What a mess. The former president of the United States is under investigation for spying on the US, and it’s even more complicated than that.
This afternoon we’ve learned that the FBI found classified materials relevant to the Espionage Act, 18 USC 793, of which there are seven sections, all of which include some kind of wrongful possession of top secret material and an attempt to pass that information along to someone who doesn’t have the requisite qualifications to possess the information. As this site has written many times in the last three to four months, the “files case” in Florida, depending on what was found, could prove Trump was a traitor to his country with greater clarity than even the January 6th case. It would seem as though that is the path we’re now on.
But it gets worse. Intelligence officials are now revealing that there was always a concern that “signals intelligence” around Mar-a-Lago was and remains compromised, meaning that communications into and out of Mar-a-Lago, including top-secret communications, routinely fell into the wrong hands, and it doesn’t sound as though it was by accident. From the Washington Post:
“Former senior intelligence officials said in interviews that during the Trump administration, highly classified intelligence about sensitive topics, including intelligence-gathering on Iran, was routinely mishandled.
“One former official said the most highly classified information often ended up in the hands of personnel who did not appear to have a need to possess it or were not authorized to read it. That former official also said signals intelligence — intercepted electronic communications like emails and phone calls of foreign leaders — was among the type of information that often ended up with unauthorized personnel. Such intercepts are among the most closely guarded secrets because of what they can reveal about how the United States has penetrated foreign governments.“
Now there is a lot of wiggle room in those words, but a few things ring through clearly. Some of the country’s most closely guarded secrets ended up in the wrong hands, and nowhere does it say that it happened accidentally, “mishandled” is not “accidental.” So the above certainly conveys that Mar-a-Lago leaked secrets like a sieve and that – at the very least – administration officials had access to material that they should never have seen. But nowhere does it rule out that the material that “often ended up in the hands of personnel…” were always American government personnel or even Americans. Again, it’s open-ended, and that’s the problem.
It gets even weirder:
A person familiar with the inventory of 15 boxes taken from Mar-a-Lago in January indicated that signals intelligence material was included in them. The precise nature of the information was unclear.”
“Signals intelligence material” almost seems like a contradiction in terms, and yet it must not be. Are there documents that show the secure telecommunications system in and out of Mar-a-Lago, documents that would allow another government to tap into the “Sig-Int”? We cannot know. We’re not pretending to know. But there is some really odd stuff flying around right now.
What we do know is that it is not normal to have the residence of a former president raided under the guise of the espionage act and that, indeed – Top Secret-SCI material was found during that search. Under no circumstances should those materials be found in a storage room near a pool at a Florida club.
A federal magistrate judge has found probable cause to believe evidence of the crime of espionage to be found at Mar-A-Lago. Repeat 5 times.
— Harry Litman (@harrylitman) August 12, 2022
@JasonMiciak believes a day without learning is a day not lived. He is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is a Canadian-born dual citizen who spent his teenage and college years in the Pacific Northwest and has since lived in seven states. He now enjoys life as a single father of a young girl, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast. He loves crafting his flower pots, cooking, and currently studies philosophy of science, religion, and non-math principles behind quantum mechanics and cosmology. Please feel free to contact for speaking engagements or any concerns.