Joe Biden’s lawyers discovered a second batch of classified documents from his vice presidency stint at a new location on January 11, US media reported, just a day after the US president was “surprised” when briefed about the first set of records related to Ukraine and Iran, among other security issues, found in his private office.
Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden offered some scathing comment on Joe Biden’s classified document scandal. The man who himself blew the lid on a widely-cast net of cyber espionage organized by the US ironized on his Twitter feed that the US President appeared to have “absconded with more classified documents than many whistleblowers.”
He cited the case of US National Security Agency whistleblower Reality Winner, sentenced to five years in a federal prison in August 2018 for leaking a classified report about the Russiagate investigation.
Meanwhile, Snowden wrote, “Biden, Trump, Clinton, Petraeus… these guys have dozens, hundreds [of documents]. No jail.”
According to Snowden, the real scandal wasn’t that the 46th POTUS had “classified documents coming out of his socks,” but that the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) found out about it a week prior to the November 2022 midterm elections, but opted to “suppress the story.”
Edward Snowden has every right to take a sardonic view of the situation regarding the Biden classified documents row. Back in June 2013, Snowden was charged by the US Justice Department with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and government property theft, after he exposed classified data to the press.
The data in question showed that US intelligence services and their allies were spying on US citizens and foreign leaders on a grand scale. Following this, Snowden fled the US. As he was heading to South America, the whistleblower had his passport revoked, and was forced to spend a month in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport until the Russian government granted him asylum. Edward Snowden in early December officially became a Russian citizen, taking an oath of allegiance and receiving a Russian passport, after a September decree by President Vladimir Putin granted him Russian citizenship.
Successive disclosures earlier in the week by US media revealed that several classified files had been found in Biden’s private offices dated 2013-2016 and hailing back to his vice presidency. Biden’s lawyers ostensibly found the documents while clearing his office at the Penn Center, a Washington-based think tank, in November 2022, and other presumably unprotected locations. According to the White House special counsel, they had immediately contacted the US National Archives who forwarded the information to the Justice Department.
Among the first batch of documents, now under the Justice Department’s review, were purportedly classified materials related to Ukraine, Iran, and the UK, among other security issues. Despite confidants coming across the docs on the eve of the midterm elections in early November 2022, the US DOJ chose to remain silent about the story.
The scandal prompted conservative outlets to draw parallels between the current classified memo drama and the uproar over ex-POTUS Donald Trump keeping classified documents at his premises in Mar-a-Lago.
Last year, despite Trump voluntarily turning over a number of government files he had stored after leaving the Oval Office, the FBI carried out a raid on his residence on August 8, 2022 and seized 13,000 documents from the location. Just 103 of them turned out to be classified and 18 were marked “top secret.” The 45th US president maintained that he had declassified the files before he left office. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to oversee the case of Trump’s classified documents, with Republicans recently calling on the AG to appoint a special counsel for Biden too.