Why Biden’s Document Situation is So Different than Trump’s: Part 1 - There’s Just No Escaping the SCIF
In this highly detailed series of reports, split into 4 parts, investigative reporter Kurt Dillon breaks down the legal and factual reasons why the two cases aren’t similar at all
It has been suggested by several either uneducated or unscrupulous media outlets (I’ll let you decide for yourselves which is which), that the classified document cases of current President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are the same.
The circumstances of these two scenarios, however, prove that determination to be completely incorrect by any legal or factual standard of comparison. In fact, the reality and the details of the two situations are more analogous to comparing apples to oranges.
Of course, I will explain. But first, make no mistake, there is a lot of information here.
In order to break all of it down into more palatable chunks, I have separated the facts of these two cases into what I believe to be their most basic 4 elements and split those elements further into a series of articles to help make the trove of information just a bit easier to absorb and digest.
I will then compare and contrast the aspects of each president’s situation within each of those elements.
So buckle up, here goes...
Element #1 – The SCIF
The first key element of this investigation also happens to be the simplest one to explain, albeit not the shortest. That is, the existence and purpose of the SCIF (pronounced skiff) – an acronym for the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility(ies) – yes, there are more than one and there are even such things as mobile SCIFs.
The purpose of the SCIF is for authorized personnel to be able to examine classified materials such as documents, photos, videos, and the like that are SCI – classified (Sensitive Compartmented Information) the highest level of top-secret classification used in US government parlance, and how the SCIF ultimately got its name.
SCIFs are ultra-secure environments that exist in many government buildings like the White House and the US Capitol. However, mobile SCIFs can also be set up in a hurry in other non-government buildings, private homes, on ships, or even in hotel rooms, without fear of being compromised in any way.
Because of the way they are constructed, SCIFs are, quite literally, one of the most private and secure environments on earth.
As far as the technical aspects of SCIFs are concerned, I decided to use the explanation that exists on Wikipedia. Not because Wikipedia is any kind of factual authority on its own - we all know it isn’t. Yet the crowdsourced informational aspect of the site does make it a great place to access archived data that is professionally well-accepted biographical and historical information.
As long as that information is well sourced and fully attributed, with direct links to the original source material from other, more reputable sources, Wikipedia becomes an excellent index for finding those sources – far more reliable even than Google whose constantly changing algorithms are directly responsible for how the site prioritizes the responses it provides.
It’s also no secret that Google’s search algorithms often favor sources that pay to have their content shown first. Conversely, those same algorithms just as frequently deprioritize information provided by sources that do not align with the views of Alphabet (Google’s parent company) executives.
This situation is a perfect example of Wikipedia’s usefulness as a library-like guide, or index if you will, and not as an informational source of its own merit.
Because I did not want to repost all of the links and source information Wikipedia has pertaining to SCIFs (there are over 15 of them), I’ve provided a link to the specific Wikipedia page it came from so that anyone who wants to know even more of the details can follow my breadcrumbs and conduct their own independent investigation.
That’s because we here at The Veracity Report and our parent company, WOMEN (Wild Orchid Media & Entertainment Network, Inc) are full-on believers in the scientific method.
For those of you who don’t remember or never learned, the primary directive of the scientific method is that all methods must be followable by anyone, anywhere, and your results must be similarly and continuously re-attainable without any significant deviation.
If, for any reason, those methods don’t lead to the same results each time they are accurately followed without bias, (kind of like cooking recipes) then your entire experiment, and especially your conclusions, are patently worthless.
I couldn’t agree more. It’s why I founded this media company with the simple premise, if we can’t prove it, we won’t publish it – ever!
It’s also why my name, and my professional reputation as a respected journalist for over 30 years, appears branded on every article we produce, even as an editor on the ones written by other members of our staff.
In relevant part, Wikipedia explains the construction and function of SCIFs as:
Some entire buildings are SCIFs where all but the front foyer is secure. A SCIF can also be located in an air, ground, or maritime vehicle, or can be established temporarily at a specific site. The physical construction, access control, and alarming of the facility have been defined by various directives, including Director of Central Intelligence Directives (DCIDs) 1/21 and 6/9, and most recently (2011) by Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) 705, signed by the Director of National Intelligence. ICD 705 is a three-page capstone document that implements Intelligence Community Standard (ICS) 705-1, ICS 705-2, and the Technical Specifications for Construction and Management of Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities or "Tech Specs." The latest version of the Tech Specs was published in March 2020 (Version 1.5).
Computers operating within such a facility must conform to rules established by ICD 503. Computers and telecommunication equipment within must conform to TEMPEST emanations specifications as directed by a Certified TEMPEST Technical Authority (CTTA).
Officials documented to have had a SCIF set up in their private residences include:
President George W. Bush at his Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas (which he used as his Western White House)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at her Washington, D.C., home
President Donald Trump at both Trump Tower in New York City, and at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida
"Here's the kind of security needed to discuss sensitive information". NBC News.
"What Is a SCIF? Inside the Room Used for Intelligence Briefings". ABC News.
"Today I Briefed Congress on the NSA - Schneier on Security". www.schneier.com. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
Keating, T. J. (April 1, 2011). Joint and National Intelligence Support to Military Operations. DIANE Publishing. ISBN 9781437938272.
Elissa Nunez. "What this photo of Trump's war room tells us". CNN.
"Technical Specifications for Construction and Management of Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities" (PDF). September 28, 2017. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
Trish Choate (January 15, 2009). "Air Force planning to train hundreds yearly in cyber warfare skills".
Patrick Thibodeau (February 12, 2008). "Outsourcing helps spur data center land rush outside D.C."
Of particular importance, if you didn’t notice, is the fact that there have only ever been 4 SCIFs established in the homes of American politicians.
To that point, the last two of which were installed at residences belonging to former president Donald J. Trump – one in his Trump Tower penthouse, in New York City, and the other at his palatial Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida – you know, the one that got raided by the FBI.
First, as I’ve already shown, anyone besides the President of the United States while he is in the White House, or on Air Force One, can only view SCI – classified documents, photos, or videos, in an authorized SCIF.
A POTUS, on the other hand, only has to use a SCIF when he is not in the White House or on Air Force One, which also has a SCIF.
It is also important to understand that the US General Services Administration is responsible for maintaining the safety and security of classified materials that enter and exit every SCIF, no matter where it is.
As you can probably imagine, there is an extensive list of rules and Standard Operating Procedures which govern the use of SCIFs, how they are run, who is allowed to enter one, when they are allowed to enter, and what, if anything, they are allowed to remove from the SCIF – though the classified materials that required the use of a SCIF are NEVER included in that last list.
Those GSA protocols that govern the use of SCIFs are viewable on the agency’s website which I have linked for you here: US General Services Administration – GSA.gov.
The link provided above will take you directly to the relevant section of the GSA’s website. That is, Agency Directive 1025.4 ADM Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility Use (SCIF) Policy.
Now that we understand what a SCIF is, what it’s used for, and hopefully have a better idea of the protocols which govern the ingress and egress of government officials into and out of a SCIF, we can begin to see where the two situations of Joe Biden and Donald Trump start to vastly differ in both their scope and their magnitude.
Difference #1 – The SCIF
Donald Trump was not only a sitting POTUS when his documents were handled, but he even had SCIFs installed in two of his homes. For our purposes here, the SCIF installed at Mar-a-Lago is the only one that is germane to our investigation since it was the only location where documents were found and, to date, it's the only location associated with a US president that has ever been raided by the DOJ.
This is especially important since, when comparing the two scenarios, none of the documents found in any of the locations associated with Biden's case came from a time when he was POTUS.
Because of that undeniable fact, there is not, and never can be, any legally sustainable deniability that Joe Biden was never and could never be authorized to have possession of any classified material outside of an authorized SCIF - not even when he was vice president.
What’s more, since we’ve seen that the protocols governing the security of sensitive materials in a SCIF are so intensely regulated by the GSA, any rational person evaluating the situation would surmise a few facts:
- First, the removal of classified material from a SCIF is strictly prohibited.
- Second, the GSA takes extensive steps to adhere to those established protocols.
- Third, circumventing the GSA and its security protocols would be extremely difficult to do, and impossible to do accidentally.
- And fourth, intentionally removing any SCI - classified material from a SCIF, by anyone other than a sitting POTUS, is very highly against the law. (This distinction for a sitting POTUS will become more clear in part 2 of this series).
Put simply, with what we now know, there is just no fathomable way any non-president could remove classified material from a SCIF accidentally. (POTUS is allowed to remove SCI – classified material from a SCIF at will, particularly while in the White House, but more on that in the second part of this series).
Difference #2 – Mar-a-Lago vs. Wilmington Delaware, and the Penn Biden Center
In the case of Donald Trump, documents were only ever found to be in one location. What’s more, that location was once known as Trump’s Southern White House and even contained an authentic SCIF that was overseen by the GSA.
Further, there was never any point in time when the Trump documents in question were not under the watchful eye of the US Secret Service. That agency has maintained a 24-7-365 detail at Mar-a-Lago since early 2016, when Donald Trump officially became the Republican nominee for president, and that detail remains there to this day.
The same cannot be said for either the Penn Biden Center in Washington D.C. – which never had any official security - or at Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware home, which had an assigned Secret Service detail during Biden’s vice presidential years, but none during the 4 years Trump was president.
There was also no Secret Service protection in or around that residence during the many years when Biden was a Senator – a time that we now know is when some of the classified materials that were recovered from that home emanated from.
For the purposes of professionalism, I’ll refrain from making any jokes about the finding of the documents in Bidens’s garage, or the fact that they were recovered in a box, right behind the 1967 Corvette he bought from Jay Leno.
The same box, that by pure happenstance, was photographed on numerous occasions, just sitting there, against the back wall of the garage, as Biden drove his beloved Corvette convertible into or out of it - all the while smiling happily while someone snapped photos like they were pictorially documenting the raising of the Titanic.
The simple fact remains that Trump’s documents, whether they were classified or not (Spoiler alert – that’s the issue we will examine in part 2 of this 4-part series - Element #2 – The Classification/Declassification of Government Material and the Laws that Govern It), were always safe from unsavory elements and prying eyes while the Biden documents were – well…not.
Be sure to be on the lookout for part 2 of this series within the next couple of days. As always, we encourage active participation in the comments sections of all of our articles. Our staff remains constantly engaged with our readers through comments and they actively screen out nuisance trolls and spammers to keep the environment safe and strife free.
Veracity Editor's Note:
This unbiased, non-satirical, fully attributed article was thoroughly researched by our team of fact-checkers and found to be accurate. The sources relied upon for the factual basis of this article were: CBS, CNN, The New York Times, The New York Post, Wikipedia (for biographical and historical information only), Fox News, The Associated Press, Reuters, and veracityreport.org.
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