By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US intelligence community will assess the potential risk to national security from the disclosure of material recovered during the Aug. 8 search of the residence of former President Donald Trump in Florida, according to a letter seen by Reuters.
Friday’s letter from National Intelligence Director (DNI) Avril Haines to House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff and Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney also said the Department of Justice and DNI are “working together to develop a classification assessment.” facilitating” materials, including those found during the search.
Schiff and Maloney said in a joint statement they were pleased that the government is “assessing the damage caused by the improper storage of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago”. Politico reported the letter earlier.
The Justice Department announced Friday that it was investigating Trump for removing White House records because it believed he was in illegal possession of documents, including some related to intelligence gathering and clandestine human sources — a of America’s most closely kept secrets.
Haines said DNI “will also conduct an intelligence community (IC) assessment of the potential risk to national security that would arise from the disclosure of the relevant documents,” including the seized documents.
The Justice Department released a heavily redacted affidavit on Friday supporting the FBI’s extraordinary search for Mar-a-Lago, in which agents seized 11 sets of classified records, including some labeled “top secret” as documents containing a could pose a serious threat to national security if disclosed.
In the affidavit, an unidentified FBI agent said the agency reviewed and identified 184 documents “with classification marks” containing “national defense information” after Trump returned 15 boxes of government documents searched by the US National Archives in January. . Other records in those boxes contain, according to the affidavit, Trump’s handwritten notes.
Schiff and Maloney said the Justice Department’s release on Friday “confirms our grave concern that among the documents stored at Mar-a-Lago were documents that could endanger human resources and the damage done.”
The search was part of a federal investigation into whether Trump illegally removed and kept documents when he left office in January 2021 after losing the 2020 election to President Joe Biden and whether Trump was trying to obstruct the investigation.
Trump, a Republican who is considering running for president again in 2024, has described the court-approved search of the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach as politically motivated and again described Friday as a “burglary.”
(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Daniel Wallis and Chizu Nomiyama)