Author Topic: Should the Justice Department indict Biden? Are impeachment actions looming?  (Read 1186 times)

Wahoo Redux

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I'm not really sure criminal charges were necessary in Lavarello's case. I would guess that there was an extensive investigation because the FBI was worried about possible espionage. When it turned out that this was just someone who was incredibly cavalier about following the rules, they had done all this investigating and wanted to charge her with something.

From the CNN link provided by Para:

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Lavarello was working on a classified thesis at the time [that classified docs were found in her Paris apartment during a dinner party], her lawyer Birney Bervar told CNN. She had been encouraged to pursue the thesis and been working on it at the embassy’s secure information facility until Covid-19 shut things down earlier that year, her lawyer said. The documents she took home were three other classified theses, her lawyer told CNN, and she had no intention of transmitting the classified information or of harming the United States.

Lavarello was confronted about the documents that night, according to her plea agreement, but she did not take steps that night to return them to the embassy’s secure information facility. With the help of one of the dinner party guests, she returned the documents to a safe in the embassy two days later, the court filings said, but she did not return the documents to the secure information facility as she had said at the time that she would do.

She was terminated from her temporary assignment that month because of her mishandling of the documents. In her plea agreement, Lavarello also admitted to transporting from the Philippines to Hawaii later that month a notebook containing classified information. The notebook were handwritten notes from a meeting that were later classified, her lawyer told CNN. According to the court documents, she kept that notebook at her residence, which was not an authorized location for storing classified information. The notebook was later found at her workspace in Honolulu after a search warrant was executed, according to the court filings.

Sounds deliberate and egregious to me.
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Langue_doc

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The latest on the documents:

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Investigators Seize More Classified Documents From Biden’s Home
A team from the Justice Department conducted a 13-hour search of the president’s Wilmington residence on Friday.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/21/us/politics/biden-documents.html

Caracal

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I'm not really sure criminal charges were necessary in Lavarello's case. I would guess that there was an extensive investigation because the FBI was worried about possible espionage. When it turned out that this was just someone who was incredibly cavalier about following the rules, they had done all this investigating and wanted to charge her with something.

From the CNN link provided by Para:

Quote
Lavarello was working on a classified thesis at the time [that classified docs were found in her Paris apartment during a dinner party], her lawyer Birney Bervar told CNN. She had been encouraged to pursue the thesis and been working on it at the embassy’s secure information facility until Covid-19 shut things down earlier that year, her lawyer said. The documents she took home were three other classified theses, her lawyer told CNN, and she had no intention of transmitting the classified information or of harming the United States.

Lavarello was confronted about the documents that night, according to her plea agreement, but she did not take steps that night to return them to the embassy’s secure information facility. With the help of one of the dinner party guests, she returned the documents to a safe in the embassy two days later, the court filings said, but she did not return the documents to the secure information facility as she had said at the time that she would do.

She was terminated from her temporary assignment that month because of her mishandling of the documents. In her plea agreement, Lavarello also admitted to transporting from the Philippines to Hawaii later that month a notebook containing classified information. The notebook were handwritten notes from a meeting that were later classified, her lawyer told CNN. According to the court documents, she kept that notebook at her residence, which was not an authorized location for storing classified information. The notebook was later found at her workspace in Honolulu after a search warrant was executed, according to the court filings.

Sounds deliberate and egregious to me.

Sure, but I get nervous about the tendency to criminalize violations of rules and procedures. The government classifies huge amounts of material, the vast majority of which wouldn't really be of any use to anybody other than academics. I guess there's no way to know what kind of information was in these theses, but I strongly suspect it was stuff about US diplomacy 30 years ago or something. Of course, she should have been fired, but I'm just not sure about the need for criminal charges.

The notebook seems like the kind of thing that would turn up on half the desks of people working in the state department if they did extensive searches. You go to some meeting, it isn't labeled as classified, and then two weeks later you get some email about how it is classified now and it gets lost in your inbox and you forget you were supposed to tear out the notes and put them in a secure place. I'm sure it happens almost constantly.


Wahoo Redux

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I agree with Caracal, but then again, the government probably needs to have some pretty harsh penalties to deter people from being careless with top secret stuff.  Probably getting fired is enough.  I suppose we'd have to know what Lavarello had her hands on to get a really accurate picture of what she was up to.
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Langue_doc

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The plot thickens...

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Classified Documents Found at Pence’s Home in Indiana
The documents were “inadvertently boxed and transported” to the former vice president’s home at the end of the Trump administration, Mr. Pence’s representative wrote in a letter to the National Archives.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/24/us/politics/mike-pence-classified-documents.html

Wahoo Redux

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The plot thickens...

Quote
Classified Documents Found at Pence’s Home in Indiana
The documents were “inadvertently boxed and transported” to the former vice president’s home at the end of the Trump administration, Mr. Pence’s representative wrote in a letter to the National Archives.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/24/us/politics/mike-pence-classified-documents.html

Oh for pete's sake...are we going to find slippery material in every high level politician's house!?!?

Tell the CIA and Homeland Security to get a grip on this bid'ness.
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secundem_artem

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Meanwhile, underneath a hay bale in Jimmy Carter's barn.
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Sun_Worshiper

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Hard to imagine any of these folks being indicted over classified docs at this point.

apl68

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Meanwhile, underneath a hay bale in Jimmy Carter's barn.

Actually, it may well be that goof-ups like this have indeed been happening for many years, and are only recently getting to be an issue.  The Trump administration being what it was, the goof-ups apparently happened on a larger-than-usual scale.
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Wahoo Redux

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NBC News: America’s system for handling classified documents is broken, say lawmakers and former officials

Ya'think!?

Quote
“It’s their job to make sure these busy policymakers understand the importance of classification and return the documents to their proper place,” said [professor] Johnson, who was a congressional aide on intelligence committees and advised previous administrations about intelligence matters.

“There’s an incredible amount of sloppiness in the handling of these documents that’s really quite disconcerting,” Johnson said. “We need some stiff penalties for people in the chain of custody who don’t take their jobs seriously enough.”

White House staff members are supposed to log every classified document, assign it a number and keep track so the document can be accounted for at all times. Former officials say the process unraveled somewhat during the Trump administration, because of the president’s habits and some inexperienced staff members. But supporters of the former president have denied that portrayal.

In Congress, lawmakers and staff members with clearances have to follow strict rules and look through material in secure rooms.
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Caracal

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NBC News: America’s system for handling classified documents is broken, say lawmakers and former officials

Ya'think!?

Quote
“It’s their job to make sure these busy policymakers understand the importance of classification and return the documents to their proper place,” said [professor] Johnson, who was a congressional aide on intelligence committees and advised previous administrations about intelligence matters.

“There’s an incredible amount of sloppiness in the handling of these documents that’s really quite disconcerting,” Johnson said. “We need some stiff penalties for people in the chain of custody who don’t take their jobs seriously enough.”

White House staff members are supposed to log every classified document, assign it a number and keep track so the document can be accounted for at all times. Former officials say the process unraveled somewhat during the Trump administration, because of the president’s habits and some inexperienced staff members. But supporters of the former president have denied that portrayal.

In Congress, lawmakers and staff members with clearances have to follow strict rules and look through material in secure rooms.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/01/26/government-secrecy-classification-transparency-accountability/

Summary: Way too much stuff is classified and most of this classified stuff wouldn't be damaging at all if it came to light. You can see how this is going to just inevitably lead to everyone having classified documents they aren't supposed to have. If only a few things were classified, and those things were clearly sensitive documents, it would be easy enough to keep track of them. If every fourth piece of paper that crosses your desk has a classified marker on it, mostly for no particularly good reason, you can see how things end up in the wrong place.

Again, though. The issue is not really that Trump had classified documents at Mar-A-Lago. The problem is that when the archives told him they thought he might have stuff, he seems to have lied and deliberately tried to avoid returning them. Same thing with Lavarello. I'm pretty sure that if it came to light that she had notes from a classified meeting in a notebook she took home, she would have just gotten a reprimand, because that kind of stuff probably happens all the time and its an easy mistake to make. The part that got her in trouble was that she deliberately took things she should't have and then didn't return them promptly.

apl68

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Again, though. The issue is not really that Trump had classified documents at Mar-A-Lago. The problem is that when the archives told him they thought he might have stuff, he seems to have lied and deliberately tried to avoid returning them. Same thing with Lavarello. I'm pretty sure that if it came to light that she had notes from a classified meeting in a notebook she took home, she would have just gotten a reprimand, because that kind of stuff probably happens all the time and its an easy mistake to make. The part that got her in trouble was that she deliberately took things she should't have and then didn't return them promptly.

A recent political cartoon sums it up like this:  First panel shows Biden handing over a box of classified material with a chagrined expression on his face and saying "Oops!"  Second panel shows Trump standing in front of a big stack of boxes of classified documents and screaming "Mine!  Mine!  All mine!"
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dismalist

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Here is some discussion  and cited evidence that the source of the problem is that everything is classified!

https://prospect.org/politics/2023-01-30-president-classified-document-scandal/
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