Classified Material

I have handled classified material all through my military and civil service career, but I have never imagined anything like what is in the news today. I had both respect and fear of the material I was handling. Respect because I knew what it was, what it could do if the wrong eyes saw it and honored to be able to handle such sensitive material. I feared it because I knew if I mishandled it, lost it, or allowed the wrong eyes to see it I was in very big trouble and the trouble would come very quickly. I used to say, ‘they would dump me in a very deep hole, fill it in, and build a prison over me’. Evidently not so today.

               When the boxes of material were taken from the White House, when the ex-President was reluctantly leaving, I asked then how he was allowed to take the material or is it the law had changed. Eighteen months ago, the removal of classified material was known. Yet, people are acting like it is new news. A year after the material was taken Trump was asked for the return of the material. See-sawing back and forth through delay after delay got the government nowhere with just asking for the return of the material. In June a subpoena was issued for its return. Again, delay after delay resulted in just some of the material being returned, although his lawyers said that was all of it. Now the raid produced boxes of highly classified material. Surprise-surprise-surprise!

               In my civil servant job, when I handled classified correspondence, I had to be very careful. I signed for the material, took it where it had to go, stood there while the individual read it, they signed for it, I took it to a secure storage place, signed in and stored it. When it was time to destroy it, there was a strict procedure that had to be followed to the letter. I could not just flush it down the toilet. If I did not follow the rules to the letter, there would not be a warning nor a chance to delay nor a subpoena nor more than a year going past before I was in handcuffs. Oh, I get it. I am not an ex-President.

               I have said from day one, if I did anything remotely close to what Trump have done, I would have been in prison years ago serving a very long sentence. My leading question is, what was he going to do with that trove of classified material? I know Putin blackmailed people with material like that (he is ex-KGB). Was he trying to do something like that? Was he going to sell it for the money he needs? I guess we will never know. We can only speculate.

               The handling of classified material takes obvious precautions with harsh penalties if you miss the mark, regardless of who you are. There are people for Trump calling for the disbandment of the law enforcement agencies involved or just leaving him alone. I guess they are saying you and me must follow the law and/or rules but Trump does not. He is above the law. He was given time to return the material where-by anyone else would immediately be in jail for the slightest misstep.  Who said this world is fair?

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