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Classified document scandal needs to be put to rest

After re-reading my opinion last week that the Trump/Biden classified documents scandal was much to do about nothing, I realized I left out a couple of major points.
First, I minimalized the importance of classified documents, by writing many of them are rendered useless by age. We are going crazy over documents relating to policies and events that occurred several years ago. They have very little to do with what is happening in today’s world.
But secondly, and probably more important, is the sheer number of classified documents. There simply are way too many. Former Pentagon special counsel and Yale Professor Oona Hathaway told NPR
“There’s somewhere in the order of over 50 million documents classified every year. We don’t know the exact number because even the government can’t keep track of it all.”
The government office in charge of protecting national security confirmed in a 2021 report that they cannot keep up with the sheer numbers of documents our bureaucrats label as classified. Obviously some documents deserve to be classified such as the technical details of weapons systems, but 50 million documents? That’s outrageous.
Neil Patel, who was the person in charge of papers for Vice President Pence for four years agrees. He has said, “Everything these days is classified. Most of it is boring and its release would not endanger anything.”
Maybe the more important question is “What is the content of the classified documents that Trump and Biden possessed?’ Was it important to our national security or was it simply one of the 49,000,000 documents that shouldn’t have been classified in the first place?
No one can argue that Trump or Biden should have classified documents in their possession. That is true. But it is easy to see, as they had staffers box up their offices, how they ended up with papers that should have went to the National Archives or elsewhere.
And it’s not like either were the first officeholders to be found with classified documents. All modern day presidents have been guilty of taking classified documents mistakenly. Heck Hillary Clinton, not a president or vice president was admonished for doing the same.
Of that, Patel said, “Hillary Clinton’s violation involving classified materials placed on unclassified computers tied to the public internet, was much more egregious than anything Trump or Biden have been accused of, and even then, there was no criminal sanction”
What is not easy to witness, is the hoopla created by first the discovery of documents at Mara Lago, and then months later at the Biden residence, is damaging to the office of the presidency. We can dislike or even hate the person that holds the title of President, but to raid his home, over a few of the 50 million documents that are classified each year- that’s poppycock and very damaging to the office of the presidency.
Likewise, the firestorm that has been created over Biden’s possession of classified documents- papers that were created when he was vice-president a decade ago, is adding to the further erosion of the office of the presidency.
The hysteria over classified documents needs to stop. Let’s move on to bigger problems. There certainly are no shortage of them these days.

One Reply to “Classified document scandal needs to be put to rest

  1. Spoken like a true Republican. Trump HID classified documents from the National Archives. He lied about having them and he lied about having turned them over. Given his propensity for grift it’s not out of the realm to believe he used/is using them for his own purposes and certainly not for the good of the country. Biden immediately gave up what was found and invited the DOJ to look for any others the lawyers might have missed. Your op-ed is simply another attempt to whitewash a treasonous ex-president.

    Shame on you.

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