We continue from Mar-a-Lago Secrets — The Plot Thickens; a Spy Job?, which is suggestive:
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.
Though the redacted affidavit does not list espionage as a probable cause, the affidavit author describes his qualifications:
4. I am a Special Agent with the FBI assigned to the Washington Field Office. During this time, I have received training at the FBI Academy located at Quantico, Virginia, specific to counterintelligence and espionage investigations. Based on my experience and training, I am familiar with efforts used to unlawfully collect, retain, and disseminate sensitive government information, including classified NDI.
The qualifications in red further the impression of an espionage investigation.
Unlawful retention is by itself big trouble; Harold Thomas Martin II was sentenced to 9 years for what may have been obsessive hoarding, with indications merely suggestive of espionage. The same distinction applies at Mar-a-Lago; former POTUS may have transferred documents in expression of a hoarding instinct without any ideas for exploitation. It is likely that the redactions relate to these possibilities:
- Hoarding without exploitation.
- Carelessness resulting in theft.
- Deliberate carelessness facilitating espionage.
Is it conceivable that a POTUS would deliberately remove protections, facilitating foreign espionage? There is an historical analogy with FDR, and Harry Dexter White, who served in Treasury under FDR. In CIA Chief: Trump “Unwitting agent of the Russian Federation”, I wrote,
Has supreme self confidence been our undoing before? Harry Dexter White was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in 1946, U.S. representative to the Bretton Woods conference, and co-creator of the International Monetary Fund. He had numerous contacts with Soviet Intelligence that has lead to the somewhat debated conclusion that he was a Soviet spy. Robert Skidelsky writes,
“A combination of naivety, superficiality and supreme confidence in his own judgment -together with his background – explains the course of action White took. There is no question of treachery, in the accepted sense of betraying one’s country’s secrets to an enemy. But there can be no doubt that, in passing classified information to the Soviets, White knew he was betraying his trust, even if he did not thereby think he was betraying his country.”
In the period of conflict with Nazi Germany, Communism had many Western sympathizers, who preferred to ignore the monstrosities of Stalinism. An ally crucial to the war effort, Russia had to be our friend. Even as sophisticated a pol as FDR conjured “Uncle Joe” as someone he could befriend on the personal level, resulting in the giveaway of Yalta, the diplomatic basis for the Iron Curtain.
There is striking analogy in the key tenet of Trump’s foreign policy, the necessity of alliance with Russia to balance China. Before the 2014 invasion in Ukraine, and for a period after, this opinion was popular in reputable circles. When it became disreputable, Trump may have been too fixated on China to notice that Russia had become a warlike state.
The ghost of Harry Dexter White lingers around Trump’s meetings with Putin. (Vox) Trump reportedly hid details of his meetings with Putin from his own administration. (WaPo) Trump has concealed details of his face-to-face encounters with Putin from senior officials in administration.
Two sinister bon mots:
You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide.
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.