WASHINGTON — Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said her office will conduct a damage assessment of the documents removed from the home of former President Donald Trump Mar-a-Lago in a letter to congressional lawmakers obtained by NBC News Saturday.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, or DNI, which oversees the CIA, the National Security Agency and 16 other agencies, will “lead an intelligence community assessment of the potential risk to national security that would arise from the disclosure of the relevant documents,” director Avril Haines wrote in Friday’s letter.
The DNI and the Department of Justice “are working together to facilitate a classification review of relevant materials, including those recovered during the search,” Haines added, and both teams will work closely to ensure the review DOJ’s ongoing criminal investigation.
The letter, first reported by Politicswas addressed to House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., both of whom had requested a security damage assessment, days after the FBI searched Trump’s Florida club on Aug. 8. The Senate Intelligence Committee has also requested a damage assessment and further details on the contents of the documents, but has not yet received them.
“I suspect the Biden administration is being super careful at this point in not appearing involved outside of the independent FBI and Justice Department,” a former senior intelligence official told NBC News earlier this month.
A redacted copy of the FBI affidavit used to justify the search, which was unsealed Friday, said agents conducted a preliminary assessment in mid-May of the contents of 15 boxes of documents that Trump seized from his property in January. Florida to the National Archives. and “identified documents with classification marks in fourteen of the FIFTEEN BOXES.”
Agents found 184 unique documents with classification markings, the affidavit said, with 25 documents marked “TOP SECRET”, 67 documents marked “confidential” and 92 “secret”.
Agents removed 11 additional sets of classified documents during the search in Mar-a-Lago, including some labeled classified and top secret, according to the property receipt of items that were recovered. There were also documents described as ‘SCI’ documents, which stands for highly classified ‘sensitive compartmentalized information’.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart approved the order allowing federal agents to search Trump’s Florida property after finding that the affidavit provided probable cause. He ruled Thursday that the document could be unsealed after the DOJ submitted proposed redactions.
In a joint statement Saturday, Maloney and Schiff said: “We are pleased that Director Haines has confirmed in response to our investigation that the intelligence community and the Department of Justice are assessing the damage caused by the improper storage of classified documents at Mar-a. -Lago.”
The redacted affidavit, they said, “confirms our grave concern that among the documents stored at Mar-a-Lago were documents that could endanger human resources. It is critical that the [intel community] act quickly to assess and, if necessary, mitigate the damage done – a process that should run in parallel with the DOJ’s criminal investigation.”
Trump has denied any allegation.
Ken Dilanian contributed.