In pursuing the unprecedented search of Donald Trump's residence on
Monday, the FBI was seeking to retrieve Top Secret and "compartmented"
documents dealing with intelligence "sources and methods," two federal
government sources tell Newsweek—documents with the potential to reveal
U.S. intelligence sources, including human sources on the American
This greatly complicates any public discussion of the documents or any
substantiation of Trump's potential violation of U.S. law. The sources,
who were briefed on the investigation, requested anonymity in order to
discuss sensitive information.
"Compartmented" is a specific term meaning "classified information
concerning or derived from intelligence sources, methods, or analytical
processes, which is required to be handled within formal access control
systems established by the Director of National Intelligence." It includes
a variety of different access categories—for example, human, intercept,
satellite sources—each of which limits how many people can know the nature
of the compartment. One of the government sources says that "special
access program" information was involved in the Mar-a-Lago case, a further
category of information limited to an even smaller group of people.
Intelligence sources familiar with the classification system and the
investigation say that neither the search warrant nor the inventory, if
unsealed, will likely answer most people's questions about whether the
search was necessary.
"In order to prove that this was a matter of national security and
essential to be done in this way, some detail on what Trump was keeping
will have to be revealed," one intelligence officer, granted anonymity to
speak about an ongoing investigation, tells Newsweek. "That might be
difficult for the government precisely because of the sensitivity of the
Under normal circumstances, investigators write a detailed list of all the
materials taken from a person or property that is searched, filing a copy
of that inventory with the court that approved the search warrant. But in
the case of classified documents, the inventory list might be
intentionally vague: for example, "ten documents, numbered 1 through 10,
consisting of 65 pages, stamped Top Secret and above." Since the
assumption is that the search warrant might become public, neither the
inventory nor the search warrant would include any classified information.
The former president does not have authority to declassify such documents,
intelligence sources say, because they are classified under statute rather
than by executive order. Trump's possession of those documents and the
fact that he was secreting them away came to light in the course of a
multi-month federal government investigation that focused on the status of
presidential records taken from the White House.
On Monday morning, FBI agents and technicians arrived at Donald Trump's
Florida residence and presented the former president's attorneys a search
warrant to retrieve highly classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. According
to Trump spokespeople, the FBI investigators were focused on three rooms
at the residence. Trump said that the FBI had broken into at least one
safe of his, presumably in the Trump office or bedroom where it was found.
The information as to the whereabouts of the documents, Newsweek
previously reported, came from a confidential human source, presumably
someone inside the Trump camp. While not acknowledging any details of the
investigation, on Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland stated that
the Justice Department was asking that the search warrant and the
inventory of property taken from Mar-a-Lago be released by the court. That
request has to be agreed to—officially, not just in public statements—by
Given the political firestorm that the search at Mar-a-Lago provoked,
questions about the documents are of critical importance. If they were
merely "routine," as Trump insists, then the search will be seen as
politically motivated. The fury might be quelled if the documents are
indeed revealed to be highly classified and sensitive, and the Justice
Department can prove that the former president was holding onto them with
no intention of giving them back. The public might conclude that the
search was valid and necessary.
The road to the search at Mar-a-Lago began 18 months ago in the transition
from the Trump to the Biden administration. In inventorying presidential
records, the National Archives and Records Administration concluded that
there were additional documents that were in Donald Trump's possession
that were "presidential records" and not personal papers and thus needed
to be returned to the Archives.
Months of negotiations followed, and in January 2022, 15 boxes of such
boxes were turned over to the Archives. That collection led to further
suspicions that the Trump camp still possessed more. Federal investigators
began interviewing Trump White House and Mar-a-Lago staffers to determine
what was moved. Those interviews, and a broader investigation overseen by
a U.S. Attorney resulted in a grand jury subpoena served on Trump in late
May to produce specific documents.
According to John Soloman, a journalist with Just the News who has also
served as one of Donald Trump's liaisons to the National Archives, the
subpoena requested any remaining documents Trump possessed with any
classification markings, even if they involved photos of foreign leaders,
correspondence or mementos from his presidency.
On June 3, three FBI special agents and a senior Justice Department
official visited Mar-a-Lago to discuss any additional documents in
response to the subpoena. The visiting officials were shown the basement
storage room where White House records were stored, and in fulfillment of
the subpoena, left with "a small number of documents," according to
Soloman. The documents were classified as Top Secret and were
compartmented, according to people familiar with the investigation. Trump
and his spokespeople say the visit was cordial and that the Trump camp
After the June visit, according to the Trump camp, communications with the
investigators ceased until agents showed up on Monday to execute the
search warrant. According to people familiar with the search, the decision
to escalate the matter to a surprise search came because investigators
concluded that additional documents were at Mar-a-Lago—documents so
sensitive, they had to be retrieved in order to protect national security.
The search warrant was approved by the Florida magistrate on Friday,
August 5, and three days later, the FBI showed up at Mar-a-Lago to execute
the search. Some 12 additional boxes of records were hauled away. The FBI
inventoried what was taken and left behind a two-page inventory with
In the aftermath of the search, the Trump camp insists that President
Trump had the right to declassify information, and thus none of the
records were classified. Kash Patel, a Trump loyalist who served in
intelligence and defense positions in the administration (and who also
identifies himself as one of Donald Trump's representatives to the
National Archives), told the Just The News podcast that Trump was the
"ultimate arbiter" of the classification of a document and thus there
could be no wrongdoing.
That characterization is incorrect, experts say, because documents that
are covered by statute, and not classified under presidential executive
order, cannot be classified or declassified by the president. That
includes nuclear secrets (under the Atomic Energy Act) and documents that
might identify CIA case officers or agents (under the Intelligence
Identities Protection Act of 1982). The Washington Post has reported that
the documents sought at Mar-a-Lago related to nuclear weapons.
That law labels as a CIA sources "an individual, other than a United
States citizen, whose past or present intelligence relationship to the
United States is classified information and who is a present or former
agent of, or a present or former informant or source of operational
assistance to, an intelligence agency."
Bill Leonard, who as head of the Information Security Oversight Office for
six years in the Bush administration and oversaw this system, makes a
clear distinction between information that is classified pursuant to the
President's Article Two constitutional authority as commander-in-chief and
those that are classified by statute, such as nuclear secrets and
intelligence sources and methods regarding human agents. "That sort of
information and other sensitive intelligence sources and methods are
protected pursuant to law, not necessarily protected pursuant to the
president's unilateral classification authority," Leonard told Grid this
week. "So even an incumbent president does not have total, unfettered
authority to declare information unclassified at will. Certainly, a former
president has no authority to declassify any sort of information."
"LOCKDOWN", left-wing COVID fearmongering. 95% of COVID infections
recover with no after effects.
No collusion - Special Counsel Robert Swan Mueller III, March 2019.
Officially made Nancy Pelosi a two-time impeachment loser.
Donald J. Trump, cheated out of a second term by fraudulent "mail-in"
ballots. Report voter fraud: sf.n...@mail.house.gov
Thank you for cleaning up the disaster of the 2008-2017 Obama / Biden
fiasco, President Trump.
Under Barack Obama's leadership, the United States of America became the
The World According To Garp. Obama sold out heterosexuals for Hollywood
queer liberal democrat donors.
President Trump boosted the economy, reduced illegal invasions, appointed
dozens of judges and three SCOTUS justices.