The head of the US intelligence community says she will launch a review of possible national security risks posed by a trove of records that had been removed from the White House and kept at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
The announcement of the review, which was revealed in a letter sent to top US legislators on Friday and obtained by US media, is the latest escalation in an ongoing saga surrounding Trump’s handling of sensitive documents after leaving the White House. Some of those documents were labeled “top secret”, the highest level of US classification, according to documents released by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
In the letter to House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff and Oversight Committee chair Carolyn Maloney, National Intelligence Director (DNI) Avril Haines said she would conduct a “classification review” of the documents seized by investigators during an August 8 search of Trump’s Florida estate, as well as “an Intelligence Community (IC) assessment of the potential risk to national security that would result from the disclosure of the relevant documents”.
She said the review would not interfere with the “DOJ’s ongoing criminal investigation”.
The letter came as the US justice department on Friday, following a court order, released a heavily-redacted affidavit that divulged, in part, the agency’s justification for launching the extraordinary probe into a former president’s conduct.
In its justification for raiding Trump’s estate, investigators pointed to a previous review of 15 boxes of government records Trump had returned to the US National Archives in January, which included highly-sensitive documents related to “national defense” and “clandestine human sources” – a term referring to the individuals that make up Washington’s vast intelligence and espionage apparatus.