The National Archives in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 28, 2023.

The National Archives in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 28, 2023. (Stefani Reynolds, AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON (Tribune News Service) — Documents with classified markings were found mingled in material donated to libraries or universities by as many as 80 former members of Congress, the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday.

National Archives and Records Administration officials disclosed the latest known instance of document mishandling during a private meeting last week with Representatives Mike Turner, an Ohio Republican and the committee’s chair, and Jim Himes of Ohio, the panel’s top Democrat.

The two lawmakers said the disclosure indicates that misuse of classified material has occurred on a far broader scale and at different levels of government than recent cases involving President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.

“How that happened is beyond me,” said Himes, who with Turner briefed a group of reporters on Wednesday, and that mishandling occurred “way too much.”

The National Archives had no immediate comment.

Turner and Himes said they were told by Archives officials that various institutions reported finding documents with classified markings among donated material they’ve received from 80 former members of Congress.

Those institutions, after noticing the markings, had to go back to the National Archives and make inquiries about returning the documents. The assumption is those former lawmakers didn’t know, or remember, they had the material, Himes and Turner added.

Neither Himes nor Turner said they were provided names or a political party breakdown of the retired lawmakers, or when these breaches occurred.

Separately, both Turner and Himes reiterated dissatisfaction with the amount of information that they and other House and Senate leaders received in a separate closed-door briefing last week regarding discoveries of documents at the residences or offices of Biden, Trump and Pence.

They said the FBI, Justice Department and intelligence officials had not been forthcoming, either in providing direct access to the documents in question or revealing much of what was in the material. They said the explanation given was that releasing the information would impede continuing investigations.

Turner complained that the top eight members of Congress who are charged with the nation’s most important secrets certainly are not going to be a threat to those inquiries.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.


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