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OPINION

Mission No. 1 for the US House of Representatives: U.S. National Security

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/John Raoux

Last week, we learned classified documents have been found in various places where President Joe Biden "inadvertently," "unintentionally" or "mistakenly" "stored" or "misplaced" them. All those verbs and adverbs have been used in the ensuing media circus.

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Though the quantity, contents, subjects, titles or actual classification levels of these documents has yet to be released, that has not prevented Biden's adversaries and friends from racing to the nearest microphone to pontificate on how severe or minuscule Old Joe's problem is or to prescribe remedial action. The Washington Post offers a unique solution: The government should classify fewer documents. Really.

For the benefit of most Americans who will never see a classified document, here are the basics: There are three levels of classification: Confidential, Secret and Top Secret. The levels are established by executive branch directives based on the sensitivity of the information -- and how much damage to our national security/interests would be likely if that information is disclosed to our enemies or potential adversaries.

Access to view/hold classified documents and electronic files is limited by the level of security clearance granted to those who have a "need to know." And those individuals are obligated to ensure proper security for the information -- e.g., a government-approved safe or repository. There are also special "categories" or "compartments" for sensitive information. For example, very limited access is granted for documents labeled "Top Secret Sigma" -- dealing with nuclear weapons programs.

Lengthy print, broadcast and online op-eds are prognosticating about the gravity of what all this means -- legally and politically. Last Thursday, at a press conference, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy criticized the Biden administration for "... treating law differently based upon your political beliefs." That afternoon, Biden's attorney general, Merrick Garland, appointed Robert Hur (former President Donald Trump appointed him as U.S. attorney in Maryland) as an independent special counsel to investigate the Biden classified documents matter.

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On Friday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to the attorney general demanding "all documents and communications" among the Justice Department, FBI and White House regarding the "mishandling of classified documents" and "... the appointment of a special counsel."

Garland's appointment of an independent special counsel to investigate every aspect of "Biden's Classified Documents Scandal," as one headline over the weekend read, is important. It really is a matter of U.S. national security. At the very least, Old Joe's claim he kept classified material "with my Corvette in a locked garage" isn't going to blow over like a summer squall. Old Joe may no longer remember what documents he kept, nor why or where he kept them. But he and his handlers need to hope none have a cover sheet labeled TOP SECRET.

Congress does indeed have the constitutional right and responsibility to investigate and exercise oversight over the executive branch. I know. Been there. Done that.

But Congress also has "the power of the purse" to rectify other far more egregious threats to the American people than this latest Biden imbroglio:

The tyrannical despots who rule China, Russia, Iran and North Korea pose an existential peril.

The millions who have invaded across our nonexistent southern border are a humanitarian catastrophe -- and deadly for the fentanyl that has already killed more than 150,000 Americans.

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Russia's quiet buildup of military force in Belarus in preparation for a spring offensive against Ukraine demands rapid delivery of weapons and materiel from the U.S. and NATO.

Biden's duplicitous diplomacy to lift sanctions on Iran's ayatollahs will allow them to acquire nuclear weapons and the means of delivery -- placing the U.S. and Israel in grave danger.

Our armed forces are woefully unprepared to deter war therefore making war more likely.

The 222 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives must not allow the Biden paper chase to distract them from what must be their No. 1 mission: enhancing our national security.

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