Spies targeting Trump as classified documents mishandled: Ex-CIA official

Washington: The “classified documents” seized by FBI on August 8 from Donald Trump’s Florida residence has raised concerns among intelligence operatives who are now targeting the ex-President for allegedly mishandling the documents.

These documents are considered to be vulnerable to spies, said former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence on August 8 and seized 20 boxes containing classified documents that were allegedly taken when Trump left the White House in January 2021. Although much about what classified information was retrieved, experts have raised security concerns about the vulnerability of classified information not being stored properly.

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Morell, who served as the second-highest ranking official for the Central Intelligence Agency from 2010 to 2013, said Sunday, that the classified documents would have been vulnerable to spies working for foreign countries, including potential adversaries, but also added the documents may have been vulnerable before being taken to the Palm Beach, Florida property, the Newsweek said.

“So, I think they were vulnerable, even at the White House, since they seem to have been mishandled at the White House as well, right? We have to look at that, as well as Mar-a-Lago,” he said during an appearance on CBS News’ “Face the Nation”.

At any given point, there is an average of four Americans spying for foreign intelligence services without the knowledge of US officials – and more never even get caught, Morell said.

“So, there’s a lot of spying going on in Washington, right? And if you’re a foreign intelligence service, and you want to target the United States government, what’s the number one place you want to target? The White House.”

Morell called on investigators to look into whether documents were accessed by those without clearance both at Mar-a-Lago and the White House. Many people who work inside the White House do not have a top-secret clearance “so you have to worry about who had access to those documents who didn’t have a clearance to do so”, he said.

The former CIA officer said: “I am angry”. “You know, I always try to be measured, but I am angry.”

While he worked for the CIA under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, there were “very rigorous and strict protocols with regard to the handling of classified information,” Morell said.

He said he became concerned about how the documents were being stored at the White House when he read the heavily-redacted affidavit related to the search released on Friday.

“The first was the fact that these documents were mixed in with unclassified documents. You had classified documents in the vast majority of the boxes. That suggested to me a sloppiness in the handling of classified documents at the White House,” he said.

Questions about what exactly were in the boxes remain mysterious, but officials have raised concerns that information related to nuclear weapons may have been among the classified information. The affidavit released on Friday said the FBI found more than 100 classified documents in the boxes they took from Mar-a-Lago. Newsweek reached out to Trump’s office for comment. The response is still awaited.

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