The Legal and Political Significance of Nuclear Document[s] Trump Is Suspected to Have Stolen

After Merrick Garland called Trump’s bluff yesterday, multiple outlets reported that DOJ was looking for documents relating to nuclear weapons.

Classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought in a search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence on Monday, according to people familiar with the investigation.


Material about nuclear weapons is especially sensitive and usually restricted to a small number of government officials, experts said. Publicizing details about U.S. weapons could provide an intelligence road map to adversaries seeking to build ways of countering those systems. And other countries might view exposing their nuclear secrets as a threat, experts said.

It’s unclear whether this information is coming from investigators trying to demonstrate what a no-brainer this search was, people who’ve otherwise seen the Attachment listing items to seize, or from Trump’s camp in an effort to pre-empt damage from when this will be released. With few exceptions, most details made public about the search thus far have come from Trump’s side.

But the report that FBI showed probable cause to believe Trump was hoarding a document or documents pertaining to nukes has several significant legal and political implications.

First, it makes it far more likely that Trump has violated, and can be proven to have violated, part of the Espionage Act, 18 USC 793.

In my post describing the likely content of an affidavit justifying a search of the former President, I noted that somewhere in there, the FBI would have had to anticipate and rule out the possibility that Trump simply declassified these documents which, if Trump could prove it, would render the documents simply stolen documents covered by the Presidential Records Act.

  • Some explanation of why DOJ believes that these documents weren’t actually declassified by Trump before he stole them

But the fact that these are nuclear documents, under the Atomic Energy Act, Trump cannot declassify them by himself. They’re “restricted documents,” the one kind of document that’s true of. Here are threads by Kel McClanahan and Cheryl Rofer explaining the distinctions — even Chelsea Manning weighed in! As McClanahan likened it, nuclear documents are protected by two padlocks, and Trump only had the legal key to one of those padlocks.

So by showing probable cause that Trump had stolen at least one document pertaining to nuclear weapons, FBI would accomplish that task: Trump could not claim to have declassified any such documents, because he cannot have declassified them by himself.

Now consider how it impacts Trump’s exposure under the Espionage Act. As I laid out here, to prove someone violated the Espionage Act, you don’t actually prove they were refusing to return classified information; you prove they had what is called “National Defense Information.” Even if Trump claimed to have declassified the documents, if the Agency in question (here, likely DOD or DOE) still believed the information to be classified and still treated as such, it could still qualify as NDI. But ultimately, a jury gets to decide whether something is NDI or not. One key difference between the first and second Joshua Schulte trials, for example, is that DOJ relied not on expert testimony to prove that he leaked or was trying to leak NDI, but rather on the logic of why the government would want to keep information about its assets secret. I thought it was one of the areas where the second prosecution was vastly more effective than the first.

There are few easier concepts to explain to a juror than that you need to keep information about nuclear weapons safe, and that doing so pertains to the national defense.

Then there’s the backstory. Early in the Trump Administration, there were reports that Trump had a scheme (one that involved all Trump’s sketchiest flunkies, including Mike Flynn) to transfer sensitive nuclear reactor technology to Saudi Arabia. The Oversight Committee conducted an investigation, the results of which, with the hindsight of Mohammed bin Salman’s $2 billion investment in a paper-thin Jared Kushner finance scheme and the Foreign Agent charges against Tom Barrack, look all the more suspect.

In 2017, President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, orchestrated a visit to Saudi Arabia as the President’s first overseas trip. Mr. Kushner also met on his own with then-Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who subsequently ousted his cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, launched a crackdown against dozens of Saudi royal family members, and reportedly bragged that Mr. Kushner was “in his pocket.”

In October 2018, the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was met with equivocation by President Trump and other top Administration officials. This month, the White House ignored a 120-day deadline for a report on Mr. Khashoggi’s killing requested on a bipartisan basis by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Within the United States, strong private commercial interests have been pressing aggressively for the transfer of highly sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia—a potential risk to U.S. national security absent adequate safeguards. These commercial entities stand to reap billions of dollars through contracts associated with constructing and operating nuclear facilities in Saudi Arabia—and apparently have been in close and repeated contact with President Trump and his Administration to the present day.

However, experts worry that transferring sensitive U.S. nuclear technology could allow Saudi Arabia to produce nuclear weapons that contribute to the proliferation of nuclear arms throughout an already unstable Middle East. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman conceded this point in 2018, proclaiming: “Without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.”

When Congress passed the Atomic Energy Act, it imposed stringent controls on the export of U.S. technology to a foreign country that could be used to create nuclear weapons. Under Section 123 of the Act, the U.S. may not transfer nuclear technology to a foreign country without the approval of Congress, in order to ensure that the agreement reached with the foreign government meets nine specific nonproliferation requirements.


[W]histleblowers provided new information about IP3 International, a private company that has assembled a consortium of U.S. companies to build nuclear plants in Saudi Arabia. According to media reports, IP3’s only project to date is the Saudi nuclear plan. A key proponent of this nuclear effort was General Michael Flynn, who described himself in filings as an “advisor” to a subsidiary of IP3, IronBridge Group Inc., from June 2016 to December 2016—at the same time he was serving as Donald Trump’s national security advisor during the presidential campaign and the presidential transition. According to the whistleblowers, General Flynn continued to advocate for the adoption of the IP3 plan not only during the transition, but even after he joined the White House as President Trump’s National Security Advisor.


Another key proponent of this effort was Thomas Barrack, President Trump’s personal friend of several decades and the Chairman of his Inaugural Committee.

The nuclear energy scheme (which did not involve nuclear weapons, but implicated concerns that the Saudis would develop them) overlaps closely with the scope of the Foreign Agent charges against Barrack (and I don’t rule out that FBI’s focus on such document(s) stems, in part, from Barrack’s upcoming trial). One of the overt acts charged against Barrack, for example, is that he “forced” the Trump White House to elevate the treatment of MbS on a visit to the US in March 2017 beyond that accorded by his rank at the time.

To be sure: There’s not a hint of evidence that the government has reason to believe Trump tried to sell or otherwise share the documents he stole with foreign entities. If the government suspected Trump might do so with Restricted Documents covered by the Atomic Energy Act, it would implicate a different crime, 40 USC 2274, with which Jonathan Toebbe was charged last year for trying to deal such technology to Brazil. Trump has succeeded in obscuring the crimes listed on his warrant (though not all crimes need to be listed on the overt warrant), but if the Atomic Energy Act were implicated, that would be really hard to do (unless this leaked detail is an effort on Trump’s part to prepare for the mention of the Atomic Energy Act on the warrant, though I doubt that’s the case).

So for now, Trump’s past history of attempting to share nuclear technology with the Saudis for the profit of his closest advisors is just background noise: something that makes it all the more concerning he is suspected of stealing such documents. But if the FBI did not find nuclear documents they have reason to believe Trump stole, then that could change quickly.

Finally, there’s a political angle. The press has been absolutely remiss in calling out Republicans for their hypocrisy about classified information — or their irresponsibility in parroting Trump’s complaints about a serious breach investigation. Instead, the press treated the nation’s security as a he-said, she-said fight between political parties.

But the report that the FBI has reason to believe that Trump stole documents about nuclear weapons provides just the kind of horse race angle that seems to be the only thing that vast swaths of journalists can understand anymore. That’s because in 2016, Marco Rubio argued that Trump was “unfit for the Presidency” because we could not give the “nuclear codes of the United States to an erratic individual.”

Indeed, Val Demings, who is in a close fight against Rubio in November’s Senate elections, just made it an issue yesterday, before the nuclear angle became clear.

2016 Marco Rubio scoffed at the notion that someone like Trump should be given access to the nuclear codes. 2022 Marco Rubio — largely because he wants to win Trump’s favor in the election against Demings — doesn’t even want the FBI to investigate whether Trump stole the nuclear codes when he left office.

Perhaps with a horserace angle, the press might finally hold Republicans accountable for their irresponsibility of their efforts to protect Trump here.

66 replies
  1. punaise says:

    It’s a short logical leap from nuclear secrets to nuclear fusion* to Fusion GPS and the Steele Dossier and its all Hillary’s fault.

    *( I know, it’s fission, not fusion: artistic license / frisson)

    • ergo says:

      I have literally read multiple posts where people 2 friend’s away from me so to speak, are pulling whataboutism with Clinton on this. I can hardly believe the takes, really.

    • Dan says:

      “Well, actually…” Thermonuclear weapons (a.k.a. hydrogen bombs) do both: they use a fission reaction (uranium or plutonium) to trigger a fusion reaction (hydrogen isotopes).

      All of which is to say that we don’t even need to see your artistic license. Carry on!

      [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Dan” or “Daniel.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

  2. Paul says:

    Thanks Marcy for a great post. I question how tfg would know the significance or the value of the nuclear related documents he took from the WH. He notoriously had no interest in his PDB, etc. It seems he would need someone to help him identify what records were significant or valuable.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Paul.” Sorry not to have asked this of you when you first commented 10-AUG. Thanks. /~Rayne]

      • timbo says:

        This. And that’s just what the law in the Espionage Act is designed to prevent through deterrence. Failure to execute those laws faithfully means the deterrent value of the Espionage Act is of little value.

  3. Rugger9 says:

    As usual, EW’s hit the most probable scenario. It ties many threads together and might also explain why MbS always seems to have that ‘insider knowledge’ grin in the pictures I’ve seen with the various characters from the last WH. It might even underpin how Individual-1 was so willing to support the LIV tour beyond the mere generation of cash.

    What might argue against the scenario is that if this is true then MbS doesn’t have the secrets yet (but perhaps SIGINT picked up an imminent delivery) and we know Individual-1 hasn’t left any pennies on sidewalks since he left office because of his mounting legal bills (even if the GQP is paying many of those).

    Add to that the financially challenged and desperate DPRK (or Pakistani) regime would be perfectly fine selling the secrets and the DPRK security would be very tight. The PRC is a lesser possibility for MbS, mostly because of the challenge of getting the Saudi oil to Beijing. Right now it goes by ship. This would undercut the leverage Individual-1 could exert on MbS.

    I would guess that revelations are forthcoming, but EW’s identification of possible markets for the information is a big help in making sense of this mess.

    Don’t expect the courtier press to be much help, though. The editors who will be deciding what stories will run and how they will be phrased are at least tacit supporters of the GQP. Perhaps MTG, Boebert, et al can be guaranteed to provide the best sound bites..

    • Rugger9 says:

      One wonders whether the rumored stash of KJU ‘love letters’ to Individual-1 contains references to a three-way deal with the Saudis.

      • John Paul Jones says:

        The North Koreans already have a reactor and weapons they’ve made from it, so they don’t need a deal with the Saudis. And as another commenter pointed out (it’s a little ways down in this thread, from ira), the Saudis have potential access to weapons through their links to the Pakistani military, and so are unlikely to approach the North Koreans asking for same.

  4. Eureka says:

    [This follows along with all your caveats]

    I’d just noted on the previous post Trump’s long-time fixation on nuclear matters since — at least, as publicly stated — 1984 and his “goal” to bring nuclear peace, in line with Jared’s later-stated “plan” to broker Middle East peace. [Actually did a thread a few years back with other sources but can’t find it.] While Trump then and subsequently gave the whole Uncle John-as-inspiration origin story, this was when he was believed to be under the surveillance and influence of Czech (Soviet-satellite) intelligence service(s) via Ivana and their travels. Political ambitions — floats — followed shortly thereafter.

    “Nuclear” is a rooting concept for Trump, IOW a well-known deal-making, boundary-violating, +/- hoarding weakness.

    The thin air from which Jared’s “expertise” to deal with such matters drifts from and parallels (that of) his father-in-law — a vacuous, family- or heritage-based connection.

    This — what you lay out above — would be the union of young Trump and young Jared’s surface “ideals”, excuses to get their noses into respective intelligence areas and make grift.

    Sources here:

  5. Raven Eye says:

    When you get into the area of nuclear weapons, you see those parallel security measures that come into play.

    Look at the procedural information in 32 CFR 117.20 Critical Nuclear Weapon Design Information (CNWDI) — pronounced “sin-widdy”. This deals with procedures for contractors, but is illustrative.

    You can have a TS/SCI, but that won’t give you access to even some pretty mundane activities involving nuclear weapons (or even simulated nuclear weapons) unless you also have the CNWDI, which is granted through an entirely separate process.

  6. ExpatR&RDino-sour says:

    Is it the case that someone we all know can respond to a DOJ deadline by simply adding “release it now!” (which he could have just done himself if I understand it correctly) to a social media post with a lot of political effluent included? Does it not take any kind of formal action?

    The nuclear stuff all feels a bit too James Bond to me and too bad to be true, but then Jared Kushner reminds me of a Damien I saw in a movie a long time ago.

  7. klynn says:

    Thank you for this post.

    On Twitter:
    “Two things you can do to limit the number of people who’ll get killed–one thing you HAVE TO DO–is to call out Trump’s lies and manage expectations.”

    Have you thought of doing a “dear readers this is how to hold journalists accountable” post?

    A primer for the every day person on how to hold the media responsible? At Firedoglake, I recall posts that guided readers on “how to” accountability steps and wording in an effort for a grassroots movement to hold media accountable, congress accountable and corporations accountable. Such efforts were impactful.

    Again, thank you for this post and your call out on Twitter to your fellow journalists to not get people killed.

  8. Drew says:

    Trump has been very quick to go to the press to deny that the search was for nuclear documents. While nothing he ever says is credible, it’s also not impossible that he, or his camp decided to have that story planted so that when, later today, the warrant and inventory are released, he will have something to be aggrieved about. “See, it’s only the NATO troop deployments and contingency plans for wars in Europe, it’s not the nuclear codes–you guys were just persecuting me, saying that I’d taken important stuff, when it’s not.”

    • Tom-1812 says:

      Or Trump’s supporters will try to find a way to neutralize or sugarcoat the word nuclear and say, in effect, “You say nuclear weapons like they’re a bad thing.”

      After all, isn’t nuclear energy clean energy? Don’t we refer to the nuclear family? When we talk about using the nuclear option in politics we don’t actually blow up anyone. The message from the MAGA mob will be, “All this fuss over nothing! Just a bunch of nuclear weapons documents!”

    • RSulli says:

      The nuke codes are the least of anyone’s worries. I am sure they are changed on a very frequent basis. No way would they be the same now as they were years ago.

  9. Badger Robert says:

    Its a pleasure to read such sentences. The paragraphs require careful study. Its wonderful.
    I have to think “nuclear” is going to be a magic word. It seems nuclear was leaked by DofJ through former DofJ officials. It hasn’t been denied by Trump’s lawyers.That word is going to start to peal off some Rep elected officials. But it will have a big effect on R leaning independents, one of Gallup’s four alignment categories.
    By 3:00 eastern, any objections to release of the warrant and the inventory will probably be moot. The objections might be made, simply to allow the lawyers to protect themselves. There might be a hearing. But the documents will be released. The DofJ will be allowed to respond to unfounded allegations of misconduct by releasing the documents.
    Thanks for the daily dose of clarity.

    • timbo says:

      Solomon is not a reliable source. Further, he may be implicated in this investigation. Word has it that he was designated as Twitler’s agent at NARA back in May or June. I doubt that Solomon had any legal authority to see some of these documents whatsoever. And waving a magic wand now isn’t going to change that.

  10. Mister Sterling says:

    I just remembered something! Back in February 2021, when tens of thousands of Americans were dying each week and we were still reeling from the terrorist attack on Capital Hill, Biden and Psaki both said that the White House was going to consider revoking Trump’s security clearance and access to PDBs.

    Not action was taken, though, correct? You think maybe this issue should be raised again.

    • bmaz says:

      Okay, we have been through this before. No, Trump did NOT, ever, have a security clearance, he was able to see any level of material simply by the fact he was President. There was nothing to revoke. As to briefing, yes Biden did eliminate that.

      • FLwolverine says:

        I remember reading suggestions that candidates for Presidents should be subject to a security review like applicants for sensitive government positions (not the actual granting of a security clearance, which isn’t necessary, but just the review). At first glance this sounds like a good idea (especially post-Trump), but perhaps it could be too easily manipulated by the party in power at the time?

        • Ravenclaw says:

          Beyond security clearance: Back when I was a wee lad there was a proposal to implement a sanity test for voters. It was lampooned in Pogo, a comic strip of that era. One character (Porkypine?) asked whether there would be a sanity test for the candidates. Another (Howland? Churchy?) replied that if he wasn’t a voter it wouldn’t be necessary.

        • blueedredcounty says:

          It should be a legal requirement that before you can be named a presidential candidate for a political party, you must pass a background check. It doesn’t have to be for a full security clearance, but it does need to be at least the minimum check done for a public trust position.

      • Peterr says:

        The President has no security clearance, and so immediately loses access to any classified materials at noon on Jan 20 when they leave office. The pre-Trump practice had been for the incoming President to grant a security clearance to the predecessor, so that when the predecessor took foreign trips or entertained foreign officials, they could receive briefings to assist with that and could then also report back what had transpired.

        Biden, wisely, declined to extend that courtesy to Trump. He didn’t revoke a clearance, but refused to grant one as had been done for every prior president upon their departure. (Yet another “first” for Donald Trump, a truly exceptional president.)

        And see the following post for more on how Biden has had to rebuild our foreign policy post-Trump.

        • LeeNLP says:

          ‘Yet another “first” for Donald Trump, a truly exceptional president.’

          May he be forever exceptional.

  11. Tuxspeedo says:

    here’s a complete guess, since we’re all just waiting around – regarding the nuclear documents – Assuming no one at DOJ contributed to the WaPo story, Trump and co. are most likely the ones who gave that info, no?

    If that were the case, I’m wondering why they would give that up if they didn’t yet have to.

    Two reasons I can think of – first, to get ahead of that revelation and have a couple days to dampen the blow, and/or hope that the released version (not his copy of course) is redacted enough to maintain some level of deniability….

    Second, and again only a wild hypothetical — what if there actually wasn’t any nuclear info on the search list? Knowing their penchant for cat and mouse gaming – releasing a bogus tidbit like that would allow for more “hey look, no nuclear info, fake news, witch hunt, political stunt” to continue, ad nauseam — not that it solves any of the other immediate problems he has, but I doubt DOJ would further enter a back and forth public argument at this stage… just trying to think in Trump terms here (one dimensional checkers) but this would at least draw the issue out a bit and give his ding-dong army some more time to foam at the mouth in his defense…. or, you know send him a couple more dollars.

  12. Bay State Librul says:

    On March 29, 1951, the court convicted Julius and Ethel Rosenberg of conspiracy to commit espionage. On April 5, Judge Kaufman sentenced them to death, and sentenced Sobell to 30 years in prison.

    Do I dare to eat a peach?

    Do I dare to use the word?

    Don’t give it a second thought!

    • Nick Caraway says:

      “Do I dare to eat a peach?
      I will give communion breakfasts, my Rad Dem Leftist speech.
      I have heard the jailbirds singing, each to each.

      I do not think that they will sing to me.”

    • ira says:

      And you know who was instrumental in persuading Judge Kaufman to sentence the Rosenbergs to death ?

      Roy Cohn.

      The circle is complete.

  13. wetzel says:

    Marcy, thank you for the analysis, I wanted to suggest one addition to this statement:

    “It’s unclear whether this information is coming from investigators trying to demonstrate what a no-brainer this search was, people who’ve otherwise seen the Attachment listing items to seize, or from Trump’s camp in an effort to pre-empt damage from when this will be released.”

    Watching the press frenzy about ‘nuclear secrets’, it occurred to me that maybe there is a fourth option, which might be that Trump’s camp is feeding the story in an effort to pre-empt damage from something which would normally be very damaging, but not as damaging as nuclear secrets. When it turns out there were no nuclear secrets, the story can become all about ‘look, they accused Trump and it turned out to be a lie.’

    I remember the run-up to the 2000 election when the Bush DUI memos turned out to be forgeries (many suspect those were Roger Stone’s handiwork). The false evidence became the story instead of the actual DUI. Seeing Morning Joe go to town today on ‘nuclear secrets’ has given me a sense of dread about this possibility. Maybe it is far-fetched.

    I also wanted to expand on this point: “The nuclear energy scheme (which did not involve nuclear weapons, but implicated concerns that the Saudis would develop them)”

    Nuclear weapons development is more closely tied to nuclear energy than ‘implicated concerns’. Nuclear energy directly concerns weapons development. Nuclear weapon can use U235 (Little Boy) or Pu244 (Fat Man). Plutonium weapons are tied to nuclear energy like baking bread is tied to farming. A nuclear power industry would give Saudi Arabia a path to weapons grade material, in other words, that would be much less painstaking than the centrifugation of U235 (which Iran is following).

    • Peter says:

      The making of a “dirty bomb” for use in crowded urban environments would not even require centrifuge. Just attaching explosives to a package of U235 could do the trick, say in Tehran – or once again, Manhattan.

      [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members and a contributor named “Peter.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • ira says:

      It’s something akin to common knowledge that the Saudi military is heavily populated at all levels — including quite senior ones — by Pakistanis (apparently Gulf royals are not the fighting type.) It’s also believed that the Saudis paid for the Pakistani nuclear program (makes sense given the previous sentence.) So, in a sense, the Saudis already have nuclear weapons – they’re just stored in Islamabad.

    • Alan Charbonneau says:

      The Moscow Project website has an article called:

      It’s a nice overview of Flynn & assoc’s plan for making money through nuclear power plants across the Middle East

      https://themoscowproject. (dot) org/explainers/seychelles-uae-george-nader-michael-flynn-middle-east-marshall-plan/index.html

  14. bmaz says:

    Lol, are there any more questions as to whether Cassidy Hutchinson was security cleared to see the putative documents at Mar-a-Lago (or anywhere else)?

    • timbo says:

      Okay, I’ll bite. How would we know one way or the other? I’m pretty sure certain NSC officials and legal office personnel kept their clearances in some fashion. Why not other White House staff that weren’t specifically singled out by EO/intelligence folks?

      Hutchinson was a Congressional staffer before at White House, correct? She might have had clearance from then—would that be instantly taken away? Maybe, maybe not. Certainly for many of them it would be easy enough to just get the clearance renewed if they had a halfway good case for it. Maybe not top level clearance but certainly lower-level clearance required by any potential employer would be fairly easily unless there was a flag on a particular person.

  15. Nick Caraway says:

    “Do I dare to eat a peach?
    I shall wear an orange jumpsuit and walk upon the beach.
    I have heard the jailbirds singing, each to each.
    I do not think that they will sing to me.”

    • fubar jack says:

      While seeing tfg in an orange jump suit would be thrilling , I feel that I must not raise that expectation too much. I would gladly accept an outcome in which he is no longer able to run in 2024. Perhaps this shitstorm is the thing that will accomplish this. I was reminded by another commenter on a previous post that he is just the tip of a fascist iceberg that is heading toward democracies around the world. He is the far right’s avatar and if he becomes irrelevant then perhaps that iceberg will start to break up…thanks for your hard work EW!

      • Nick Caraway says:

        Since I haven’t yet mastered the editing commands here — I originally meant to delete this comment…. My comment (and the one that finally got placed where it meant to be, in reply to Bay State Librul) — was about wordplay in the spirit of this site’s more experienced commenters such as punaise. I am agnostic if not skeptical about the chances for Trump to get indicted, much less convicted.

  16. Ken Muldrew says:

    As McClanahan likened it, nuclear documents are protected by two padlocks, and Trump only had the legal key to one of those padlocks.

    Does anyone know which authority has the other key? Would a request for such a key be the kind of thing that might unite 10 former secretaries of defense to come together and warn people that a blathering fool is actually a clear and present danger?

    • Rayne says:

      See 36 CFR § 1260.28 – Who is responsible for declassifying Restricted Data, Formerly Restricted Data, and Transclassified Foreign Nuclear Information?

      (a) Only designated officials within the Department of Energy (DOE) may declassify Restricted Data (RD) (as defined by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended). The declassification of Formerly Restricted Data (FRD) (as defined in 10 CFR 1045.3) may only be performed after designated officials within DOE, in conjunction with designated officials within DOD, have determined that the FRD marking may be removed. Declassification of Transclassified Foreign Nuclear Information (TFNI) (as defined in 32 CFR 2001.24(i)) may be performed only by designated officials within DOE.

      (b) Any record that contains RD, FRD, or TFNI shall be excluded from automatic declassification and referred by the primary reviewing agency to DOE using a completed SF 715 to communicate both the referral action and the actions taken on the equities of the primary reviewing agency. Any record identified by the primary reviewing agency as potentially containing RD, FRD, or TFNI shall be referred to DOE using a completed SF 715.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The blandly titled DoE might better read the Department of Nuclear Energy. The arrangement is part of a budgetary and bureaucratic workaround, originally meant to understate the dominance of the DoD in government and American life. Veteran medical and related care was distributed to the VA, retirement costs went to the Treasury, the DoE works extensively to support the nuclear arsenal, intelligence gathering went to several agencies, and so on.

      • Rayne says:

        No. Not in the age of renewable energy focus, EoH. Nuclear energy is only a subset of DOE’s portfolio.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I did not say it was the DoE’s only work, only its most prominent. Apart from research and military arms, the private nuclear industry would not exist absent government subsidy and regulation, starting with its access to fissionable materials. As you say, other issues are becoming more prominent in its portfolio. The observation about its origins, and that of several other agencies, stands.

        • Rayne says:

          You wrote: “The blandly titled DoE might better read the Department of Nuclear Energy.

          To which I replied No.

      • VietVet68 says:

        I have long thought that one purpose of placing the weapons program under the auspices of the Atomic Energy Commission and then the Department of Energy was to obscure and spread the extraordinary expense of weapons programs across the electricity generation industry (branded- “Atoms for Peace”), developing the key elements of weapons production (vast uranium mining and processing facilities, personnel and their training, and university and national laboratory R & D- hiding enormous costs behind the propaganda branding- “Atoms for Peace.”

        • Rayne says:

          And yet because of the smaller budget allocated for DOE compared to DOD, it’s easier to track where money is spent at DOE.

  17. klynn says:

    This is such a fragile moment for the US as well as a moment of strength for Democracy in terms of the search warrant and possible contents discovered. While this link is technically OT it does relate in terms of RU information war against the US (and Ukraine) that will result (and has been on going) as DOJ walks through the pre indictment process. RU will work to seed divisiveness and stoke violence in the US. We must not allow it.

    EW thank you for your efforts today to pre-empt lies and to hold fellow journalists accountable.

  18. Paulka says:

    The more I think about it, I am reminded of Trump wanting to nuke hurricanes. Perhaps the documents relate to that scheme! ok, being a bit facetious but with Trump you really never know what is absurd or not.

  19. Xboxershorts says:

    As for the search warrant execution and the details Dr Marcy provides, this is why I read the stuff the good Dr publishes.

    But I got a nagging suspicion here as to WHY NOW…

    I recall a mention that DoJ had subpeona’d the surveillance video from Mar-A-Lardgo.

    And now I wonder if they saw something on that video that made them step up their
    urgency to retrieve these very sensitive documents.

  20. Tom-1812 says:

    In politics, aren’t Friday afternoons the best time to dump bad news when you’ve got no choice but to dump it? Maybe that’s part of Trump’s thinking in choosing not to fight what might be coming out in a few hours.

  21. Ed Walker says:

    Great minds run in the same channel. Here’s the excellent Heather Cox Richardson in her must-read newsletter:

    But what springs to mind for me is the plan pushed by Trump’s first national security advisor, Michael Flynn, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and fundraiser and campaign advisor Tom Barrack, to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. In 2019, whistleblowers from the National Security Council worried that their efforts might have broken the law and that the effort to make the transfer was ongoing. The plan was to enable Saudi leaders to build nuclear power plants, a plan that would have yielded billions of dollars to the investors but would have allowed Saudi Arabia to build nuclear weapons.

  22. gmoke says:

    I look forward to Trmp following in Eugene Debs’ footsteps by running for the Presidency while in prison for violating the Espionage Act.

  23. Willis Warren says:

    I doubt DOJ is leaking anything, all of this is coming from Trump. Breitbart has a copy of the subpoena, claiming the FBI waited three whole days to raid MAL, which is the weekend, basically. The spin will be “why’d they wait if it was so important”

    Trump tweeted (or whatever they call it on truth social) that “First, they were declassified” which is hilariously on queue

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Apparently they call it “truthing.” Once again I marvel at Stephen Colbert’s prescient genius when he came up with the word/concept “truthiness.”

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