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Tipsheet

Biden's Classified Doc Scandal Dredges Up Something That Makes Him Look More Hypocritical

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Joe Biden’s classified document fiasco engulfs his administration in another round of misery and humiliation that comes when you elect an unqualified man to the presidency. Biden and the Democrats were hammering Donald Trump for months over the Mar-a-Lago raid last summer, with Joe saying he handles such sensitive materials with special care. That turned out to be another lie. The man was leaving state secrets all over the place at multiple locations, including the garage of his home in Wilmington, Delaware. More files were found inside the home marked top secret—all these documents were taken illegally. The vice president can’t just abscond away with classified materials—they don’t have declassification powers.

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Now, since it’s a Democrat, everyone is coming out of the woodwork to offer talking points that we have already said—like how the National Archives does overclassify items they deem essential to presidential records. Also, yes—former top government officials playing fast and loose with classified materials is an open secret, but everyone, as always, treated Trump’s classified doc flap as unprecedented. That was the case when federal agents decided to ransack the home of a former president under the auspices of the Presidential Records Act. Another difference between Trump and Biden’s classified document debate is that Mar-a-Lago was a secure location protected by the Secret Service. Staffers with the proper clearances also handled the documents—we don’t know who handled Biden’s illegal seizure of classified materials. 

So, as if the hypocrisy with this circus wasn’t bad enough, let’s rehash then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) torpedoed the CIA nomination of former Kennedy speechwriter Ted Sorensen under Jimmy Carter, heavily opposed by the intelligence community—Sorensen had no foreign policy experience. The Intercept thought it was worth mentioning. And it is: a broken clock is right twice a day. Biden gave the aura of supporting the nomination before delivering a haymaker to the nominee about his improper acquisition of classified materials. Biden sided with Senate Republicans to kill this nomination, which Sorensen, who passed away in 2010, said was an event that should have awarded Biden a “prize for political hypocrisy in a town noted for political hypocrisy” (via The Intercept):

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The revelation that Biden illicitly stored classified materials, including in his garage, is a grave embarrassment to the president, particularly in light of the fact that Democrats have hammered away at Trump for months over the classified documents he retained at Mar-a-Lago. But there is also a relevant story from Biden’s past that bears mentioning. 

The events took place during the administration of Jimmy Carter, when Biden was a rising star in the U.S. Senate and an inaugural member of the Intelligence Committee, which was established in response to the lawlessness of the Nixon administration. Biden colluded with Republicans on the Intelligence Committee to kill the nomination of a CIA critic to be director of the agency. Among the reasons was that the nominee, Ted Sorensen, had admitted to taking classified documents for a biography of his longtime friend John F. Kennedy and had spoken out in defense of Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. In fact, Biden went so far as to suggest Sorensen might be subject to prosecution under the Espionage Act. 

[…] 

When Sorensen came under attack from Republicans, though, Biden shifted his position and went out of his way to dig up an episode from Sorenson’s past that would serve as a red flag against his confirmation. Sorensen had given an affidavit in Ellsberg’s case, in which Sorensen acknowledged that many officials in Washington, including himself, would take classified documents home to review and that officials often leaked far more sensitive documents to the press without facing prosecutions. 

Biden said he learned of the affidavit, which was never filed in court, from a Republican colleague and assessed that the Republicans on the committee would seek to use it to discredit Sorensen. Biden had his staff scour documents and Sorensen’s books to find the unfiled affidavit, and an aide who was involved with the Pentagon Papers case eventually located it. This, combined with other concerns, including allegations that Sorensen was a pacifist who dodged the Korean War draft, put the nomination in peril. “It was like being blindsided by a truck,” Sorensen said, describing the campaign against him as an effort where “many little dirty streams flowed together to make one large one.” 

In a phone call with Carter after confirming the document, Biden said, “I think we’re in trouble. I think it is going to be tough.” As it became clear that the nomination was doomed, Carter offered an uninspired defense of Sorensen’s comments on classified documents with a public statement, “saying it would be ‘most unfortunate’ if frank acknowledgement of common practice should ‘deprive the administration and the country of his talents and services,’” according to a press report.

At Sorensen’s confirmation hearing, Biden laid into the nominee. “Quite honestly, I’m not sure whether or not Mr. Sorensen could be indicted or convicted under the espionage statutes,” Biden said… 

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Ghosts have a habit of returning to haunt, especially if it's political in nature.

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