Washington

Ross: Mar-a-Lago raid asks important questions about Trump’s handling of national secrets

When I started covering news in college in the 70s, you would never see a Republican question the legitimacy of the FBI. It was left-wing, communist-sympathizing, liberal students who hated the FBI. I remember being warned by student leaders about the possibility of FBI provocateurs infiltrating the ranks, trying to incite violence.

Yet now, here we are, with the chair of the Republican National Committee saying the Mar-A-Lago search was an abuse of power. Republicans are accusing the FBI of planting evidence, Republicans are saying the FBI should be defunded, and Republicans are promising to investigate Attorney General Merrick Garland for signing off on the search.

Ross: The Mar-a-Lago raid just inflamed 2024’s expected MAGA campaign

So, before any more of you who are normally on the side of law and order switch over to the other side, I wanted to read this email to you.

I cannot personally vouch for the writer (we have never met), but he strikes me as a law-and-order type who’s concerned that a lot of Americans don’t understand what could be at stake in allowing a President to remove documents from the White House, no questions asked.

The listener writes:

“I worked in [Air Force] Intelligence a long time ago, 1987 – 1992 (Strategic Air Command and Tactical Air Command). A lot has changed, but physical and operational procedures and the risks of not following them haven’t. I can only wonder how many foreign spy agencies have tried to embed people in janitorial or other roles at Mar-a-Lago given that all this has been public for so long. One wonders, given what we know about the former President’s document handling habits, how careful the storage of highly classified documents was, vis-a-vis those aforementioned foreign adversaries…”

You see what this person is saying. That whether Trump moved the documents to deliberately cover up something, or simply moved them innocently because he wanted souvenirs – he moved them to a hotel! Where there are dozens of janitors, housekeepers, and maintenance people – all with keys, none of them extensively vetted. These are jobs with a lot of turnover. New people coming on board all the time…

Is there any enemy of the United States that would not be sending impeccably-trained janitors and housekeepers and maintenance people – especially maintenance people – to work at Mar-a-Lago? What do you think?

Now, whether any of this should lead to criminal charges, that will be up to the Justice Department, which famously gave a certain Secretary of State a pass on her classified emails.

But let’s remember, the FBI’s investigation of Hillary turned up all of 87 “Secret” or “Top secret” documents.

And if that was worth investigating, the only outrage over the Mar-A-Lago search ought to be that the FBI waited so long to do anything.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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