The agency searched the former US president’s home for classified documents on nuclear weapons, the Washington Post reports
According to Washington Post sources, classified documents about nukes were some of the sensitive material that FBI searched for during raids on the Trump residence this week.
According to experts interviewed by the outlet, the FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida on Monday indicates that the current administration is worried about the impact on US national security if these documents get into the wrong hands.
However, the Post’s sources refused to reveal whether the material in question related to nuclear weapons belonging to the US or some other state. It was also not clear if the FBI has found the material it sought.
According to the Washington Post, experts have stated that documents on nuclear weapons can be extremely sensitive and only few US officials are authorized to view or possess them. Details on such weapons could help Washington’s adversaries to get an insight into US defense posture and help them to develop countermeasures, while other countries could consider exposing their secrets as a threat, the report says.
According to David Laufman, the former chief of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section, if the former US president was in fact unlawfully keeping such documents at Mar-a-Lago, they “Possibly, they were classified at the highest level.”
“If the FBI and the Department of Justice believed there were top secret materials still at Mar-a-Lago, that would lend itself to greater ‘hair-on-fire’ motivation to recover that material as quickly as possible,” he told the Post.
Meanwhile, former high-ranking intelligence officials told the outlet that the Trump administration “Mishandled routinely” highly classified and sensitive documents, including intelligence data on Iran. For example, some documents were reportedly obtained by personnel without the necessary clearance or need for them to be there.
The Post’s sources also said intercepted electronic communications like emails and phone calls of foreign leaders often wound up in the hands of unauthorized personnel.
According to The Outlet, this type of information is extremely sensitive and could cause problems for the US’s surveillance techniques against foreign governments. According to one of the paper’s sources, this type of material was among the 15 boxes of inventory taken from Trump’s residence in January.
Two sources claim that the former president was subject to a grand jury subpoena for the documents. Trump’s team subsequently handed over some files to the authorities, but officials reportedly believed additional material was being withheld. The report states that these suspicions led the US Justice Department, according to reports, to seek a warrant for search and take other extraordinary steps.
While Trump’s aides were served with a warrant, they have so far refused to disclose it. The former president’s legal team has a right to argue against unsealing the document, with the final decision on the matter to be taken by a court.
The FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago has caused a lot of public outcry in the US, with Trump himself branding the move by law enforcement agents as “Persecution of political leaders.”
“This is a dark time for the nation. My beautiful Florida home Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida, is under siege and raided. A large number of FBI agents are occupying it.” he said, adding that “Nothing like it has happened before to any president of the United States.”
Trump also compared the raid with the wiretapping at the Democratic National Committee headquarters that ultimately resulted in the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
His comments were echoed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who said the administration of President Joe Biden is “weaponizing” federal agencies, turning the country into a “banana republic.”
Trump has been widely considered to be the most likely Republican presidential candidate in 2024. DeSantis may be able to run against Trump during the primary.