago to be public knowledge because it is relevant today, but current information about why an ex president has boxes of top secret stuff in his house is irrelevant and doesn't need to be known.

Already went through that. And as I have said before the parties were in negotiation to settle the requested documents, the DOJ should’ve followed protocol and provide another subpoena and take it from there, there was no reason to violate his fourth amendment right… now if he was going to destroy any sensitive material that was very hard to do while he’s in New York, another problem that the feds have to deal with now, the blow back is going to be quite fears going forward on these people. Again, looking forward to next year. The Feds are helping this guy and they don’t see it.

you only know like the rest of us

You were the one that’s throughout there that Melania was the whistle blower, you don’t know that

what is published in the media and social media. You have zero insider contacts.

First of all Jeff Bezos hates Trump with a passion and washing the post is his newspaper, and second you have no idea who I know or who I have contacts to, you don’t know me.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

bass4funk

Can you think why Trump would remove classified documents from the White House when he left?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Cooked? Dude, I want that traitorous thief deep fried and served up on a silver platter!

Hmm, so I’m glad your honest,

100%!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Trump will be indicted on a whole range of national security and espionage charges - ones wonders if he'll take "the 5th" again at his trial....it's likely his only defense...

The Feds seemed to have violated the overbreadth doctrine of the 4th Amendment requirement of particularity. The judge clearly rubber stamped the warrant request, DOJ clearly failed their ethical obligations, and the FBI patently violated Trump's Constitutional rights. Illegal seizure.

Sure - good luck proving that in court - especially when we learned today that a Trump lawyer signed a letter in June saying "there was no classified at Mar-A-Lago"....

A lawyer for former U.S. President Donald Trump signed a statement in June that said all classified material held in boxes at Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence had been returned to the government.

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/trump-lawyer-june-said-classified-material-had-been-returned-ny-times-2022-08-13/

So, Trump's lawyer said in writing In June that there was no more classified but then in August the FBI finds 11 more boxes...wanna explain that one?

One thing is for sure, more people than just Trump will be going to jail...

7 ( +8 / -1 )

So, Trump's lawyer said in writing In June that there was no more classified but then in August the FBI finds 11 more boxes...wanna explain that one?

Ooh, let me, let me. “The FBI planted it!”

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Sure - good luck proving that in court -

That won't be hard to do since his team already have the documents and compliance records and logs on file, not to mention, his lawyers were not allowed to be present which is a clear violation of his 1st and 4th amendments.

One thing is for sure, more people than just Trump will be going to jail...

No, he won't, if he really did break any laws, they would have nabbed him at Trump Towers and not secretly go down to Florida. These people are in a world of hurt within the next coming months

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

bass4funk

Can you think why Trump would remove classified documents from the White House when he left?

I already answered that and if you want to get critical about Trump taking classified documents then you need to come down hard on other powerful politicians that have done the same and not have their residence raided.

Really no you didn't dude.

Which other powerful politicians removed classified documents from the White House?

I did not say.

"According to some, Melania is the whistleblower. She does not want to be the First Lady again."

I guess you miss understood my opening words. "According to some......." I did not say it

We all know some American dude living in Japan who has zero insider contacts and publishes his info on JT.

Again, you don't know anything about me, absolutely nothing.

We know lots because you post so much about yourself. Private plane, a ranch in Texas. Avid gun collector in the US. 20 weapons. Not a member of the Republican party. Thought Trump would lose in 2016. Brother a cop.

We also know you have zero insider info.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

his lawyers were not allowed to be present which is a clear violation of his 1st and 4th amendments.

How so?

How can the seizure of classified documents be unreasonable when the 4th states

unreasonable searches and seizures by the government.

Collecting classified papers is unreasonable?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Really no you didn't dude.

I did scroll up and look at the other previous posts, dude.

Which other powerful politicians removed classified documents from the White House?

https://theintercept.com/2022/08/11/trump-fbi-mar-a-lago-classified-documents-lbj/

https://www.judicialwatch.org/judicial-watch-uncovers-more-classified-emails-in-hillary-clintons-unsecure-email-system/

I guess you miss understood

Yes, you did.

We know lots

But you don't know me, or what I know so save it.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

The Constitution, through the Fourth Amendment, protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. The Fourth Amendment, however, is not a guarantee against all searches and seizures, but only those that are deemed unreasonable under the law.

Searches and seizures inside a home without a warrant are presumptively unreasonable.

Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573 (1980).

However, there are some exceptions. A warrantless search may be lawful:

If an officer is given consent to search; Davis v. United States, 328 U.S. 582 (1946)

If the search is incident to a lawful arrest; United States v. Robinson, 414 U.S. 218 (1973)

If there is probable cause to search and exigent circumstances; Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573 (1980)

If the items are in plain view; Maryland v. Macon, 472 U.S. 463 (1985).

https://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/educational-resources/about-educational-outreach/activity-resources/what-does-0

No mention in the 4th amendment about lawyers.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Sure - good luck proving that in court -

That won't be hard to do since his team already have the documents and compliance records and logs on file, not to mention, his lawyers were not allowed to be present which is a clear violation of his 1st and 4th amendments.

Sure, with an FBI Director appointed by Trump and a federal judge appointed by Trump also. ROFL...

One thing is for sure, more people than just Trump will be going to jail...

No, he won't,

Really? So once again explain why Trump's lawyer said in writing no classified at Mar-A-Lago when the FBI found 11 boxes?

These people are in a world of hurt within the next coming months

Indeed - the indictments of Trump and everyone else that knew the classified was there at Mar-A-Lago and lied about it are now are a forgone conclusion...

He's finished, done, finito...he better start practicing his license-plate making skills...

And every Repub running this Fall will be asked, do you support keeping our nations most sensitive secrets insecure in a closet for over two years?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The Fourth Amendment is quite clear that our houses are to be protected against unreasonable searches, and that any effort by the government to do so requires a warrant based upon probable cause, supported by an oath or affirmation, and providing a specific description of what or who is to be searched and seized.

This is exactly where the Feds goofed up. Now Garland has put his political neck on the chopping block and that axe is about to come down.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

bass4funk

The Fourth Amendment is quite clear that our houses are to be protected against unreasonable searches, and that any effort by the government to do so requires a warrant based upon probable cause, supported by an oath or affirmation, and providing a specific description of what or who is to be searched and seized.

First you say because Trump's lawyers were not present it was against his rights of the 4th Amendment, which does not say lawyers must be present.

This is exactly where the Feds goofed up. Now Garland has put his political neck on the chopping block and that axe is about to come down.

Then you generalize without giving us correct info on why you think the "feds goofed up" and Garland and his neck.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

requires a warrant

They had that. It's all square

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The Fourth Amendment is quite clear that our houses are to be protected against unreasonable searches, and that any effort by the government to do so requires a warrant based upon probable cause, supported by an oath or affirmation, and providing a specific description of what or who is to be searched and seized.

Indeed - so Wray, appointed by Trump, went to a federal judge, appointed by Trump, showing a letter from a Trump lawyer in June saying no classified materiel remained at Mar-A-Lago, along with an affidavit from a Trump insider testifying that classified material, to include TS/SCI, did in fact remain at Mar-A-Lago...

Now Garland has put his political neck on the chopping block and that axe is about to come down.

Substitute Garland for Donald J. Trump and you nailed it - J as in jailbird...

Third time - explain why Trump's lawyer lied in writing saying in Jun there was no classified at Mar-A-Lago....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

First you say because Trump's lawyers were not present it

Yes

was against his rights of the 4th Amendment,

Yes

which does not say lawyers must be present.

Yes, it does.

The FBI seized classified records from Trump's Palm Beach home during its unprecedented Monday morning raid, including some marked as top secret. But the former president is disputing the classification, saying the records have been declassified.

The warrant and property receipt from the FBI’s Monday search were formally unsealed Friday afternoon.

FBI SEIZED CLASSIFIED RECORDS FROM MAR-A-LAGO DURING SEARCH OF TRUMP RESIDENCE

Attorney-client privilege refers to a legal privilege that keeps communications between an attorney and their client confidential. 

Sources told Fox News that some records could be covered by executive privilege, which gives the president of the United States and other officials within the executive branch the authority to withhold certain sensitive forms of advice and consultation between the president and senior advisors. 

Then you generalize

I didn't just telling you how the law plays out, put your personal European feelings aside, they help no one in my country.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

bass4funk

There is no mention of the word lawyer in the 4th.

The FBI seized classified records from Trump's Palm Beach home during its unprecedented Monday morning raid, including some marked as top secret. But the former president is disputing the classification, saying the records have been declassified.

All declassified documents must be made by a sitting president, not an ex-president. All declassified documents are stamped with the date of the declassification.

The warrant and property receipt from the FBI’s Monday search were formally unsealed Friday afternoon.

FBI SEIZED CLASSIFIED RECORDS FROM MAR-A-LAGO DURING SEARCH OF TRUMP RESIDENCE

Attorney-client privilege refers to a legal privilege that keeps communications between an attorney and their client confidential. 

Which Trump agreed to.

Sources told Fox News that some records could be covered by executive privilege, which gives the president of the United States and other officials within the executive branch the authority to withhold certain sensitive forms of advice and consultation between the president and senior advisors. 

FAUX NEWS

What is it you say ROTL?

No president is allowed to remove classified documents.

Then you generalize

I didn't just telling you how the law plays out, put your personal European feelings aside, they help no one in my country.

I didn't say I was European. You know nothing about me.

I just want you to back up your opinions and arguments with real facts. Simple really.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

There is no mention of the word lawyer in the 4th.

You are not his lawyer, he doesn't have to mention it to you.

All declassified documents must be made by a sitting president, not an ex-president. All declassified documents are stamped with the date of the declassification.

Which is was in negotiations with the DOJ to return, it's on record, so if the Feds want to gripe about any wrongdoing then they have to explain why he did comply from the start and if he was trying to hid or Destroy evidence, what proof and was there intent and that will be their next hurdle to deal with because he already initially complied. 

Which Trump agreed to.

Both sides did.

FAUX NEWS

What is it you say ROTL?

Good, like everyone else, ignore the largest political cable news source, they did in the Mueller, both failed impeachments and now this bogus raid.

No president is allowed to remove classified documents.

Depends, if you want to penalize him then you need to do it to a bunch of other politicians as well that have done the same.

I didn't say I was European.

Not this time.

I just want you to back up your opinions

I did.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

4th Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

No mention of lawyers being present.

Only classified documents can be declassified by a sitting president. Some documents can never be declassified by a president. Nuclear secrets can not be declassified.

FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago concerned the existence of classified material at Trump’s Florida golf resort.

Classified information may be made available to a person only when the possessor of the information establishes that the person has a valid “need to know” and the access is essential to the accomplishment of official government duties.

Even a sitting president does not have access to all classified documents.

"What are the three requirements to access classified information?

(a) A person may have access to classified information provided that: (1) a favorable determination of eligibility for access has been made by an agency head or the agency head's designee; (2) the person has signed an approved nondisclosure agreement; and. (3) the person has a need-to-know the information."

https://www.archives.gov/about/laws/appendix/12958.html

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It doesn't have to, that is his first amendment right under the attorney client privilege act. So now they violated the 1st as wells the 4th amendment rights of the man.

Only classified documents can be declassified by a sitting president. Some documents can never be declassified by a president. Nuclear secrets can not be declassified.

So that is why he was negotiating to turn them over.

Classified information may be made available to a person only when the possessor of the information establishes that the person has a valid “need to know” and the access is essential to the accomplishment of official government duties.

You are repeating yourself, we went through this, this is why lawyers from both sides agreed to handle this respectively and quietly 

Again, Garland is heading for a serious hottest clash and by next year, he may very well be looking down a barrel of an impeachment gun.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Trump denied in June that he had any more classified documents. Why were they not handed over during the first visit from the National Archive?

Trump's lawyer told the DOJ in June that ALL classified documents at Mar-a-Lago had been returned to the government. He lied. The FBI raid happened in August.

An ex-president can not remove classified documents from the White House to his private residence. An ex-president can not declassify documents.

No declassified docents were found at Mar-a-Logo but the FBI found classified ones.

Like you always say

"if you do the crime, then do the time."

Bingo

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Trump denied in June that he had any more classified documents. Why were they not handed over during the first visit from the National Archive?

Then you send another subpoena.

Trump's lawyer told the DOJ in June that ALL classified documents at Mar-a-Lago had been returned to the government. He lied. The FBI raid happened in August.

Then you continue the proper channels of communications.

An ex-president can not remove classified documents from the White House to his private residence. An ex-president can not declassify documents.

We went through that already, Trump was in negotioans already.

No declassified docents were found at Mar-a-Logo but the FBI found classified ones.

Let's see the affidavit.

Like you always say

"if you do the crime, then do the time."

I hope Garland is thinking about that deeply.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Two questions:

Who helped the former President move the boxes?

Who helped the former President know what to take?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Trump denied in June that he had any more classified documents. Why were they not handed over during the first visit from the National Archive?

Then you send another subpoena.

Ridiculous. He lied in Jan when he said he returned all the docs, then he and his lawyer lied again in Jun when the attorney said IN WRITING that all classified had been returned....

Trump's lawyer told the DOJ in June that ALL classified documents at Mar-a-Lago had been returned to the government. He lied. The FBI raid happened in August.

Then you continue the proper channels of communications.

For the fourth time, why did Trump's lawyer lie in writing to the FBI in June when he said ALL THE CLASSIFED HAD BEEN RETURNED?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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