Did Kash Patel Already Confess to Illegally Disseminating Carter Page FISA Information?

I’m pretty proud of how closely my two posts (first, second) predicted what the likely and known contents of the Trump affidavit would be. I pretty accurately described the structure, the contents, and many of the known details of what we’ve seen of the application so far.

That’s especially true of the statutory section. I not only predicted that — “Particularly given the novel legal issues implicating a search of the former President” — there would be a substantial statutory background section, but that, “If there’s a version of this statutory language, it may be among the things DOJ would acquiesce to releasing.”

Which they did.

And, to a significant extent, I predicted what would be in that statutory section. Here is that section of my post, with the paragraphs of the Trump affidavit where that language appears in bold and linked.

Everything I expected to be in there, was in there. The details I didn’t anticipate, though, are pretty noteworthy.

That’s particularly true of the section describing special designations. These designations all stem from what the FBI found in the 15 boxes Trump returned in January.

From May 16-18, 2022, FBI agents conducted a preliminary review of the FIFTEEN BOXES provided to NARA and identified documents with classification markings in fourteen of the FIFTEEN BOXES. A preliminary triage of the documents with classification markings revealed the following approximate numbers: 184 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 67 documents marked as CONFIDENTIAL, 92 documents marked as SECRET, and 25 documents marked as TOP SECRET. Further, the FBI agents observed markings reflecting the following compartments/dissemination controls: HCS, FISA, ORCON, NOFORN, and SI. Based on my training and experience, I know that documents classified at these levels typically contain NDI. Several of the documents also contained what appears to be FPOTUS ‘s handwritten notes.

If the FBI found a document of a particular type in May, it included that designation in this statutory section.

The Atomic Energy Act was not included, which means (as some knowledgable people predicted in advance), if Trump had nuke documents, they’re not about our nukes, they’re about someone else’s. Trump’s affidavit also includes a description of HCS and SI, Human and Signals Intelligence, designations which have appropriately sobered the response of at least some Republicans, because they mean Trump could get someone killed.

The mention of ORCON — Originator Controlled material — would mostly matter if the FBI found that one of NSA documents that Mike Ellis was sharing with unauthorized people and places during the period Trump was packing up were among the things in the boxes. Those documents were both described as relating to (a or some), “controlled, compartmented NSA program,” in the Inspector General Report on Ellis and the designation ORCON would matter more if documents were retained after the Originator made a sustained effort to get them back, as NSA did in this case.

It’s the mention of FISA, though, that I should have anticipated, and which could present heightened legal problems for Trump — and Kash Patel, and others.

14. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or “FISA,” is a dissemination control designed to protect intelligence information derived from the collection of information authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or “FISC.”

That’s because both Kash and John Solomon have been attempting to create an alibi for information that may include the final Carter Page application. And, as that preliminary review determined, there was at least one FISA document in the boxes returned in January.

On top of any violations of the Espionage Act, if Trump took a copy of that with him after he was fired, it might constitute unlawful dissemination under FISA.

Between them, Kash and Solomon — whom Trump made his representatives to NARA on June 19 — have described that materials relating to the Russian investigation were among those NARA found in the returned boxes and that they might include a Carter Page FISA warrant (which I assume must mean the application).

There’s the May 5 column in which Kash claimed that everything that had been returned in the 15 boxes had been declassified.

“Trump declassified whole sets of materials in anticipation of leaving government that he thought the American public should have the right to read themselves,” Patel told Breitbart News in a phone interview.

“The White House counsel failed to generate the paperwork to change the classification markings, but that doesn’t mean the information wasn’t declassified,” Patel said. “I was there with President Trump when he said ‘We are declassifying this information.’”

In that column, Kash exhibited knowledge that the materials included documents from “Russiagate” [sic] and Impeachment 1.0.

“It’s information that Trump felt spoke to matters regarding everything from Russiagate to the Ukraine impeachment fiasco to major national security matters of great public importance — anything the president felt the American people had a right to know is in there and more.”

That’s the column cited in the Trump affidavit — though there’s at least one sentence of that paragraph that remains redacted.

I am aware of an article published in Breitbart on May 5, 2022, available at https://www.breitbart.com/politicsi2022i05/05/documents-mar-a-lago-marked-classified-wereah-eadv-declassifi.ed-kash-patel-savs/, which states that Kash Patel, who is described as a former top FPOTUS administration official, characterized as ”misleading” reports in other news organizations that NARA had found classified materials among records that FPOTUS provided to NARA from Mar-a-Lago. Patel alleged that such reports were misleading because FPOTUS had declassified the materials at issue. [redacted]

Kash has issued a statement complaining, even though he had no complaint when information about Michael Isikoff was unsealed in the Carter Page FISA application for a similar published statement.

More interesting still, on July 20, John Solomon (who did a podcast on January 14, 2021 bragging of detailed knowledge of what Russian investigation materials would be released in the coming days) described having newly obtained a January 20, 2021 Mark Meadows memo to DOJ instructing them to declassify documents from the Russian investigation.

Even though the Meadows memo cites from Trump’s own January 19, 2021 order stating that the declassification, “does not extend to materials that must be protected from disclosure pursuant to orders of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,” Solomon described that the declassified information did include both transcripts of “intercepts made by the FBI of Trump aides,” (which may have included the intercepts of Mike Flynn obtained by targeting Sergey Kislyak which, because the intercepts took place in the US, may have been conducted under FISA) and “a declassified copy of the final FISA warrant approved by an intelligence court.”

The declassified documents included transcripts of intercepts made by the FBI of Trump aides, a declassified copy of the final FISA warrant approved by an intelligence court, and the tasking orders and debriefings of the two main confidential human sources, Christopher Steele and Stefan Halper, the bureau used to investigate whether Trump had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election.

In the end, multiple investigations found there was no such collusion and that the FBI violated rules and misled the FISA court in an effort to keep the probe going.

The documents that Trump declassified never saw the light of day, even though they were lawfully declassified by Trump and the DOJ was instructed by the president though Meadows to expeditiously release them after redacting private information as necessary. [my emphasis]

Curiously, the PDF of the Mark Meadows memo Solomon linked (my link) — which includes a staple mark and other oddities for an original document preserved by NARA — shows a September 27, 2021 creation date, with a modification date just days after Trump designated Solomon as his representative at NARA. (h/t @z3dster for the observation)

Back to Solomon’s implication that the documents in question — documents that Kash had suggested were among those boxed and sent back to NARA — included the final Carter Page warrant.

If the former President’s stash included an unredacted copy of the final FISA application targeting Carter Page, it could mean additional trouble for him and anyone else involved.

Even a Kislyak intercept would, because it would impact Mike Flynn’s privacy.

Similarly, even if, after three years of effort led largely by Kash Patel, an Inspector General hadn’t deemed the Carter Page FISA applications problematic, Trump took the Carter Page warrant application home after he left office, it would be an egregious violation of FISA’s minimization procedures, which strictly limit how such material can be disseminated. A disgruntled former government’s employee’s desire to spread propaganda about his tenure is not among the approved dissemination purposes.

But Carter Page, almost uniquely of any American surveilled under FISA, has special protections against such things happening.

That’s because in the wake of the IG Report on Carter Page, and in the wake of Bill Barr’s DOJ withdrawing its claim of probable cause for the last two Page warrants, James Boasberg required the government to ensure that materials for which there might not have been probable cause were no longer disseminated. In issuing that order, Boasberg cited 50 USC 1809(a)(2), the part of FISA that makes it a crime, punishable by a five year sentence, to disseminate improperly collected material from a targeted person. As a result, in June 2020, Boasberg issued an order sequestering the material collected from the Carter Page FISA except for five designated purposes.

Indulging the former President’s tantrum is not one of those five purposes.

And Trump and Kash, especially, have reason to know about this sequester. That’s because in October 2020 — at a time when Kash was still babysitting John Ratcliffe at DNI — DOJ violated the sequester by sharing information on Page with the Jeffrey Jensen and John Durham inquiries. As far as we know, that violation of the sequester order didn’t result in surveillance records on Carter Page being stored in a poorly secured storage closet in a resort hotel, but it still involved a hearing before the FISC and a public scolding.

If there’s an unredacted copy of the Page application, it would mean sections like this and this would be unsealed. There’s even a description of the emails that Page sent to the campaign bragging about his access to top Russian officials that, because of how it came to be in the application, would be subject to Boasberg’s sequestration order. There might even be contacts that Page had with Steve Bannon, whose privacy would also be implicated. Disseminating any of that stuff in unredacted form is, by itself, a crime, one the FISC has warned Trump and Kash’s bosses about repeatedly.

In his January 2021 podcast, Solomon claimed that the material Trump wanted to release would prove he was spied on. To show that from materials relating to Carter Page would require sharing information specifically covered by the sequestration order. Shipping that from the White House to Mar-a-Lago would be a crime. Sharing it from there would definitely be a crime. And any authorization would have to involve the FISA Court. No President — not Trump and not Biden — can lawfully ignore that order.

Since at least May, both Kash and Solomon seem frantic to help Trump develop a cover story. And their frantic efforts seem to explicitly include materials pertaining to Carter Page.

And that’s why the confirmation that Trump had FISA materials in his stolen boxes could present additional headaches for the former President and his flunkies.

100 replies
  1. dude says:

    I really don’t see how you manage to find and connect all the dots when they are all spread out amongst the thickets of space and time. Thank you.

  2. Howl says:

    I take it that a waiver by targets and/or folks whose privacy may have been violated by improper electronic surveillance (Carter Page, Mike Flynn, Steve Bannon) would not be a valid defense to a violation of 50 USC 1809(a)(2)?

  3. Tim Tuttle says:

    Thanks for this. Big hat tip.

    I want to think we live in fascinating, albeit dangerous, times.

    But quite honestly, I’m really enjoying the boring, and ultra successful, accomplishments of Joe Biden.

    Biden’s WH is a series of positive and reassuring tweets, creating policy for the people, quietly shoring up foreign relations, all while occasionally bike riding in Rehoboth Beach with his dogs.

    Meanwhile the trump train continues to roll off the tracks, the engine on fire, the caboose filled with rotten people hoping to survive the inevitable crash. They won’t.

    Joe must be very pleased with how this is turning out. I know I am.

    • Peterr says:

      Yes, but I’d put a big asterisk at the “quietly shoring up foreign relations” line. Biden and his team have got to be pissed as hell at this whole document mess. They may be positive and reassuring on the outside, but inside they have got to be seething.

      With all his time on the Senate Foreign Relations committee, many years as either chair or ranking member, and then his experience as VP for 8 years, he understands all too well the damage that Trump has done during his four years in office and the damage he continues to do by stealing and withholding these classified documents.

      And Biden also understands just how steep a climb it will be to get out of this mess.

  4. WilliamOckham says:

    A mysterious PDF from Trump world. Well, my Saturday plans are shot to hell. The document in question was created by scanning a physical document on a Fujitsu scanner. The discrepancy between the creation date and the modification date is really interesting. In general, PDFs created by scanners don’t have that. I have some theories about what it means. I need to do a little research…

    • Peterr says:

      “My Saturday plans are shot to hell . . . I need to do a little research…”

      Marcy can be inspiring, can’t she?

    • emptywheel says:

      I fully confess that I debated, “should I ask WO about this or just stick it in the post and ensure he’s sucked in.”

      It was reasonably early my time so I opted for the latter, fully expecting you WOULD get sucked in. And I’m not sorry.

      • Duke says:

        Wow! Only thought entertained, beautiful self-empowerment of which I have witnessed in my spouse and in my granddaughter.

    • WilliamOckham says:

      At this point, I will say that the PDF that John Solomon released was created at 1:08pm (EDT) on September 27, 2021 by scanning a paper document with a Fujitsu scanner. Then, on June 23, 2022, the original PDF’s metadata was updated by Fujitsu PDF management software.

      It’s all there in the metadata.

      That metadata update is what happens when you ask that software to print/copy/transfer a managed PDF. To the file system, that would look like a new file with a June 23, 2022 creation date. An unsuspecting user might not realize that the original creation date is stored within the file’s metadata.

      • timbo says:

        Unless they’re ahead of you on this, I suspect that some counterintel folks hearts have just skipped a beat reading your analysis here. Or maybe they’d skip a beat anyways jsut seeing this work publicly? Who knows, right?

      • WilliamOckham says:

        Just to flesh this out a little. The software that’s listed in the file’s metadata as the “CreatorTool” is “PaperStream Capture 1.0”. PaperStream Capture is the software that comes with Fujitsu’s enterprise scanners. These are not the $79.99 scanners from the big box retailer. These scanners range in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The top-of-the-line model is capable of scanning 120,000 pages a day.

        The use of a high-priced scanner would strongly suggest that this document was scanned as part of some larger effort. In September of 2021, the only place that a paper copy of that memo should have existed is at NARA because that memo is subject to the PRA. So, it seems likely that it was either scanned at a NARA facility or at some other place that had a large cache of Trump presidential records.

        If it was scanned at NARA, everything’s fine.

        The alternative is quite worrisome. Because that would indicate that there was an on-going effort to scan PRA documents at Mar-a-Lago last year.

        Either way, I would suggest that the feds need to find the person who scanned that document, if they haven’t already.

        • Rayne says:

          My first thought upon reading this was “Fuck.” Donnie knows dick-all about scanning, if this was scanned by others post-White House not-NARA. It could mean some seriously ugly things.

        • WilliamOckham says:

          There’s no real evidence that what I am about to describe actually happened!. On the other hand, if your job is counterintelligence and you’re assigned to this case, you must be worried about stuff like this:

          Here’s my nightmare scenario. Trump’s attitude towards these documents is essentially the same as the seagulls in Finding Nemo (Mine!, Mine!, Mine!). Would he have approved a plan to scan every document in the 15 boxes that he sent back to NARA? I think the answer to that is obvious. Could the setup implied by the metadata in this file accomplished that? 100%. Would implementing this plan taken any special skills? No, the software is pretty straightforward, and the hardware is very accommodating. These scanners are capable of taking pretty much anything on paper and creating a PDF.

          What if the contents of those 15 boxes exist as digital files? That’s so much worse than the files been stored insecurely at Mar-a-Lago.

        • Rayne says:

          Thanks for articulating what I meant by “Fuck.” All of that. I’m betting if this scenario is close to what happened, someone/s else played Trump’s malignant narcissistic inner seagull and told him, “Look, all this stuff is yours, you need to protect it with a digital copy and we can make that happen” because the orange sky rat couldn’t PDF his own dick to save it.

          So who might have done it? Who would have selected the scanning device and software — possibly even a fucking network-attached device — launching a scanning party?

          I’ve wanted to barf just thinking about all of this; feels like a permanent state of nausea.

          ADDER: You know what words just made me heave? Fujitsu ScanSnap Wireless Setup Tool for connection to a wireless LAN.

        • emptywheel says:

          FWIW, I think this may have happened with a subset, the Russian investigation binder, a foot and a half of materials.

          I wonder whether Judicial Watch has that kind of scanner.

        • Dr Noisewater says:

          I’m surprised they didn’t seize any machine capable of photocopy/scanning during the search. I’m pretty sure scanners/copiers keep metadata, wouldn’t they then get a copy (or at least a log) of anything that had been run through a scanner? And while I’m sure trump doesn’t know how to use one of those there’s no way there’s not one sitting in his office that aide’s could make a quick copy

  5. jeco30 says:

    Round up the usual confederates.

    If Patel and Solly were in security videos going in and out of security storage room (or taking out boxes) wouldn’t that be sufficient grounds to interview them if they had seen any security marked docs, taken or copied any docs and seize & review their cells? They look like confederates, walk like confederates and are seen in the company of other confederates…

    • timbo says:

      Grounds, yes. However, wouldn’t it also be the case that they might be asked about all this sort of stuff in front of a grand jury who might be looking into all this? I mean, you’d think that there’s plenty of grand jury foo goin on here by now… and, oh gosh gee, I wonder if they’ve said anything they shouldn’t have…I mean besides just invoking the 5th over and over again that is.

  6. rattlemullet says:

    Is this possibly related to the Mar A Lago raid? From the NYT. I don’t subscribe and only found excerpts from the article.

    “Last year, a top-secret memo sent to every C.I.A. station around the world warned about troubling numbers of informants being captured or killed, a stark reminder of how important human source networks are to the basic functions of the spy agency.”

    • emptywheel says:

      I wouldn’t get too far ahead with that. It’s more likely that came from a compromise of CIA’s asset management software and other things like Schulte.

  7. Fran of the North says:

    It seems that Kash has his dandruff up over at Truth Social.

    My WAG is that his name was left unredacted as a very intentional statement by DoJ. As they say in MAGA-land, FAFO.

    • Peterr says:

      The three unredacted occurrences of Patel’s name in this document are all in a single paragraph:

      53. I [the FBI agent making the application] am aware of an article published in Breitbart on May 5, 2022, available at
      https://www.breitbart.comvoliticsi2022i05/05/documents-mar-a-lago-marked-classified-were-already-declassified-kash-patel-says/, which states that Kash Patel, who is described as a former top FPOTUS administration official, characterized as ”misleading” reports in other news organizations that NARA had followed classified materials among records that FPOTUS provided to NARA from Mar-a-Lago. Patel alleged that such reports were misleading because FPOTUS had declassified the materials at issue. [Two full lines of redacted text complete the paragraph]

      So Kash is upset that the FBI did not redact his name when they discuss a public interview Patel gave Breitbart?


      If he is upset at this, I can’t wait to see how he reacts to seeing his name on an indictment.

      • Puriya says:

        It’s outrageously hilarious that he would claim “Brown Lives Matter”. No, Mr. Patel, South Asians all over the world say you don’t get to say that.

      • HEW says:

        Agree. Plus, it’s in a section entitled, “The FIFTEEN BOXES Provided to NARA Contain Classified Information.” After addressing Corcoran’s letter asserting that a “President has absolute authority to declassify documents,” it includes the public reporting of Kash Patel’s assertion that FPOTUS had declassified the materials at issue. Had they not included the latter or left it redacted, Kash Patel would be screaming about how FBI failed to include “exculpatory information” in the public domain (probable lies though they are) in the affidavit.

        • timbo says:


          Now, rather than fomenting outrage, Patel is pandering for sympathy. Oh how the screws turn…

  8. Tom Stickler says:

    When people like Kash Patel claim that Trump had declassified documents that were found at Mar-a-Lago, they ignore the fact that the information in the “declassified” documents can still be damaging to the security interests of the United States and its allies. In fact, it makes it more likely that the sensitive information will become public.

  9. P J Evans says:

    How do Patel and Solomon know precisely what was in the boxes seized by the FBI? That implies that they’ve been looking in those boxes, and AIUI they aren’t cleared for that activity.

  10. Alan says:

    > The Atomic Energy Act was not included [in the affidavit references], which means (as some knowledgeable people predicted in advance), if Trump had nuke documents, they’re not about our nukes, they’re about someone else’s.

    Still possible tho there was “nuclear” in the material the FBI seized. Maybe we’ll get a confirmation one way or another at some point, or maybe we (the public) will never know…

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. FOURTH REQUEST: Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Alan” or “Allen”; as I indicated when I asked the first time back in June, your identity may already have been confused with another “Alan.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • ThomasH says:

      Rayne, FWIW; are you able to privately email commentators with these sorts of recommendations to upgrade their handle? Some folks may never read their own comments and therefore miss your message. I don’t know if you admin/contributors can access the email address we have to enter to leave a comment.

      I’m forever grateful for the Emptywheel site and everything you, Marcy, BMAZ, et al do here. Thanks again.

      • Rayne says:

        Not everyone uses a legitimate/working email address because they prefer anonymity. Alan is one of those folks so I can’t reach him.

        It should be a practice among our community members to check their last comment for any replies as well as moderator notes. This is a fairly chatty bunch — replies are more of a norm than not.

        • ThomasH says:

          I always look at my posts after a short while. I enjoy thoughtful comments and the snark here is rare but top notch.

        • mamake says:

          I read a lot but comment very little. However, I don’t know how to find my comments to read any replies. May be obvious to others, but not to me.
          [Note: And it’s fine to leave this in moderation if evaluated as low interest.]

        • matt fischer says:

          Three options:
          Bookmark a link to your comment.
          Keep a tab open of the webpage with your comment and refresh it.
          Do a web search including mamake, emptywheel.net, etc.

        • notjonathon says:

          Whenever I refresh the page (say I haven’t looked for a few hours), the page always stops on my last comment.

        • MB says:

          Or just do a standard browser search while the article’s page is open. If your user name is unique enough, it should find your comment(s) quickly.

        • timbo says:

          Yep. That’s for sure the easiest method. Firefox even shows you a scroll bar on the right where ou can scroll to little horizontal lines that mark search hits in a webpage.

        • MB says:

          Oh! I’ve been seeing those little horizontal lines in the right-hand margin forever over here and have never known what they were for! Using Chrome, by the way…

        • mamake says:

          Thanks, Matt, notjon…, MB & timbo! Found your responses the old-fashioned way, but will give these suggestions a shot.

  11. Riktol says:

    “The White House counsel failed to generate the paperwork to change the classification markings, but that doesn’t mean the information wasn’t declassified,” Patel said. “I was there with President Trump when he said ‘We are declassifying this information.’”

    By reading this backwards I draw the opposite conclusion to Patel. (I’m not a lawyer so maybe I’m wrong)
    Trump started the declassification process (notice that he used the present tense), the process wasn’t completed, so logically IMO the documents retain the classification that the markings indicate.

    Also I think there is a distinction between “the president can declassify anything” and “the president can order anything be declassified”. I think the latter is more true than the former.

    Relatedly, if someone didn’t want to comply with a declassification order, they ought to resign rather than go ahead with it. But we saw in the attempts to fire Muller, sometimes people ignore Trumps direct orders and hope that he forgets about things.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump, Kash, and Solomon are great fans of pixie dust. But it’s probably not enough to declassify sensitive government documents, nor is that relevant to all the crimes being investigated here.

      • Annie Mathers says:

        I loved your post! I’m totally in awe of how our President is so dang normal for such an extraordinary guy! I mean bike riding with his dogs all while showing us by his actions how much he loves this country! I’m just so grateful that Joe Biden is our President!

      • Riktol says:

        I don’t think it’s pixie dust in being instantaneous, but it’s probably pixie dust in that it’s unreviewable.
        And you’re right to point out that classification status is not a requirement of the laws involved.

  12. Puriya says:

    Recall that Trump tweeted that he was declassifying all information related to the Russia investigation, and then Mark Meadows testified that Trump didn’t really mean it. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/trump-tweet-declassify-russia-documents/2020/10/16/8846f3c8-0fc8-11eb-8a35-237ef1eb2ef7_story.html

    In addition to everything else, and in addition to the fact that the relevant statutes don’t even require classification, could the above be used to challenge Trump’s current claims (through the Exhibit 1 lawyer letter) that he had declassified all this information? That the President’s random claims cannot be taken at face value because he makes these claims all the time, but doesn’t mean them?

    • Yorkville Kangaroo says:

      Likely, Trump’s ‘legal team’ will probably attempt to make the case if any of these particular documents are covered by this wide-ranging and, probably, unenforceable statement.

      The bottom line remains. Instructing people to declassify something does not mean the thing is actually declassified. Also, the declassification can be removed ex post facto which will make the documents classified once again and will likely be seen to be so by any (sensible) court.

  13. Bruce Olsen says:

    I hardly think blurting out “Brown Lives Matter” will engender much support from Trump’s supporters, knowing how they feel about BLM.

    “Kash Patel is Brown? I thought he was a prosperity gospel preacher! Time to underbus him.”

    • Just Some Guy says:

      Patel and other non-white MAGAts use race only as a convenience and a cudgel, spoken in code for a captive audience that desperately backlashes against any accusation of bigotry. So no, that comment won’t hurt him with his fellow travelers, they still know what side he’s on.

      See also: Daniel Cameron, current Kentucky Attorney General and Republican candidate for Governor (election is next year).

      Speaking of which, one of the things that really bugs me about the January 6th investigations by both the Special Committee and the DoJ is the apparent lack of interest in investigating the Republican Attorneys General Association’s robocall role. I’d presume there’s more to uncover there, especially in regards to the “fake electors” scheme.

  14. Rwood says:

    My admiration for whoever is keeping Mark Meadows quiet grows every day.

    They are doing one hell of a job. /s

    • Yorkville Kangaroo says:

      Judging by Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony he’s probably sitting in the corner of a closet somewhere with his mobile phone and drooling from the corner of his mouth.

  15. Alan Charbonneau says:

    The understatement has returned: “A disgruntled former government’s employee’s desire to spread propaganda about his tenure is not among the approved dissemination purposes” and “Indulging the former President’s tantrum is not one of those five purposes” are much appreciated!

  16. Tovia Freeman says:

    It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow or next week or the year after that and the year after that…no one escapes Karmic Justice.

    • blueedredcounty says:

      I firmly believe in Karmic Justice. Sadly, no one else is entitled to witness when it happens. So when you do witness it, realize you have received a special gift from the universe.

  17. Literay says:

    It is my understanding that information about other countries’ nuclear weapons is not classified under USA jurisdiction. This has no bearing on potential crimes being investigated.

        • bmaz says:

          We are, to quote Steve Miller, Living in the USA. This matter(s) is being dealt with in US courts, even if arguably not the right ones. To say there is no jurisdiction is incorrect and a dodge.

        • Literay says:

          BMAZ (see response to pseudo42 August 28, 2022 at 3:14 am below for further discussion), My use of the term “jurisdictional” is not meant as you have applied it. Perhaps if the topic of whether or not the information is classified rises to the court’s attention we will get a ruling by the jurisdiction as you use it. I believe my original comment will withstand scrutiny.

        • Yorkville Kangaroo says:

          Of course foreign material is classified under USA jurisdiction. We have multiple, signed treaties and statements of intent with other countries protecting such assets just as they have with us.

          What ARE you talkiing about? Are you suggesting we can just tell everyone about the British nuclear program and, by reversal of the arrangement, they can talk about ours openly?

    • pseudo42 says:

      Access controls remain in place for foreign atomic secrets in the US, and there is no basis to say those secrets are unclassified. For example, two nuclear adversaries have reason to conceal their knowledge of the other’s technologies and to not make that knowledge public.

      42 U.S. Code § 2162 makes it clear that foreign atomic secrets need not be Restricted Data, but only after the NRC and DNI have “jointly determined” that those secrets “can be adequately safeguarded as defense information”. In that case you still can’t trade it, unless you happen to be in compliance with § 2164 and § 2153. So again, even if not Restricted Data but `merely’ defense information, of course foreign atomic secrets remain secrets.

      In fact 42 U.S. Code § 2162 does not state all US atomic secrets are Restricted Data either. Again, if NRC and DNI find that there is an alternate way to safeguard the information they are encouraged to do so; apparently this is to facilitate international cooperation under § 2164/2153.

      True, I’ve seen nothing to indicate that the Target Premises contained nuclear secrets (“people familiar with the investigation” told WaPo this earlier in August). Still, to me, the fact that the warrant omits to mention the Atomic Energy Act as revised is no proof of what topics are and aren’t in the defense information that was recovered. I haven’t ruled out that the premises contained US or foreign nuclear secrets that were categorized as “defense information” and eligible for international cooperation programs under § 2164/2153.

      Moreover, I’ve seen nothing to demonstrate that Restricted Data was absent from the Target Premises. The custodians of such information might be more concerned with recovering it and containing any damage and less concerned with applying the penalties in §2168, juicy as it might be to contemplate the $100k/violation.

      • Literay says:

        Please refer to The President Executive Order 13526 – Classified National Security Information, Part 1 – Original Classification; Section 1.1. Classification Standards.; (a) Information may be originally classified under the terms of this order only if all of the following conditions are met: … (snip) … (2) the information is owned by, produced by or for, or is under the control of the United States Government; … (snip) … .

        Information owned by, produced by or for, or is under the control of another sovereign government cannot be classified as USA information. Whether the information is national defense information is a different matter and not what I was referring to in my original comment. Indeed there may be protocols between governments and governmental subdivisions, the existence of which may be closely held, for controlling various types of sensitive information. There also may be (I have not checked) protocols that apply under the aegis of United Nations and/or the International Atomic Energy Agency.

        There is a lot of information that should not be freely disseminated. Not all of it is USA classified or USA classifiable. Access control for such information may be appropriate, but not necessarily related to classification.

        My original comment was intended to expand the overall knowledge relatable to the important topic at hand, which I characterize as what crimes are being investigated and who may have committed them. I did not mean to redirect or misdirect the conversation. My apologies for the extent to which my comment has countered my intent.

        • pseudo42 says:

          Executive Order 13526 section 3.3 (g) states “The Secretary of Energy shall determine when information concerning foreign nuclear programs that was removed from the Restricted Data category in order to carry out provisions of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, may be declassified.” Hypothetical foreign atomic secrets downgraded from Restricted Data to “defense information” are only declassified if SecEn says so. And to repeat, 42 USC 2162 says they’re only downgraded to “defense information” if NRC and DNI agree, except POTUS can override if the two disagree. I think it’s fair to assume any of these re-categorizations would involve a paper trail.

          Sec 6.2 further states “Nothing in this order shall supersede any requirement made by or under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, or the National Security Act of 1947, as amended. ‘‘Restricted Data’’ and ‘‘Formerly Restricted Data’’ shall be handled, protected, classified, downgraded, and declassified in conformity with the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, and regulations issued under that Act.” If I am not mistaken, that’s all contained under 42 USC sections 2011 through 2097 inclusive.

        • KP says:

          Information shared by foreign governments to the USA retain whatever classification those nation’s attach to the stuff. The USA does NOT have permission to change THEIR classification(s). No magic wand held by a United Statesian’s hand means diddly-squat. All the bloviating blowhard’s belly-aching notwithstanding, and this point is still overlooked or ignored too often, is that even a tissue drumpf blew his nose into, is US Government property, should NARA choose to claim the nasty thing. Doesn’t matter if the stuff was classified, or not. It may be to simple for Republican minds to understand, they are pretty much all dumbfucks. YMMV Just look at Patel, the pissant is a poster-boi for Dunning and Kruger’s paper. He still can’t STFU to save himself from further admissions of guilt. I’m good for it, though, keep yapping boy-o!

        • vvv says:

          I have no expertise here other than reading English.

          Can you please explain why, for example, “(2) the information is owned by, …, or is under the control of the United States Government” would not apply?

  18. Bugboy says:

    What amazes me is this obvious sentiment from the former WH staff that the rest of the world are just as much of a bumbling gullible clown posse as they are. “Trump declassified it! Because he said so! We can’t help that WH staff didn’t follow through!” Like, first of all, exactly WHO on the WH staff (of which YOU are a sr. member) are you referring to? And how does that work? Someone overhears Trump farting, and mishears it as “Sell Alaska to the Russians, and use the proceeds to buy Greenland”, and we’re off to the races?

  19. joberly says:

    EW—Thank you for this post. Trump has returned, or had seized, three sets of presidential records from M-a-L: the 15 boxes in January 2022; an unknown quantity on June 3, 2022 when Jay Bratt visited; and 27 boxes on August 8 in the FBI search. As you write, the January 2022 haul included FISA/FISC documents in the 15 boxes. I had assumed that Trump, matryoshka-like, held onto his most prized documents to the last, and would not have surrendered ‘Russiagate’ documents in January 2022. If so, I wonder if there are more FISA/FISC documents related to the Flynn or Page cases, returned to the US either in June at the Bratt visit, or as I suspect in August, when the FBI took them.

  20. Cosmo Le Cat says:

    Besides naming Kash Patel 3 times, the affidavit at paragraph 80 states: “[T]he FBI has not yet identified all potential criminal confederates.”

  21. morganism says:

    also just want to point out about the “put a lock on it” enjoinder is that even just sensitive gov documents require that the access is secured with high security padlocks. These have ‘divots” on the barrel of the keys, not just teeth. They have still been picked by amatuers, and are fairly easy if you can get a picture of the key.

    i think Meier ? is the standard gov req there…

    Also wondering if the “nuke” docs are just about the existence of a nuke platform that “nobody even knows we have”. Just the existence of it was secret, and the fact that detailed specs that might involve the AEC were not listed just means no specs?

    • P J Evans says:

      Maybe keys like the outside doors at my apt building, where they are longer than standard and have teeth that are asymmetric when looked at from the toothed edge. Requires special machine, special blanks, and the master is registered.

    • Rayne says:

      The documents require more than just a “high security padlock.” They require what is spelled out in 32 CFR § 2001.43 Storage (b)(C) — a lock meeting Federal Specification FF-L-2740 — which is hardly an easily picked padlock because it requires the door/frame/jamb in which it is installed be constructed to accommodate the lock. There are several manufacturers of this kind of lock.

      But there’s more to the necessary security requirements than a lock meeting FF-L-2740 as you can see if you read 32 CFR § 2001.43 Storage.

      You should know by now community members can’t just swag stuff here. Had you been reading along and paying attention, you’d know details about anything related to nuclear power were not disclosed and therefore nobody except NARA, the originating authority, DOJ, and possibly Judge Reinhart have any clue what “‘nuke’ docs” entail.

    • Yorkville Kangaroo says:

      Stop with the ‘nuke’ reference. The DoJ have never alluded to such a document and is a deflection from the business at hand.

  22. rip says:

    So we know that there were PRA records and many types of classified documents that would have had identification to help them be returned to the rightful place.

    Has anyone addressed the ad-hoc memos, ketchup-splatters, POTUS communications with lackeys and family, etc. that may be in these boxes (and elsewhere)? I would think these random doodlings/droolings of the FPOTUS could contain a lot of very sensitive information – even if it hasn’t yet been classified.

    • Rayne says:

      I’m not certain why you believe this to be “*wow*” now after all this time. Trump was helped by Russia and other countries to destabilize the U.S. for the benefit of kleptocracies, including establishment of an autocratic kleptocracy here.

      That’s been the gig all along; white supremacists are generally too deeply entrenched in their world view to realize they are being used to that end, but they’re easily satisfied if they believe they remain at the top of the economic and political power structure.

      • KP says:

        i thought it was obvious i was referring to Thom’s article, his voice, his alarm. I did mention that. I have been saying since the orange jello lardass came down his obscenely ugly escalator, fuck, long before that, that the putz is an asshole at best. One needn’t have lived in Manhattan to know that. I read. I love this site, and Marcy’s twitter. Don’t mistake me for being nice. I do try to be good. Second-gen civil rights, disabled-rights, anti-war (dad was a usmcr f4-u jockey, midair collision while he was upside down, guy flew into his aircraft, he fought, though he hated war). I recommend this site every time I share a article. Lemme know if I should leave. There are other non-MSM reporters I read, too.

        • Rayne says:

          In no way did I suggest you should leave; you should be prepared to accept and digest criticism here, though. What I’m saying is Hartmann is years late to the party. That piece should have been written no later than Trump’s first year in office. You as a media consumer, if you’ve been reading this site for years already, should have been able to see the disconnect between the criminality written about here and the flat response of many pundits.

          Think about it: why did Hartmann write that 18 months after Trump left office, after the FBI executed a warrant for seizure of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago? Why did it take that long for Hartmann’s hair to catch on fire?

          Think about the American women who knew Trump taking office would be a disaster. The single largest march just before he was inaugurated, all that pink visible from space, happened because Trump took the White House. And now Hartmann is alarmed.

        • KP says:

          wtf? how tf do you presume *ass-ume* I don’t know that. Did you TF read anything I said in either ‘reply’ above? They’ve all been ‘late to the party,’ a pithy short phrase I’ve used often and much longer than since this current fiasco the drumpf has created. I’ve been IN the party against proto-fascism since before Nixon, and that pos at least did a few decent things for we the people. Any Repuke party platform before their sainted ronnie (who would now be reviled as RINO), was more liberal than any Democratic platform since the tactical move to the ‘center’ became ‘Centrist.’ I’ve got no use for them, either. i am not hard to find anywhere, if you are in the least interested in your own education. ‘all worlds are entangled,’ to borrow a phrase from another interest.

    • timbo says:

      Interesting article. The question is… how much direct evidence of any of this does the Biden administration have? If there was good direct evidence then certainly there would have been a lot of arrest over this already, arrest that were more politically charged than the ones so far.

      Occam’s Razor, applied here, would likely just say that what we’ve been witnessing the past five years is just a ton of banal incompetence and run of the mill corruption. This corruption and incompetence didn’t start with Twitler’s occupying the WH and it hasn’t ended with him leaving that office. But it certainly was put on parade for all the world to see and listen to during that entire period of the Trumpian regime.

      Of course, foreign adversaries around the globe will be taking advantage of that sort of thing—the most competent of them from day one of the first Trump administration for sure…and some of them obviously before that too. The real difference from the run of the mill stuff is that the competence and character of many of Twitler and his Twisslering followers is of such poor quality that anything is possible…once your own veil is removed.

      Do I believe that there was intentional disruption of investigations into Jan 6 and the two (so far) Trumpian impeachment hearings? Yep, there certainly was, at the time and seemingly now as well. Do I believe that there were foreign actors involved in some of this? Well, gee, that’s what the first impeachment was directly about. And as for the second impeachment, of course the US’s adversaries want to see the US crippled and in turmoil…the reason that many in the US military here decided that instability and civil war isn’t an ideal situation for the US to be in…and that’s even if they’re onboard with someone of the right-wing nuttery positions and proclamations. Again, apply Occam’s Razor—will there be opposition to such a coup? Of course there would be. And it wouldn’t be mild, given the relative institutional stability the US has enjoyed for so long a time, possibly longer than almost any other country on Earth basically. You’d have to be crazy to unleash that dragon in the US. And if you are that crazy, it’s going to be a hard sell to anyone who just wants their kids to grow up in peace or wants to see the world be a better place (under most definitions that you or I can imagine, right?). “The term ‘freedom’ is bandied about on the extremist right and neo-right a lot, but it’s mostly about their wanting to impose their system of government without real buy-in from the rest of society. And that’s not a formula for individual human dignity, nor respect for personal physical integrity, etc, etc. You don’t have to be a liberal to figure that out. You might even be a militarist authoritarian and say, “Yeah, no, today is not a good day to do any of this. And certainly not with you nutballs leading this thing.” So, do I believe that letter from the former Secretary’s of State and Defense, etc, warning military folks that there are direct oaths, your honor word, here to support the Constitution over all enemies both foreign and domestic, etc, was warranted on Jan 3? It must have been. But what the whole grand picture really was surrounding the plot is not clear and may never be clear at this point.

      What is clear is that there is strong evidence that Twitler shopped around for people who would support sedition and found them. Obviously they weren’t competent seditionists or they’d have had a successful coup. What is clear is that many of the nation’s significant geopolitical rivals are hungry. What is clear that there is a rot within the American political and bureaucratic administrative state, our federal and local institutions, that permitted this to occur. So the real story is there.

      Hopefully that article will help some people realize what’s possible due to the corruption and incompetence.

      • Yorkville Kangaroo says:

        He got a ‘learned’ scholar (Eastman), a fawning toady (Rudy) and two clearly lunatic pseudo-legal practitioners to run the show. Meanwhile his erstwhile neo-Nazi, White Supremacists enablers (Flynn, Stone, Bannon, Miller, etc.) were busy fomenting the rebellion. All of this acquiesced to by one half of the political class and supported by fully a third of the American people.

        Anyone on the center or that is independent that thinks this is not important or a joke need to understand just how close we currently stand to the precipice.

  23. Stillonmt says:

    Raj Patel has submitted filings in the Special Master case. He seeks to intervene on the basis that he wants to be President and his future exercise of executive privilege should not be impaired. It would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.

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