Mar-a-Lago Secrets — The Plot Thickens; a Spy Job?

We continue from  Nuclear Secrets at Mar-a-Lago.

The response of DOJ to the media request for release of the affidavit offers important clues. Quoting (CNN) DOJ opposes making public details in Mar-a-Lago search warrant’s probable cause affidavit,

“Disclosure of the government’s affidavit at this stage would also likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high-profile investigations,”…

The purpose of the search-and-seizure was not simply to retrieve top-secret documents. It was also to gather evidence. It indicates that the documents were the center of some form of illicit activity.

If we add to the affidavit the list of seized items, we get something resembling a zebra puzzle, familiar to every taker of the LSAT. If the real world were a logic puzzle, we could solve Mar-a-Lago in the manner of Hercule Poirot, obtaining both the nature of the crime, and the perpetrator.

The world is not a logic puzzle. It revels in overturning the puzzler’s logic, which risks accusation of the innocent. I will not risk that here. You have the chance to solve the puzzle yourself. For warmup the Zebra puzzle goes like this:

    1. There are five houses.
    2. The Englishman lives in the red house.
    3. The Spaniard owns the dog.
    4. Coffee is drunk in the green house.
    5. The Ukrainian drinks tea.
    6. The green house is immediately to the right of the ivory house.
    7. The Old Gold smoker owns snails.
    8. Kools are smoked in the yellow house.
    9. Milk is drunk in the middle house.
    10. The Norwegian lives in the first house.
    11. The man who smokes Chesterfields lives in the house next to the man with the fox.
    12. Kools are smoked in the house next to the house where the horse is kept.
    13. The Lucky Strike smoker drinks orange juice.
    14. The Japanese smokes Parliaments.
    15. The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.

Now, who drinks water? Who owns the zebra?

If you prefer, watch some shows of Penn and Teller, Fool Us!

Without risking the right of presumed innocence, I will share one implication of the Mar-a-Lago puzzle: While the Espionage Act covers various offenses that are not actually espionage, this is an espionage case. If you manage to solve it,  keep it to yourself.

Hint: It helps to know some spy craft,  the kind described for entertainment in open source.