House Intelligence Committee Releases Transcript From Closed National Archives Hearing
Today, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mike Turner (OH-10) issued the following statement after the Committee voted to release an unclassified transcript containing the testimony of officials from the National Archives and Records Administration that took place in March:
“Testimony from the National Archives and Records Administration officials makes clear that the handling and mishandling of classified documents are a problem that stretches beyond the Oval Office. In fact, dozens of former Members of Congress and senior government officials have taken classified documents with them after leaving office and donated them to libraries and universities across the country. This is a systemic problem that dates to the Reagan Administration. We need a better way for elected officials who are leaving office – in both the Executive Branch and Legislative Branch – to properly return classified material and protect the integrity of our national security,” said Chairman Mike Turner.
To read the unclassified transcript, click here.
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) officials testified that when it comes to the retention of classified documents, the problem is broader than former Presidents and Vice Presidents. Since 2010, NARA has received over 80 calls from different libraries and universities where former Members of Congress and senior government officials have taken papers and donated them. For instance, Senator Edmund Muskie inadvertently sent 98 classified documents to Bates College.
NARA officials testified that every presidential administration since the Reagan Administration has mishandled classified material, and they found classified and unclassified documents that were commingled.
NARA was looking for items of historical interest (e.g., the letter that President Obama left for President Trump and President Trump’s correspondence with Kim Jong Un) and was not aware of missing classified documents.