Problems And Questions About That Classified Documents Photo

Problems And Questions About That Classified Documents Photo

Problems And Questions About That Classified Documents Photo

That photo of documents scattered on the floor of Trump’s office at Mar-A-Lago has sent people in a tizzy over social media and beyond.

Donald Trump has claimed the FBI agents were responsible for throwing classified documents on the floor of Mar-a-Lago – and said they were ‘perhaps pretending it was me who did it’.

‘Terrible the way the FBI, during the Raid of Mar-a-Lago, threw documents haphazardly all over the floor (perhaps pretending it was me that did it!), and then started taking pictures of them for the public to see,’ he said in a Truth Social post Wednesday morning.

‘Thought they wanted them kept Secret? Lucky I Declassified!’ he added during a flurry of posts condemning the FBI agent who retired amid backlash over the Hunter Biden probe.

Now, I’m not going to get into the weeds regarding the debate as to a President’s authority to classify and declassify documents. There are others such as Jonathan Turley who are more versed than I in the subject. What I DO have concerns about is the photo itself. 

As we noted earlier, there are already problems with the raid at Mar-A-Lago. Trump’s attorneys weren’t allowed in to supervise the search. I’ve yet to see anyone from the FBI or DOJ provide a compelling reason/case/authority as to why they were ordered to stay outside. To me, that was a red flag. 

Then there was the release of the affidavit that supposedly makes the case for the raid. I just have to wonder how compelling a case it is when a significant portion of the reasoning used to make the case was news stories from a Miami news station and Maggie Haberman at the New York Times! Media reports are evidence now?? 

Per one of the exhibits now made public, the NARA archivist letter shows that, contrary to assertions over these last couple of weeks, Biden DOES know (if his brain retained the information) and WAS advised, in April and May, about the hunt for classified documents at Mar-A-Lago. 

The Counsel to the President has informed me that, in light of the particular circumstances presented here, President Biden defers to my determination, in consultation with the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, regarding whether or not I should uphold the former President’s purported “protective asse1tion of executive privilege.” See 36 C.F.R. §
l 270.44(f)(3). Accordingly, I have consulted with the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel to inform my “determination as to whether to honor the former President’s claim ofprivilege or instead to disclose the Presidential records notwithstanding the claim of privilege.” Exec. Order No. 13,489, § 4(a).

Then, as the document was dumped last night, a tweet was sent out and people discovered the document photo (which is this post’s feature photo). 

Numerous brightly colored cover sheets for classified information are visible bearing markings of “Top Secret,” “Secret” and “Sensitive Compartmented Information.” The contents of the documents, and even some of the classified headers, were whited out, leaving just a handful of dates visible. At least three of the documents bearing classification markings are on White House letterhead. A box of framed items, including a 2019 Time magazine cover depicting the then-Democratic presidential field vying to defeat Trump, sits nearby.

Numerous people jumped on their various favored bandwagons regarding this photo. 

You know what? All it takes is a quick search and one will realize that you too can find these cover pages and print them out on your own! 

Liz Cheney, because of course.

She’s treated statements by others who appear in front of the J6 Committee as 100% gospel, even as testimony was debunked within minutes. So why not accept this documents photo as THE SMOKING GUN??!! That’s how Liz rolls. 

At least CNN admits what Trump is saying. The FBI spread these documents on the floor to take their ‘gotcha’ photo. 


Jonathan Turley makes a valid point here. 

The Department makes many of the same claims that it used to opposed the release of a redacted affidavit, claims shown to have been misleading and exaggerated after the magistrate ordered the release. Notably, this filing contained details that were likely redacted in the affidavit but just released on the public record.

In the most direct challenge to the former President’s public claims, the Justice Department claimed that he and his staff had failed to turn over classified material and that the Department had no choice but to search areas outside of the storage room. Indeed, it says that it found three classified documents in Trump’s desk without indicating the level of classification or subject matter.

THAT is why I have questions. Why we should all have questions. A significant portion of the warrant affidavit making the case for the raid was redacted. But now, the FBI and DOJ publish the document photo as an explanation as to why a Special Master isn’t needed? 

The FBI needs to answer as to WHERE they found those documents and why they were purposefully scattered on the floor. The FBI needs to answer for THEIR own mishandling of these documents in order to claim this photo is “evidence.” 

Welcome Instapundit Readers!

Feature Photo Credit: Case 9:22-cV-81294 AMC Document 48-1 Entered on FLSD 3, D9CKe 081391S052 TOP SECRETISCI TOP SECRETIISCI TOP SECRETIISCI via US court filing, cropped and modified 

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  • American Human says:

    I have never heard of “Secret/SCI”. SCI is and always has been Top Secret information because it involves specific information gathered from classified sources usually human intelligence sources i.e. people who are spying. Not all is but certainly anything regarding SCI is never “Secret”. SCI means that you REALLY need to know and that the guy sitting in the cubicle next to you with the same clearance and access as you doesn’t need to know. Your neighbor, in turn, has information that you don’t need to know either. Compartmented information is just that, put into little compartments where only the people who really need to know can see it.

    This smells.

    • GWB says:

      No, there are SCI programs that are Secret, though most are Top Secret. They are few and far between.
      And SCI does not necessarily entail humint, but it most often does entail intel source information.

    • Scott says:


      You said “this smells” … Just to clarify, are you speaking of the raid by the criminals at the FBI, or did Pedo Joe shit his pants again??

    • Hominem Humilem says:

      You are incorrect. Classifications are Confidential, Secret and Top Secret. SCI is a handling caveat (though, to be fair, I’m not aware of anything Confidential/SCI). But information handled via SCI channels can be classified Secret.

  • GWB says:

    What this photo is of… is a bunch of cover sheets. And some digital whiteout.

    This is also why Trump’s sloppiness is a danger to his cause. When you have the entire Swamp after you, you should make sure you hit everything by the book. When you declassify, you mark the material appropriately. And until then you handle it according to the regulations/laws. If you don’t do it diligently and correctly, there is, at minimum, confusion, and at worst somebody goes to jail who shouldn’t… or vice versa.

    • SDN says:

      NeverTrump believes this wasn’t staged.

    • OldParatrooper says:

      One wonders whether the Office of the Former President was actually staffed and operational. I would guess that it was their responsibility to execute the administrivia like stamping Declassified by DP on the documents themselves (and removing the no longer needed cover sheets).

  • Kevin says:

    Lock him up!

  • Matthew W says:

    Kind of surprised that the Democrat Stasi didn’t dump a can of Diet Coke and a Big Mac wrapper on the pile to make it look even more authentic.

  • Ken says:

    Has the FBI and DoJ done anything in the past 7 years that indicates it can be trusted in actions against Donald Trump?

    That really is the key question.

  • LGB Beauregard, Esq says:

    Since there are/were no witnesses allowed (other than the fbi) during the 9 hour search, how do we know what they found at MAL vs what the fbi simply manufactured? Not a rhetorical question.

  • Redacted says:

    Everybody’s overlooking the problems here. If the FBI removed these cover sheets from the documents, that is a dangerous and potentially felonious act. If whoever did this is not cleared to both the appropriate level and the need-to-know, they have committed espionage whether they then distributed them or not. Who made sure the coversheets were appropriately rematched with the documents when they were done? It would have to be someone with appropriate clearance and need-to-know. I cannot conceive of any possible need-to-know for people just seizing the documents. This photo alone is evidence of worse malfeasance by the FBI than they accuse Trump of doing.

  • kamas716 says:

    According to “former special agents” it was “standard practice” to lay mixed documents out on the floor to photograph them.

    Apparently the feds do things quite a bit differently than around here, where documents might be lain out for photo documentation, but certainly not mixed together if not found together.

  • […] Master will have the ability to review specific documents that the DOJ insists have always been classified. Judge Cannon, in her ruling, unequivocally rejected the idea that appointing a Special Master would […]

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