After a recent request for the probe by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines revealed the start of a damage assessment investigating issues related to the federal records taken to Mar-a-Lago. It’s another U.S. government investigation alongside the unfolding criminal probe.
Government documents taken to the southern Florida Trump resort drove the recent raid of the property by FBI agents amid the broader criminal investigation, who recovered nearly a dozen sets of classified documents, including materials identified as sensitive compartmented information, which is some of the most guarded material in the U.S. government. An original letter from Schiff and Maloney seeking the kind of investigation in the intel community known as a damage assessment noted that variety of probe was meant “to evaluate actual or potential damage to national security resulting from the unauthorized disclosure or compromise of classified national intelligence.” A letter from Haines said her team would lead an “assessment of the potential risk to national security that would result from the disclosure of the relevant documents.”
As reported by POLITICO, Haines added that the damage assessment would proceed in a manner that “does not unduly interfere with DOJ’s ongoing criminal investigation.” The correspondence from Haines was dated Friday, the same day a redacted version of an affidavit used in the process of Justice Department personnel seeking a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago was released. The document revealed that FBI agents previously discovered a variety of highly sensitive government materials, including documents related to the process of obtaining intelligence from clandestine human sources, in 15 boxes recovered by the National Archives from Trump in January. The FBI conducted its initial examination of what was in the boxes in May. The release of materials related to clandestine human sources, whether containing information derived from or more broadly related to such sources, could endanger their lives through exposing them.
“The DOJ affidavit, partially unsealed yesterday, affirms my grave concern that among the documents stored at Mar-a-Lago were those that could endanger human sources,” Schiff said Saturday in a statement to POLITICO. “It is critical that the IC move swiftly to assess and, if necessary, to mitigate the damage done — a process that should proceed in parallel with DOJ’s criminal investigation.” “IC” stands for “intelligence community.” The criminal investigation into circumstances surrounding the documents transported to Mar-a-Lago hinges on potential violations of at least three pieces of federal law, including the Espionage Act, which broadly covers national security-related issues. In their original letter, Schiff and Maloney also asked Haines for an “appropriate classified briefing on the conduct of the damage assessment as soon as possible.”