The handling of classified files is a sensitive issue for the U.S. government, a nation where leaks are a way of doing politics.
A double political and security scandal is rocking U.S. politics, calling into question the handling of classified documents by former Republican President Donald Trump and sitting Democratic President Joe Biden.
Trump, first, is fighting a legal battle over classified U.S. government documents that were found improperly stored at his Florida residence, the golf club Mar-a-Lago, last October.
It is a considerable scandal, and the fact Trump has decided to litigate only makes it worse.
In the meantime, the midterm elections took place, and contrary to hopes for a sweeping victory, Republicans won only minimal control of the House of Representatives, where a “hard” right-wing minority now leverages considerable power and is advancing a policy of confrontation with Biden and the Senate.
Under these conditions, Biden’s office reported 10 days ago that his lawyers found classified documents in an office the Democratic president occupied as vice president before he left in 2018. The White House has agreed to cooperate with the Department of Justice. But the problem is more political than legal.
The handling of classified files is a sensitive issue for the government of the U.S., a nation where leaks are a traditional way of doing politics.
People found guilty of mishandling classified documents face serious penalties given that such material could compromise U.S. national security by making intelligence available to potentially hostile countries or groups, publicizing covert operations and endangering the lives and safety of intelligence agents.
The list of possible consequences is long. Yet there are a considerable number of people with access to classified documents at various security levels.
In this context, judgment about the gravity and legality of alleged crimes committed by both men depends on political interests and partisanship, as has become the norm in modern society.
But while Trump’s situation concerns a figure who is now in the middle of a struggle to maintain his political life and personal influence in the Republican Party, Biden’s situation concerns the incumbent president himself.
Worse yet, it’s happened as public opinion about the president and his work was improving.
But the case makes Biden an ideal target for investigation by select House committees whose primary objective is to undermine democratic government, demonstrating the dangers this situation poses to the well-being and security of the United States.