The Non-Defenses to Biden’s Mishandling of Classified Information
Time to dust off the Hillary Clinton files and revisit our nation’s classified information handling laws as the left desperately tries to suggest that Biden is innocent of any wrongdoing — and far more innocent than the evil oramge man — for the mishandling of classified documents.
So a series of classified documents, at least one or more of which was classified Top Secret, has shown up in two tranches of documents maintained by President Biden. One tranche was in a closet at the Penn-Biden Center, the other in the garage of Biden’s Deleware residence. The defenses raised by all those carrying water for Joe Biden to the crime(s) of mishandling classified documents are laughable.
(FYI, I’ve put the relevant statutes at the bottom of this post, 18 USC § 793(f) and § 1924, and a link to the storage regulations for classified material. And a reminder as well, I write this from the standpoint of having held a security clearance and worked with classified material.)
Biden spoke up in his own defense, claiming that the various classified documents ended up in their respective inadvertently and that it was okay, regardless, because, at least as to those documents that he kept in his garage next to his corvette, he kept his garage locked.
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) January 12, 2023
Then you have other defenses, such as that Biden only mishandled a few documents and that he is “fully cooperating” with authorities, all as shown in this handy chart that making its way around the internet.
So, let’s review Biden’s defenses in light of the relevant law.
- The Corvette Defense — Sorry, but classified information can only be stored in designated facilities, and unless Biden’s garage was designated for classified storage — and it clearly was not — whether the garage was locked or not is irrelevant. Biden might want to consult the old CIA Director, John Deutch, about that one.
- The Numbers Defense — The number of documents that Biden mishandled is likewise irrelevant. The criminal law statutes are triggered by the first mishandled document, and it doesn’t matter whether the numbers go up from there to 12 (Biden), 160 (Trump) or into the thousands and tens of thousands (Hillary). The only question after the first mishandled document is whether to charge multiple counts.
- The Full Cooperation Defense — Let’s look at this from a different perspective. You’ve killed 5 people and hidden the bodies. Once you get caught, you cooperate with the authorities. So, does that mean you’re not guilty of murder, or merely that a judge might consider your cooperation after a trial, when it comes time for sentencing?
- The Inadverertence Defense — Yeah , , , no. It is true that the relevant statutes require some degree of knowledge and intent, but anyone who has ever had a security clearance and worked with classified documents will of necessity be familiar with the laws and procedures around security, And for Biden, after 40 years in government at the highest levels to claim ignorance of the laws would be unbelievable. Moreover, there is a lot of evidence that Biden had personal knowledge of the classified material in question, as summed up by Jonathan Turley:
Biden’s counsel has insisted that this is merely “inadvertently misplaced.” That statement is belied by a couple facts. First, it seems that these documents were likely moved more than once. Biden left office as vice president in 2017. He presumably took these documents at that time. However, they ended up in different places, including one document found separately from the “garage files” in the residence.
Moreover, Biden had an office at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia after finishing his term in 2017. On February 8, 2018, the Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement says that it opened its doors in Washington, D.C.
Biden could not have moved into the D.C. office until later that year. So those documents had to be moved from another location with moving trucks and personnel. They then sat in the office for years as other classified documents sat in his garage with his Corvette.
At some point, some documents were sent to the office and some to the residence and garage. What explained this division if it was not based on what the then vice president was working on?
The “inadvertent” defense hardly fits neatly with these facts. Moreover, if Biden worked off any of these documents for his book (which dealt with some of the underlying subjects like Ukraine), the inadvertent defense is not only shattered but could be cited later as an effort to deceive the public. . . .
Even Justin Amash get’s this one:
Why are people pretending top secret papers can unintentionally end up wherever? TS/SCI files are reviewed in a SCIF. The system prevents accidental removal. If Biden’s Corvette turns up in someone else’s garage, we don’t wonder aloud whether a house guest inadvertently took it.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) January 14, 2023
and last but not least . . .
5. The Hillary Defense — All progressive politicians are above the law: Normally, I’d expect this to be a complete defense for Biden. But for this debacle to ever see the light of day, let alone the timing of it — coming right on the heels of Biden’s announcement that he intends to run for reelection in 2024 — suggests that the Democrats themselves have the long knives out for Biden.
18 USC § 793 – Gathering, Transmitting or Losing Defense Information
(f) Whoever . . . having lawful possession or control of any document . . . or information, relating to the national defense, (1) – through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior office —— Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
18 USC § 1924 – Unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material
(1) Whoever, being an officer . . . of the United States, and, by virtue of his office . . . becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
Regulations regarding the approved storage and handling of classified documents and material are here. To summarize, there are specific secure locations where classified materials may be accessed, and the materials must be placed in its designated secured holding cabinet when not in use. Top Secret information can only be accessed at a designated Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility.