Sensitive classified documents from the time Joe Biden was the Vice-President have been found at the offices of his think in Washington. The materials found stashed in the private office include some top-secret files that hold the designation of 'sensitive compartmented information', according to media reports. This designation is given to documents that contain information garnered from intelligence sources.
Biden-Controlled Think Tank
The documents were found at the office of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, which is a private, Biden-controlled think tank affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania. The office was opened in Washington, D.C., in 2018, two years after Biden left office as Barack Obama's vice-president. During which time Biden was an honorary faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland has ordered an investigation into the incident, and the US attorney in Chicago, John Lausch Jr., will conduct the probe. The document stash came to light when Biden's lawyers found the government materials in November at the private office.
At the outset it appears that Biden was not authorized to keep any classified documents at his private office as federal law requires that officeholders must relinquish possession of official documents and classified records when they leave the position.
Richard Sauber, special counsel to President Biden, said the White House is cooperating with the probe. "The White House is cooperating with the National Archives and the Department of Justice regarding the discovery of what appear to be Obama-Biden Administration records, including a small number of documents with classified markings," the statement said.
Discovered by Personal Attorneys
He said the documents were discovered when the President's personal attorneys were packing files housed in a locked closet to prepare to vacate office space at the Penn Biden Center. "The President periodically used this space from mid-2017 until the start of the 2020 campaign," he added. He also added that the National Archives were informed about the finding and the Archives have taken possession of the materials.
The discovery of sensitive files in Biden's private office comes at a time when a Democrat-led inquiry into former President Donald Trump is progressing after classified documents were discovered at the former president's Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida. Even as special counsel Jack Smith is probing Trump, the finding that Biden mishandled classified records would come handy for the Republicans to take the battle to the White House.
"President Biden has been very critical of President Trump mistakenly taking classified documents to the residence or wherever and now it seems he may have done the same ... How ironic," said Republican Representative James Comer of Kentucky. Comer is in the incoming chairman of the powerful House Oversight Committee.