WASHINGTON — Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said her office will conduct a damage assessment of documents that were removed from the former president. Donald Trump’s house in Mar-a-Lago in a letter to congressional lawmakers, obtained by NBC News on Saturday.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, or DNI, which oversees the CIA, National Security Agency and 16 other agencies, “will lead an intelligence community assessment of the potential national security risk that would result from the release of the documents. relevant,” director Avril Haines wrote in the letter dated Friday.
The DNI and the Justice Department are “working together to facilitate a classification review of relevant documents, including those recovered during the search,” Haines added, and the two teams will coordinate closely to ensure that the assessment does not interfere with the DOJ’s ongoing criminal investigation.
The letter, first reported by Policywas directed to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-California, and House Oversight Committee Chairman Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., both of whom had requested a damage assessment from security days after the FBI searched Trump’s Florida club on August 8. The Senate Intelligence Committee has also requested a damage assessment as well as additional details on the substance of the documents, but has not yet received any.
“I suspect the Biden administration is being very careful right now not to appear to be involved beyond the independent FBI and the Justice Department,” a former senior intelligence official said. told NBC News earlier this month.
A redacted copy of the FBI affidavit used to substantiate the search, unsealed on Friday, said agents conducted a preliminary review in mid-May of the contents of 15 boxes of documents Trump had returned to the National Archives from his Florida property in January, and “identified documents with classification marks in fourteen of the FIFTEEN BOXES.
Officers found 184 unique documents that had classification marks, according to the affidavit, with 25 documents marked as “TOP SECRET”, 67 documents marked as “confidential” and 92 marked “secret”.
According to property receipt of recovered objects. There were also documents described as “SCI” documents, which stands for highly classified “sensitive compartmented information”.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart approved the warrant that allowed federal agents to search Trump’s property in Florida after determining the affidavit provided probable cause. He decided on Thursday that the document could be unsealed after the DOJ submitted drafting proposals.
In a joint statement on Saturday, Maloney and Schiff said, “We are pleased that in response to our investigation, Director Haines has confirmed that the Intelligence Community and the Department of Justice are assessing the damage caused by the improper storage of documents. classified at Mar-a -Lago.”
The redacted affidavit, they said, “affirms our grave concern that among the documents stored at Mar-a-Lago are those that could endanger human sources. It is essential that the [intel community] act quickly to assess and, if necessary, mitigate the damage caused – a process that should occur alongside the DOJ’s criminal investigation.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
And Dilanian contributed.