If classified docs found at Bidenís place are no big deal, then letís see them

By: Rachel Marsden

PARIS ó So it turns out that classified documents have now been found in the garage of the Wilmington, Delaware, home of U.S. President Joe Biden. They were caught red-handed, rooming with his Corvette, but heíd like everyone to know that itís ďa locked garage, OK? So itís not like theyíre sitting out on the street.Ē

Oh, in that case, carry on, then. Maybe just put them inside the Corvette, in a childís car seat, and make sure that the car has a wheel lock on it. Unfortunately for Biden, having classified material under lock and key at home doesnít actually excuse its presence there. But if itís really not that big of a deal, then letís see it and judge for ourselves. I wonít hold my breath.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre used passive language to describe the discovery, acknowledging that a ďsmall number of documents were found,Ē as though the material somehow traveled over 100 miles away from Washington, DC, on its own. So who put it there? We donít yet know with absolute certainty. Thatís what a Justice Department special counsel probe, which has since been announced, will hopefully find out.

The precise nature of the documents is also unclear. But itís not a stretch to assume that there would be a link between their contents and the motivation for memory-holing them next to a hot rod in a neighboring state. What we do know, however, is that they were found in late December as a result of a search conducted by Bidenís personal attorneys Ė and that the search was sparked by a prior finding of even more classified documents found by Bidenís attorneys earlier in November at the presidentís Washington-based think tank, the ďPenn Biden Center.Ē Those documents reportedly relate to Ukraine, Iran, and the UK, and date between 2013 and 2015, during Bidenís time as U.S. vice president during President Barack Obamaís administration. What they say could be highly relevant to present-day challenges and realities.

The current conflict in Ukraine popped off in earnest with the Western-backed Euromaidan protests in November 2013. Both before and after, the country has been exploited as an outpost of the State Department and the Pentagon against Russia through low-intensity regional conflict that only went red-hot in February 2022. But before that, U.S. special interests were crawling all over Ukraine positioning themselves for profit, including Bidenís own son, Hunter Biden, who somehow landed a job on a Ukrainian company board.

ďThe Vice President has been leading the administrationís effort to support a sovereign, democratic Ukraine, visiting the country three times in 2014,Ē reads the Obama administrationís archives about Bidenís role at that time. So the selectively removed Ukraine-related documents from that particular period that found their way into Bidenís personal possession could perhaps shed some light on how the world ended up in its current mess.

Far too often, classification is abused. Rather than being used strictly as a means of protecting noble national interests, it has also been used to cover up corruption, wrongdoing, and other nefarious activity ó the kind that could present a threat to the establishment if the public ever became aware. The disclosures made by NSA and CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden back in 2013, exposing a massive, excessive dragnet of gratuitous information collection on American citizens were a case in point.

So were many of the revelations made by Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange, the first of which was a classified video of U.S. military personnel sounding like they were playing a video game while gunning down 12 people, including a couple of Reuters journalists in Iraq, who had all been treated as armed insurgents far too casually Ė raising questions of how often this sort of thing happens.

A lack of information can also be hidden behind classification to start wars, like when the President George W. Bush administration cited classified U.S. intelligence related to weapons of mass destruction as the justification for invading Iraq. Rather than concrete and transparent evidence, the entire argument on which Congress voted 96 percent in favor of sending Americans into another foreign war amounted to, ďTrust me, bro.Ē

So given the potential for abuse of classification, how many among the classified documents found in Bidenís possession were labeled as such to hide embarrassing shadiness that could harm personal interests?

Biden isnít even alone among recent Oval Office occupants to have shared a private residence with secret documents in the way that normal people do house pets. Former President Donald Trump is also under investigation after boxes of top secret documents were removed from his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, reportedly related to Iran and China.

At least whistleblowers like Snowden and Assange, who have both been charged under the US Espionage Act for misuse of classified documents, ultimately served the public interest in exposing what they considered to be government wrongdoing. At the height of the Snowden fiasco, in 2014, even Snowdenís boss, former NSA deputy director John Inglis ó now Bidenís National Cyber director ó told me that he accepted that Snowden had concerns, but that he went about addressing them in a totally inappropriate way. So however misguided one may consider Assangeís and Snowdenís methods, their actions ultimately weighed in favor of the public good.

While whistleblowers Assange and Snowden face penalties of decades in prison, Biden (who called Assange a ďhigh-tech terroristĒ back in 2010) and Trump, whose mishandling of classified material appears to be for purely selfish reasons, continue to enjoy their freedom and the backing of their respective partisan supporters and cheerleaders, both inside the Beltway and beyond. This glaring double standard proves just how backward and self-preserving the whole system is.