By Gary Franks
No. No one planted the various top secret and/or classified documents in the University of Pennsylvania office of President Joe Biden or in Biden’s locked garage where he also keeps his Corvette. And no one planted the documents inside his Delaware home either. An overly zealot Black Democrat congressman recently put forth this inaccurate conspiracy theory.
It is evident the president knew about the documents. When they were uncovered, he did not scream, “How did the documents get there?” His lawyers did not echo that defense either.
The bigger questions are: Why were they there for the last six years and who had access to the documents?
The excuse or explanation that the “president did not mean to do it” does not suffice. This is comparable to the guy who killed a person, but did not intend to do so. It is still a crime. In a wrongful death case, called manslaughter. There are parallels to Biden’s mishandling of the classified documents as it posed a national security risk. The penalties are dramatically different; murder versus manslaughter. However, both are still a violation of the law.
If given the same opportunities, Al Capone would have been thrilled. Big Al would have loved to conduct his own investigation and discovery of the evidence without any oversight from the authorities.
Also, the mere fact that you are showing the authorities where you have committed a crime does not make it any less a crime. Instead, it is an admission of guilt. In that case we need no court proceeding other than a guilty plea. Where is the mystery?
The need for an investigation should be based on whether something nefarious was taking place over the last six years involving Biden, family members or close associates. The latter may have had access to these documents as there is no record of who visited the former vice president over that period.
Occurrences of former high-level government officials doing wrong are not new.
Aaron Burr, vice president under President Thomas Jefferson from 1801 to 1805, and a man who came within a whisker of becoming president, also had troubles while out of office. Burr is better known as the man who entered into a duel with Alexander Hamilton, our first U.S. Treasury Secretary, and killed him. This is not a historical event the nation is proud of. Imagine, some people really do not take losing an election well.
Burr was arrested and tried for the murder of Hamilton while he was vice president. Later, after he left office, he was arrested for treason and a host of other related offenses. (Note: Former Vice President Spiro Agnew, under President Richard Nixon, was on the verge of being indicted as a sitting vice president, but hurriedly resigned his position before pleading guilty to a crime.)
Burr was acquitted on all his arrests, but went from considerable wealth to almost being impoverished.
We do not know if there were any classified documents involved but, at worse, Burr’s alleged crimes were a close cousin to such activities.
So, would former President Donald Trump and Biden’s classified document problems be the first stage of failure and indiscretions? Or is this revelation the end of the story? Only time will tell.
Let us remember, former FBI Director James Comey determined that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had been “sloppy” with her related national security issues – all good.
It must be stressed that Burr was acquitted of all his alleged offenses. It is possible that the charges were weak against him, or it is simply too hard to take politics out of the courtroom. Only a handful of loyal Burr supporters on the jury could carry the day.
The issue of double standards is truly on public display today.
Let us not forget Biden’s own words several months ago: “Can’t imagine how anyone could be so irresponsible.” This was in reference to Trump’s handling of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home.
We need to hear more from Biden since “silence is not golden.”
Inappropriately retaining a classified document is wrong regardless of the person involved and despite the vigor of the liberal media spin.
In all these instances if harm was done or people have enriched themselves due to their possession of these documents, it would be most unfortunate, yet difficult to uncover.
One thing is “crystal clear.” We need to devise a more efficient system to protect and secure our most sensitive information, top secret information, and classified documents better. This is most critical when high-level government officials, including a secretary of state, vice president or president, are about to leave office.
Once upon a time a president said, “Fool me once, shame on you.” But fool me twice…well, how about three times?” Shame on all of us if we allow this to happen again, a fourth time. We must fix this problem now.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Gary Franks served three terms as U.S. representative for Connecticut’s 5th District. He was the first Black Republican elected to the House in nearly 60 years and New England’s first Black member of the House. Host: podcast “We Speak Frankly.” Author: “With God, For God, and For Country.” @GaryFranks
©2023 Gary Franks. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.