Reflections from the River

A primer on classified documents, the FBI and Donald Trump

August 17, 2022 Bill Enyart
Reflections from the River
A primer on classified documents, the FBI and Donald Trump
Show Notes Transcript

Here's what the media is missing about how the FBI knew exactly which classified documents were in Mar-a-Lago.

Donald Trump's stash of classified documents.


Ok friends let’s talk a bit about Donald Trump and the boxes of classified documents found in his storage room in Mar-a-Lago. Although I’m one of those few people who have held a TS-SCI clearance, everything I’m about to tell you is open-source information or the result of my deductions based on open-source information. My TS-SCI clearance expired nearly ten years ago so I’m in no danger of releasing any current intelligence information any way.

All the hot air on television you hear about the FBI didn’t know what Donald had hidden away in his storage room is a crock of you know what. The FBI knew exactly what was in those boxes before they ever entered the residence and before they ever asked for a search warrant.

How do I know that? 

Every classified document is limited in the number of copies made. Let’s say there were ten copies made of a particular document. Each copy has a stamp that says: “Copy number ___ of ___ copies.” So in this instance let’s say the document is #2. There were ten copies made so the stamp would read “Copy number 2 of 10 copies.” 

There is a log maintained when the document is removed from secure storage. That log would say which copy number was removed, by whom and when. When the document is returned, the log is completed with date, time and signature of the person returning the document.

Gee whiz, this sounds like rocket science. Umm, no, it’s simply document control. 

How did this all work? Some lieutenant colonel on the National Security Council staff likely pulled a document for use in briefing Trump, that lieutenant colonel had to sign for the document. Once he or she signs for it, his or her career, security clearance and indeed freedom from a federal prison cell is on the line. 

Briefing provided, the nice young lieutenant colonel asks Trump for the document back. Trump says, “No, I want to look at it some more.” Lieutenant colonels don’t say “No” to colonels, let alone the President of the United States. 

Ah, but the problem is the log is open. The lieutenant colonel is on the line for the document. Now lieutenant colonels who are smart enough to work at the NSC are not about to leave their posterior hanging out over a classified document. Nope, that lieutenant colonel annotated the log that the document is in the possession of POTUS, that is the President of the United States. The military acronym for that action is CYA, short for “Cover Your …. you know what”.

That log is going to stay open until the document is returned.

Here’s where the deduction comes in. Trump leaves office (against his will and with not much effort put into the transition, I might add.) with those logs still open. Here’s where the “Deep State” comes in.  (Deep State being the right-wing conspiracy theory that the federal government is a vast conspiracy controlled by the Masonic orders, the Jews, blood-drinking pedophiles and socialistic Democrats whose aim is to run a one-world dictatorship of the elite.) The kind of people who serve in the military or in intelligence or in any bureaucracy, whether "Deep State" members or not, don’t like open logs. 

Open logs are like loose threads sticking up from a sweater. They get pulled and the whole garment unravels. These missing classified documents are a boatload of loose threads. They gotta get fixed.

Some GS-7 clerk (that’s a relatively low-ranking federal employee) starts picking at those loose threads. That GS-7 ain’t gonna be left holding this bag! No sirree. Up the chain of command this ugly paper trail goes. 

How much rocket science does it take to see the number of classified documents that are logged out to POTUS and not returned? My math skills are limited to advanced pinochle scoring. In fact, I still have the nightmare that I’m going in to take my college algebra final and I’ve never been to class. Even with those limited skills I can follow the audit trail here.

How long do you think it took the clerk’s supervisor to pick up the phone and call the FBI? Any answer longer than nano-seconds is wrong. Now it may have taken the FBI counter-intelligence folks a few days or even a few weeks to cross reference the logs, interview those poor lieutenant colonels whose signatures appeared on the logs and compile the list, but Joe Biden hadn’t had time to warm the chair in the Oval Office before the FBI knew exactly how many documents were missing and in the possession of ex-POTUS.

So why did it take so long to get all of them back? 

Two possible reasons: 1.) They are dealing with a former president. A former president who doesn’t hesitate to use his bully pulpit to attack the “deep state” and might even publish the documents.

2.) The feds were giving him enough rope to hang himself. Remember they had video cameras watching Mar-a-Lago. Maybe, just maybe, they were waiting for folks with briefcases full of cash to show up for the documents. Now wouldn’t that be sweet revenge for a guy by the name of Peter Strzok. Remember him? He’s the FBI deputy director that Trump fired, just before his pension vested, for the Russia investigation. Cops do stick together.

Now I could be all wrong about this and maybe the feds had no idea what Trump had in his seaside storage room, but if I’m wrong there’s a whole bunch of Federal employees who need to take a remedial math course.

© William L. Enyart

Reflections from the River