As President Joe Biden embarks on a summit with leaders from neighboring nations, he faces mounting scrutiny over his handling of classified documents.
The revelation that several classified documents from his time as vice president were discovered at his private office in Washington, D.C., last fall broke just as the President arrived at the National Palace in Mexico City for his first visit as President to Mexico since 2014.
Biden’s legal team claims that the government documents were found in November while they were closing out an office in Washington, D.C. which Biden had used in connection with his position being an honorary professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
According to CNN, fewer than a dozen classified documents were found, and it remains unclear as to what they pertain to or why they were in Biden’s private office.
The classified materials included top-secret files with the “sensitive compartmented information” or SCI designation, used for information that is highly sensitive and obtained from intelligence sources.
As per federal regulations, officeholders are required to relinquish official documents and classified records upon the conclusion of their government service.
As the news of the classified documents spread, Biden focused on his bilateral meeting with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
In the meeting, immigration was a major topic of discussion. A senior administration official confirmed that the issue of the classified documents had not yet been brought up during the President’s visit to Mexico.
Biden himself remained tight-lipped about the matter, and Attorney General Merrick Garland, who was present at the meeting, has requested that the U.S. attorney in Chicago review the situation, a process which is currently in its early stages.
A source on CNN also reported that Biden is still unaware of the contents of the documents.
There are some insights from the two senior Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, Representatives Adam Schiff and Jim Himes; they noted that classified documents must be handled securely.
Schiff stated, “if there are classified documents anywhere, they shouldn’t be; that’s a big problem and a deep concern.”
When asked if Congress should look into the matter, Schiff stated that he would need to read more about the story before commenting further. Himes added, “classified information needs to stay in secure spaces.”
The discovery of these classified documents raises important questions about the handling of sensitive information and the potential consequences for national security.
It also puts pressure on the Biden administration to provide clear and transparent explanations about how these documents ended up in Biden’s private office.
Some analysts say that this will also have an impact on President Biden’s foreign policies as well, as America is one of the most powerful countries in the world, and it is expected to maintain the highest standard of security.
As this is happening at the beginning of his term, it may cast a shadow over his administration, and in the long run, it will be hard for him to gain the trust of other countries.