Classified Document Disasters

Classified Document Disasters

So…if you’re paying attention to the news, you may know already that Joe Biden is a treasonous dirtbag who should immediately face a firing squad, after which he should be drawn and quartered, and then, for good measure, hanged.

Or at least we assume that’s the general consensus among the media and political classes.  That was the standard a couple of months ago…so, it should be the standard today, right?


Of course, if you ask us, the best part of this whole drama took place just hours ago, when the president, clearly frustrated that Fox News is allowed to exist, responded to a question from Fox’s Peter Doocy about classified documents being found in his garage near his Corvette, by grumpily noting that his Corvette is “in a locked garage…So, it’s not like they were sitting out on the street.”

Well, that’s a relief, we guess. But it raises other questions.  My garage is locked too; does that mean it’s safe to keep classified documents there?  What if my daughter leaves the garage door open by accident one night and we get raccoons again?  Will they need to be debriefed by the NSA before they’re shooed out of the garage?  Does Hunter have access to the Corvette?  Or is he grounded?  Is your locked garage more locked or less locked than the locked safe at Mar-a-Lago?

We.  Need.  Answers!

In all seriousness, though, the Biden-document “scandal” reveals or reinforces several of the nation’s most exasperating problems, most of which are related.

First, this country has a “classification problem.”  Obviously, we haven’t seen the documents in Biden’s garage, and nor have we seen the documents that Donald Trump had at Mar-a-Lago.  We can guess, though, that most of these “classified” files are entirely uninteresting – to us or even to foreign adversaries.  We can guess as well that a close examination would turn up classified documents at various locations connected to Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.  EVERYTHING is classified.

This creates two sub-issues.  It desensitizes people who should know better to document classification – i.e. it makes them less likely to take document classification seriously and, by extension, less likely to keep secret that which should be kept secret.

Additionally, it creates a transparency issue.  A government of, by, and for the people should keep as few secrets as possible.  Our government doesn’t operate that way, however.  It tries to keep as many secrets as possible.  That is HUGELY problematic, in theory and in practice, yet almost no one seems to care.

We don’t want Joe Biden to have classified documents in his garage in Delaware.  And we don’t want Donald Trump to have them at his country club in Florida.  But the issue here is much bigger than Biden and Trump.  It’s an issue of our government thinking that every detail of its activity – even the most mundane details – must be kept hidden from the public.  That’s not the way a democratic republic should function.

Second, this country has a drama/hysteria problem.  For the most part, the people on the Right who are making a big deal about Biden’s documents are doing so not because they believe that they constitute a huge breach of national security but because they don’t – and because they think that the same is almost certainly likely regarding Trump’s documents.  Yet in Biden’s case, there was no made-for-TV FBI raid, no taking – and releasing! – of pictures of documents spread out on the garage floor or the hood of the ‘Vette, no talk of treason by allegedly serious people, no ranting and crying about the undercover agents worldwide killed or exposed because of Biden’s recklessness.  In short, there’s been no drama, not because this incident IS so much different from the incident with Trump, but because the powers that be – in government and the media – DECIDED it should LOOK different.  The drama WAS the point, when it was Trump who had documents, but it’s beside the point with Biden.

And that brings us to…

Third, the mainstream media really is composed primarily of young, mal-educated, easily manipulated doofuses.  Back in 2016, Barack Obama’s failed-novelist-turned-foreign-policy-guru Ben Rhodes told the New York Times Magazine that “Most of the [media] outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”  Rhodes was excoriated for admitting that he and his boss used the media’s collective naivete to their advantage and manipulated inexperienced reporters – as he should have been.  But that doesn’t mean he was wrong.

Serious, experienced, well-seasoned journalists would have seen through the Biden DOJ’s LARPing at Mar-a-Lago and would have known that they were being used by an experienced team of PR pros who wanted to sell a narrative.  Unfortunately, serious, experienced, well-seasoned journalists are few and far between these days.

That’s not to say that young journalists are necessarily bad journalists or that they’re all easily manipulated.  Not at all.  It’s just that the smart, insightful, well-educated ones tend not to work for The New York Times or The Washington Post or NBC or any of the mainstream outlets.  And that’s the whole point.

Fourth and finally, we have a total-war/total-state problem in this country that is growing more and more out of control.  What Trump did with his documents was terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, and a hangable offense.  Because he’s Trump.  What Biden did is different and perfectly fine.  Because he’s Biden.  Trump is an enemy, after all, while Biden is a friend.

As we’ve said countless times – and will say again countless times, we’re sure – this tendency to politicize everything, to turn everything into a Manichaean battle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness will be this nation’s undoing.  Some things are not important enough to be political, and other things are TOO important to be political.  Our collective inability to recognize either of these is driving us all batty and bifurcating our society, perhaps irrevocably.

Joe Biden almost certainly did not compromise national security.  But then, Donald Trump likely didn’t either.

The fault, Dear Brutus, is not in our classified-document-hoarding politicians but in ourselves.

Stephen Soukup
Stephen Soukup
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Steve Soukup is the Vice President and Publisher of The Political Forum, an “independent research provider” that delivers research and consulting services to the institutional investment community, with an emphasis on economic, social, political, and geopolitical events that are likely to have an impact on the financial markets in the United States and abroad.