It has now been revealed that several reportedly “classified” folders seized from Donald Trump’s West Palm Beach home were actually empty and contained no state secrets.
The Hill reported, Among the material allegedly seized from former President Trump’s home were numerous empty folders that once contained classified information or intel designated to be returned to the military, renewing questions over fallout from the potential mishandling of records and if they have since been recovered.
During the raid, 48 empty folders with classified markings were recovered along with another 42 labels with markings indicating that they needed to be returned “to staff secretary/military aide.”
This has caused criticisms to be raised on both sides. The side that supports Trump wonders what the value in taking empty folders containing no classified information would be.
The opposite side is concerned about where the documents once held in these folders have gotten.
The answer seems quite obvious, it’s likely that the documents were returned to the federal government as marked on the other folders but this is currently unknown.
Kel McClanahan, executive director of National Security Counselors says that ideally he believes and hopes that the documents, we’re actually just moved out of designated folders to be organized into the other recovered boxes. In this scenario, he says that the documents wouldn’t be “out there in the wild somewhere.”
He continued, “The least optimistic scenario is that they are nowhere to be found because they are already with someone else.”
It’s still unclear exactly what the documents that were in these folders were pertaining to.
According to the Hill, more than 100 records labeled classified, three marked confidential, 17 marked secrets, and 7 marked top secrets were recovered during the raid.
The information was released after a motion by Judge Aileen Cannon after agreeing with the Trump administration’s arguments for a special master review.
Larry Pfeiffer, who previously served as senior director of the White House Situation Room “I think it’s possible it was a mistake. I think it’s possible they were folders that were holding the documents that were already found. But I worry it could have been folders that had other documents in them and now the mystery is where are the other documents? And that’s the scary part.” Pfeiffer also served as the CIA’s chief of staff.
“I don’t think finding empty folders gives it any more urgency than it already deserves. The fact that some of the most sensitive documents in our government were sitting around in storage rooms at a golf resort in Florida, intermingled with a bunch of other stuff, that clearly people [without clearances] could have physical access to … is frightening,” he concluded.
According to NBC and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, Trump had a SCIF in his Mar-a-Lago home. This isn’t uncommon for Presidents.
A SCIF is described as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility where secret information can be viewed safely to government standards.
SCIFs can be permanent or temporary, it’s unclear which the SCIF in Trump’s home was.
SCIFs allow Presidents to take their work “home” away from the Oval Office while they serve their term.