Here’s what we learned from the DOJ photo of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago

Justice Department Tuesday Night filing in court in his ongoing investigation into classified documents stored at former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate, he included never-before-seen details of the investigation – but perhaps none were as revealing as a photograph from the FBI of documents recovered from Trump’s personal office during the Aug. 8 office raid.

From the FBI search for Mar-a-Lago, some members of Trump’s team downplayed the documents he kept at the resort as memorabilia containing little sensitive information. But the photo released by the Justice Department appears to refute those claims, showing document after document clearly labeled Secret and Top Secret.

In a filing in court On Wednesday night, Trump’s attorneys criticized the photo and its inclusion in the government’s brief opposing Trump’s request for a special master to review recovered documents.

“The government’s response included a complimentary photograph of allegedly classified documents extracted from a container and spread out on the ground for dramatic effect,” the filing said. “The government claims that these are not historically significant times, telling this Court that not only is it opposing a special master, but the Movant should have no opportunity to challenge any aspect of this behavior and taking. of decision.”

While portions of the FBI photo are redacted, close examination of the image reveals new clues about the kind of classified documents the former president continued to cling to even after the Justice Department issued a warrant. subpoena for their return.

Graded Cover Sheets

The photo shows numerous documents on the floor of Trump’s personal office, including color-coded cover sheets showing classification marks in large bold letters.

“A review of those covers alone speaks volumes,” Douglas London, a 34-year-old CIA veteran, told ABC News of the DOJ photo. “As intelligence’s most important client, it’s no surprise that the president receives the most sensitive information — and that’s reflected in these documents.”

Markings on the cover pages include “TOP SECRET/SCI”, which refers to Sensitive Compartmented Information classified as national intelligence “regarding or originating from intelligence sources,” according to a separate document from the Director of National Intelligence reviewed by ABC News. This material may come from allies or informants, or from spying or eavesdropping.

PHOTO: FBI photograph of redacted documents and classified covers recovered from a container stored at the Florida estate of former US President Donald Trump that was included in a US Department of Justice filing on August 30, 2022.

FBI photograph of redacted documents and classified covers recovered from a container stored at the Florida estate of former US President Donald Trump that was included in a US Department of Justice filing on August 30, 2022.

US Department of Justice via Reuters

A cover sheet near the bottom center of the photo also appears to show an “HCS-P/SI/TK” classification marking. HCS-P refers to the HUMINT Control System, which is “designed to protect intelligence information from covert human sources, commonly referred to as ‘Human Intelligence’. SI, or Special Intelligence, refers to an Information Control System at sensitive compartments “designed to protect technical and intelligence information derived from the monitoring of foreign communications signals by recipients other than the intended recipients,” according to the FBI.

London, who is also the author of “The Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligence”, said: “If HCS is on the front page, it means that at least some of this information was taken from human sources. And HCS-P is sensitive even by the standards of human sources.”

“Without being melodramatic, anything that helps an adversary identify a human source means life or death,” he said. “People’s lives are really at stake.”

There is also a handwritten marker next to the document that reads “2A,” which appears to refer to “Item 2A” on the property receipt that was given to Trump’s attorneys after the search. On the receipt, “Exhibit 2A” is described as “Miscellaneous Classified Documents/TS/SCI”.

Dates on documents

Even if the contents of the documents are not visible on the photo, the dates of certain documents are visible. While it’s unclear how or if the dates correlate to the classified information, they could provide potential clues to what Trump was dealing with publicly at the time.

Two documents with a “limited access” marker appear to be dated August 26, 2018. Although little other information about these documents is visible, it is known that in August 2018, Trump was in the thickness Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into 2016 Trump campaign contact with Russia.

On the eve of August 26, Trump, posted on Twitter, unloaded himself on Muller and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had by then recused themselves from the Russia investigation, according to records kept by the UC Santa Barbara US Presidency project.

A month earlier, Mueller had indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers for hacking and distributing Democratic emails during the 2016 campaign.

Additionally, days before August 26, 2018, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was guilty on eight counts of tax evasion.

August 26, 2018 was also the day after Senator John McCain died.

A separate document shown in the photo is dated May 9, 2018, the same day Trump gave a speech announcing he was withdraw usa of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

On the same day, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, leading Trump to announce that Pompeo would return to the United States with three Americans who had been released from prison in South Korea. North.

“I’m so honored to have helped these great people, but the real honor will be if we win a victory in eliminating nuclear weapons,” Trump said while standing on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews. “We have a meeting scheduled in a very short time. We have the venue set. We’ll see if we can do something that people didn’t think would happen for many, many years.”

Trump ended up meeting Kim the following month at a summit in Singapore, after which Trump announced that North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat to America. However North Korea resumed build new missiles the following month.

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