Highly classified documents seized from Donald Trump’s Florida home contained foreign nuclear secrets so sensitive only a handful of national security officials know of their existence, it has been revealed.
Some of the documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago by FBI agents last month contain such top-secret information that those viewing them require special clearances, not just top-secret clearance, according to a Washington Post report.
They are so restricted that even some of the Biden administration’s senior-most national security officials were not authorised to review them.
Records that deal with such programs are kept under lock and key, almost always in a secure compartmented information facility, underscoring the FBI’s concern that they were being kept at the Florida mansion.
The documents, according to unnamed officials quoted by The Post, described a different nation’s ability to attack with nuclear weapons and their ability to defend against similar attacks.
It was not immediately clear what foreign country was in question, or whether it was friendly or hostile to the United States.
“Trump’s damage to our national security includes relationship damage with friendly countries we work with and rely on to gather intelligence. If they believe it’s no longer safe to work with us, we are in a much less secure position,” said Joyce Alene, a former federal prosecutor of 25 years.
A Trump spokesman did not immediately comment. Spokespeople for the Justice Department and FBI declined to comment.
The FBI recovered more than 11,000 government documents and photographs during its August 8 search at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, according to court records.
Mr Trump has both claimed that law-enforcement agents planted evidence during the search at the same time as alleging that he declassified all of the documents that he removed from the White House.
The US Justice Department is investigating Mr Trump for removing government records from the White House after he departed in January 2021 and storing them at Mar-a-Lago.
On Monday, a federal judge agreed to Mr Trump’s request to appoint a special master to review records seized in the FBI search, a move that is likely to delay the Justice Department’s criminal investigation.
Bill Barr, the former president’s Attorney General, criticised the decision to grant a special master and said the decision would likely be overturned if the Government appealed.
“The opinion, I think was wrong, and I think the Government should appeal,” he told Fox News. “It is deeply flawed in a number of ways.”
In any case, he said, such was the weight of evidence that “I don’t see it fundamentally changing the trajectory”.