FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday lamented about the recent span of discoveries of classified documents at current and former leader’s homes and offices, saying that those who have access to classified material “need to be conscious” about the rules surrounding it.
During a Justice Department press conference announcing a major crackdown of a cyber-criminal gang, Wray was asked if he was concerned that the U.S. government system for accounting for classified information in the executive branch “may be broken.”
“Obviously, I can’t comment on any specific investigation, but we have had, for quite a number of years, any number of mishandling investigations,” Wray replied. “That is, unfortunately, a regular part of our counterintelligence divisions’—our counterintelligence program’s— work.
“People need to be conscious of the rules regarding classified information and appropriate handling of it,” he added. “Those rules are there for a reason.”
The press conference comes after lawyers for former Vice President Mike Pence reported that they had found “a small number” of classified documents at his Indiana home. They said Pence himself elected to do the search after learning of the classified documents that had been discovered at President Joe Biden’s Delaware residence.
As early as November 2022, Biden’s lawyers found classified documents were discovered at the president’s former office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington. In December, additional documents were found at his Delaware home. Neither discovery was made public until Jan. 9, when the media broke the story, and the White House confirmed it.
Prior to that, the FBI raided former President Donald Trump’s resort in Palm Beach, Florida, seizing boxes of classified materials that had been stored there since the end of his first term.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed Jack Smith as a special counsel to investigate Trump and Robert Hur as a special counsel to investigate Biden. No special counsel so far has been appointed in the case of Pence.
At another point of Thursday’s press conference, a reporter asked Garland if there is any plan to coordinate the work of the two special counsels in a way that would allow them to release their findings at the same time so the public could have a somewhat “apple-to-apple” comparison between Trump and Biden.
Garland vaguely responded to that question.
“I don’t want to talk about particulars of investigations—particularly not a special counsel investigation,” he told the reporter.
“I’ll say, as a general matter, the people we choose for special counsel are experienced prosecutors with experience in the Justice Department. They know how the Justice Department works, they know what the Justice Department’s practices are, and I’m fully confident that they will resolve these matters one way or the other in the highest traditions of the department.”