Our most recent book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and Trump's disregard for law.
Destruction of government documents is a crime. So is the mishandling of classified material.Julian E. Barnes and Mark Mazzetti at NYT:
Mr. Trump has a long history of treating classified information with a sloppiness few other presidents have exhibited. And the former president’s cavalier treatment of the nation’s secrets was on display in the affidavit underlying the warrant for the Mar-a-Lago search. The affidavit, released in redacted form on Friday, described classified documents being found in multiple locations around the Florida residence, a private club where both members and their guests mingle with the former president and his coterie of aides.
Nothing in the documents released on Friday described the precise content of the classified documents or what risk their disclosure might carry for national security, but the court papers did outline the kinds of intelligence found in the secret material, including foreign surveillance collected under court orders, electronic eavesdropping on communications and information from human sources — spies.
Mr. Trump and his defenders have claimed he declassified the material he took to Mar-a-Lago. But documents retrieved from him in January included some marked “HCS,” for Human Intelligence Control System. Such documents have material that could possibly identify C.I.A. informants, meaning a general, sweeping declassification of them would have been, at best, misguided.
“HCS information is tightly controlled because disclosure could jeopardize the life of the human source,” said John B. Bellinger III, a former legal adviser to the National Security Council in the George W. Bush administration. “It would be reckless to declassify an HCS document without checking with the agency that collected the information to ensure that there would be no damage if the information were disclosed.”
C.I.A. espionage operations inside numerous hostile countries have been compromised in recent years when the governments of those countries have arrested, jailed and even killed the agency’s sources.
Last year, a top-secret memo sent to every C.I.A. station around the world warned about troubling numbers of informants being captured or killed, a stark reminder of how important human source networks are to the basic functions of the spy agency.
On 8/2/2019, Betsy Swan and Erin Banco reported at The Daily Beast:
The Trump administration is taking inventory of many of America’s top spies, The Daily Beast has learned. The White House recently asked the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) for a list of all its employees at the federal government’s top pay scale who have worked there for 90 days or more, according to two sources familiar with the request.
Trump has a deep, longstanding grudge against the intelligence community.
On 1/11/17, Doyle McManus reported at LAT:
For a few days, it almost looked as if Donald Trump had made a tenuous peace with U.S. intelligence agencies over their unwelcome finding that Russia’s Vladimir Putin had tried to help his presidential campaign.
But it didn’t take much to set him off again – and prompt him to escalate his war against the bureaucrats he believes are out to get him.
When reports surfaced of salacious allegations about Trump compiled by a former British spy last year for a political campaign, the president-elect instantly blamed … the U.S. intelligence community.
“I think it was disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information [out] that turned out to be so false and fake,” Trump told reporters at his news conference on Wednesday. “That’s something that Nazi Germany would have done and did.”
Let that sink in: The next president says the intelligence agencies he will oversee are deliberately trying to ruin his reputation by leaking false information.