by WorldTribune Staff, September 1, 2022
The Department of Justice on Tuesday released an image of what it said were highly classified documents the FBI removed from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate during the Feb. 8 raid.
In the photo, documents are spread out on the floor all facing the same way to the camera. Several documents have been whited out, while others have classified markings including Secret//SCI, HCS and Top Secret//SCI. The HCS marking stands for “HUMINT Control System,” indicating human-sourced intelligence.
Kash Patel, a Defense Department official during the Trump administration, slammed the DOJ and FBI and the “gangsters” he says are running them.
In an interview on the Benny Johnson show on Wednesday (see below), Patel said:
“First of all it is staged… And those red and yellow things you see on the floor are cover sheets. Those aren’t classified. They’re saying they’re supposed to be used when you’re identifying classified documents. But there is nothing on those documents or the underlying documents that the FBI-DOJ are showing President Trump didn’t declassify them… What they are doing is trying this case in the court of public opinion… All I’m seeing is this is continuing to backfire because it’s being run by law enforcement. It’s being run by government gangsters like Chris Wray and Merrick Garland and it all goes back to Russiagate.”
“These are personal records… They are shielded from ever being disclosed and they are within their rights and the law to have them,” Patel added.
Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington wrote in a Telegram Post: “Sean Davis: ‘Trump’s presidential records were so sensitive and in need of protection that FBI agents seized them from storage, dumped them all over the floor, and took pictures of them so BlueAnons could post pics of them on Twitter.’ ”
Trump’s legal team on Wednesday said the DOJ, in arguing against appointing a “special master” to review documents taken by the FBI during the raid, was essentially advocating for unchecked power in overseeing its investigation into Trump.
“The United States Attorney’s Office, has filed an extraordinary document with this Court, suggesting that the DOJ, and the DOJ alone, should be entrusted with the responsibility of evaluating its unjustified pursuit of criminalizing a former President’s possession of personal and Presidential records in a secure setting,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.
“[T]he Government twists the framework of responding to a motion for a Special Master into an all-encompassing challenge to any judicial consideration, presently or in the future, of any aspect of its unprecedented behavior in this investigation,” the legal team for the former president said, adding that “even yesterday, the Government’s Response gratuitously included a photograph of allegedly classified materials, pulled from a container and spread across the floor for dramatic effect.”
After a hearing on Thursday, Judge Aileen M. Cannon said that she will issue a written ruling on Trump’s request for a “special master,” which is opposed by the DOJ, “in due course.”
Meanwhile, the DOJ has tried to pass off the FBI’s seizing of attorney-client privileged documents during the raid on Mar-a-Lago as “no big deal” because the department has a process to segregate privileged material, John Solomon noted in an Aug. 29 report for Just the News.
The process — known as filter teams or “taint” teams — “has itself been tainted by a string of recent legal controversies over the seizure of attorney-client privilege protected materials in other cases,” Solomon wrote. “Distrust among defense lawyers — including the firm that once employed Hunter Biden — about the honor system that federal law enforcement claims to use to protect privileged evidence has led to a pending writ of certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the legality of such teams.”
The filter/taint team procedure “needlessly and harmfully exposes assertedly privileged communications to the government’s eyes,” lawyers for defendant Mordechai Korf and others argue in asking the high court to take the case. “It undermines essential protections for the adversary system. And it jeopardizes the confidentiality needed for the applicable privileges to serve their vital purposes.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission — which often investigates financial crimes alongside the FBI — “recently admitted to significant breaches in two cases where its computer systems mistakenly allowed criminal investigators to have access to potentially privileged documents from its administrative regulatory side. The agency blamed the mistakes on a ‘control deficiency,’ ” Solomon wrote.
“We deeply regret that the Commission’s systems lacked sufficient safeguards surrounding access to Adjudication memoranda,” the agency said in a rare statement of apology. “We have great faith in the professionalism of all of our staff and will work to ensure that, going forward, we better protect the separation of adjudicatory work-product within our system for administrative adjudications, including by enhancing our systems for controlling access to Adjudication memoranda. We take this lapse in controls very seriously and are working hard to make sure nothing like it happens again.”
“Although the recently-revealed SEC mishap appears to have been limited to its own materials, the inappropriate access to privileged materials is an ongoing problem that exists across prosecutorial and enforcement agencies and institutions,” attorney Robert J. Anelo wrote in a recent Forbes article.
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