FBI search: What’s Top Secret Compartmented Information?


(NewsNation) — Sources confirmed to NewsNation that FBI agents found dozens of classified documents during their search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home Mar-a-Lago on Monday.

Investigators reportedly discovered classified documents in two areas: Trump’s personal office above a ballroom and in a storage room near the pool.

Sources say there were “boxes everywhere,” with some containing Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI).

What is Top Secret Compartmented Information?

In the U.S., government security classification takes on different categories and clearance levels such as Confidential, Secret and Top Secret based on the material and its significance to national security.

Top Secret information demands the highest degree of protection. When deciding to assign a Top Secret classification to certain documents, officials look at whether it could cause grave damage to the country’s national security. U.S. law says this classification is to be used with the utmost restraint.

Under the Top Secret umbrella, especially sensitive work requires access to Sensitive Compartmented Information, which typically requires a Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) clearance.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Sensitive Compartmented Information can be information about intelligence sources or methods and may include information about sensitive collection systems or analytical processing.

The department says information classified as SCI may only be stored or used in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF). These buildings are believed to have specific construction requirements and are coordinated by security officers. Access to SCI is supposed to only be granted to people with at least Top Secret security clearances.

Since the documents taken from Mar-a-Lago are TS/SCI and so secretive, it’s unknown if investigators will ever publicly acknowledge what they’re in reference to, let alone release them to the public.

Plus, during a pending federal investigation, documents typically remain sealed. But the Department of Justice has moved away from tradition by asking to have the Mar-a-Lago search warrant unsealed due to the public’s high interest.

Former President Trump’s legal team has until 3 p.m. ET Friday to respond to the DOJ’s request. They can either object to the release of the search warrant or agree to it.

Trump posted on his social media platform late Thursday night that he will not oppose the release of the warrant, saying he welcomes “the immediate release of those documents.”

While appearing earlier Thursday on NewsNation’s “On Balance with Leland Vittert,” Trump’s attorney Christina Bobb said “it doesn’t appear” they would object to releasing the search warrant. She said if offered optimism, they would give the green light but Bobb would not commit to a final decision Thursday evening.

Trump maintains that the Mar-a-Lago search was neither necessary nor appropriate, calling it “prosecutorial misconduct” and a “surprise attack.” He claims his team had been cooperating with the Department of Justice since June.

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