I am not going to argue the morality of state secrets, just as I am not going to argue the morality of capital punishment, standing armies, nuclear arsenals, or other sins of the modern nation. I will leave it at the fact that all nations practice these. I will keep this posting about Donald Trump’s disrespect of our U.S. system of National Security Information
But first let’s look at those lone individuals who did take a stand against “Big Government”, the “Military-Industrial Complex”, the “Police” state, the “Surveillance” state. Daniel Ellsberg leaked the “Pentagon papers” in the ’70s to expose the Vietnam war to the American public. Edward Snowden leaked “surveillance state” data to the American public. These actions were political, and these men justified their action by saying that the American public had a need to know just what the government was doing. In contrast, Donald Trump’s motivations and justifications have nothing to do with the American public’s need to know. I don’t think we will ever be privy to why Mr. Trump shown such willful disrespect of our national secrets. It could be blind stupidity, or a craven desire to keep trophies. Or it could be a rooted disrespect of Mr. Bonespurs to authority.
This disrespect starts with his cynical attack of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. He attacked Hillary on her lack of adequate security protection on her private e-mail server. This is a valid criticism, and certainly she never should have mixed un-classified with secret level correspondence on a home-brew server. But as we see now, his attacks were not principled, but merely another way to get advantage, and win an election. He whipped crowds across the country with their chant, “Lock her up.”
I understand the complexities of information security. No one wants their machine to get hijacked by a virus. Or data that should remain private being stolen by unscrupulous parties. So I sympathized with Trump’s attacks. Maybe Hillary should be locked up — or at the very least, U.S. Government computing systems need to be locked down.
I really believed his arguments because in 2015 the Chinese had gotten hold of everyone’s clearances. I had an active clearance — I got a letter in the mail. My identity had been hacked by the Chinese.
We are in an exclusive member’s only club — Mar a Lago (MAL). This isn’t Brianna Taylor’s apartment riddle with bullets. It shouldn’t be a poster child for the fourth amendment, “unreasonable search and seizure”, which the radical right talking heads are trying to make it out to be. This is a place outfitted with a bogus, counterfeit ’45’ oval office, and a real SCIF. And here is Trump’s trophy room. The U.S. Secret Service has a permanent guard at MAL.
The FBI shows up. They have a warrant. They want the Top Secret classified documents.
Trump says, “These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents.”
Trump in 2022. A victim like Brianna Taylor riddled with bullets. Really?
Trump has complete disregard of our Nation’s security. If he cared about security, he would have complied. In fact, he should have never have allowed Top Secret documents there in the first place.
I understand that you may not understand how serious intelligence data is taken. You probably think of conspiracy theories and whether the real JFK papers will ever be declassified. But the government really does keep track.
Tens of thousands of JFK related files were declassified during the Trump administration. 35,000 documents in 2017. 19,045 documents in 2018. Trump wrote in 2018,
“I agree with the Archivist’s recommendation that the continued withholdings are necessary to protect against identifiable harm to national security, law enforcement, or foreign affairs that is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in immediate disclosure,” the president said. “I am also ordering agencies to re-review each of those redactions over the next 3 years. At any time during that review period, and no later than the end of that period, agencies shall disclose information that no longer warrants continued withholding.”
The last major declassification drive that I heard about was about the JFK assassination. 1500 documents were released in December 15 2021 by President Biden.
A good example of what can happen is the case of John Deutch who was the director of Central Intelligence under Bill Clinton. He had a habit of bringing papers home with him, so that he could study the documents in the comfort of his house, and to be ahead of the game, the next day in the office. When the government found out, they threw the book at him. It destroyed his career. On Bill Clinton’s last day in office, he pardoned Deutch. Otherwise Deutch might very well be in prison.
Trump knows how serious the government takes security. In 2018, in response to the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal, He made it a 5 year felony for mishandling classified data. It had been a misdemeanor.
The most important criteria is whether you have a “need to know”. If you don’t really need to see a document, much less possess it, you probably don’t have a need to know. What is Trump’s need to know, now, in 2022 as a former president with active TS documents?
So, I end it here, a former president stroking his vanity with his trophy collection, and he endangers the security of our nation.
Why am I writing this? I am no longer running for U.S. Senate. Firstly, I am curious and this is my blog. Secondly, I believe the U.S. public (those few who ever will find this website) might be interested in my historical point of view. I am honestly interested in making sense of what I see and hear in the regular media and see on social media. I think I have a need to know. And you do too.