There’s an epidemic happening. Evidence demonstrates this particular epidemic has been festering for years but was discovered only recently.
However, it’s not a biological agent or a disease that’s spreading. Instead, it’s the revelations of how some of our most prominent elected officials handled, or mishandled, classified documents.
It started with the outrageous FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s home in South Florida’s Mar-a-Lago Club in August.
Trump’s right to possess the documents that were seized is still in dispute.
The same can’t be said of President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence, both of whom now are connected with document stashes they acknowledge having no legal right to possess. (Both Pence and Biden have indicated they were “unaware” they had the documents, though Biden seems to think a locked garage door makes a difference in security.)
With the way knowledge of the contagion spread, trickled out in late and piecemeal disclosures by some of the players involved, many now question who else will have an embarrassing confession to make before the scandal is over.
For example, could former President Barack Obama be hiding key parts of his archives?
On Aug. 12, shortly after the raid on Trump’s home in Palm Beach, the Nation Archives and Records Administration issued a statement assuring the public it had “assumed exclusive legal and physical custody of Obama Presidential records when President Barack Obama left office in 2017.”
However, as the drip-by-drip revelations about the Biden and Pence documents show, it’s not entirely clear that the NARA knows exactly what documents it might be missing from previous administrations.
Its record is far from perfect. Back in October, Trump was able to remind NARA of a massive loss of sensitive Clinton-era data because of negligence, as The New York Times reported in 2009. Even the NARA itself admitted to that loss.
So, how is Obama’s team handling questions about the topic?
The former president’s staff declined to comment on whether it is conducting its own search for any mishandled classified documents he might have.
“We have nothing for you at this time,” Obama communications director Hannah Hankins told Fox News.
That’s not an answer. And it doesn’t look good.
At best, it appears, it’s a play for time. At worst it’s a blow-off — an indication to the American public that the staffers surrounding Obama don’t feel obligated to answer a question that, in the context of the times, is obvious and relevant.
Common sense suggests the former president is — or should be — making sure his house is in order at a time when the sitting president and a former president are embroiled in national controversies about records that have clear application to the 44th president.
Common courtesy would dictate that he or his staff should either communicate to the American public that housecleaning is taking place or explain why they don’t feel it’s necessary to do so.
The absence of such an explanation only breeds the worst suspicions. It’s a question so obvious that at some point, even the Obama cheerleading squad in the establishment media will have to ask it.
Obama had the presidential authority to declassify documents. So far, he has said nothing about previously declassifying the documents Biden had in his possession, a move that could help his beleaguered former vice president. It fits a pattern of Obama being less than helpful to Biden and even publicly disrespecting him.
Obama did sign an executive order in December 2009 that authorized vice presidents to declassify documents if they were classified by the vice president. Since it is unknown what documents Biden had, it can’t be determined yet if he could have declassified them himself.
The way the scandal is being handled suggests otherwise. The mild bureaucratic term “mishandled classified documents” is a euphemism for a serious crime and breach of security taking place.
Obama loves to claim he had a scandal-free presidency. Maybe “scandal-free” is a euphemism for “successful stonewalling.”
And maybe this epidemic isn’t over.
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