A recently-released inventory of items taken by the FBI during the raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate proves the bureau was there for more than classified documents.
Unsealed by South Florida Federal Judge Aileen M. Cannon on Friday, the documents reveal 47 empty “classified” folders, 14 items listed as “clothing or gift items,” more than 1,500 press articles, magazines, newspapers and other printed media, and clothing items are among the things seized from the estate.
An additional 11,000 documents and photos without any classification markings were also taken, making up the largest portion of materials.
This inventory comes on the same week as a photo of documents was released by the FBI, causing an uproar among Trump’s followers who believe it was staged to generate a reaction.
In the image which was a part of a court filing, there are documents strewn across the carpeted floor next to a box containing a copy of Time magazine along with other items. Media seized on the picture, crowing that it was proof that Trump indeed had made off with sensitive material that likely put national security at risk despite the appearance of it being clearly “intended for public consumption,” as Fox News host Sean Hannity put it.
The target of the unprecedented raid ordered up by the Biden administration against the top opposition candidate blasted the image, protesting that it made him look “like a slob” and that Attorney General Merrick Garland’s home invaders “took them out of cartons and spread them around on the carpet, making it look like a big ‘find’ for them,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.
(Image: Screengrab/Truth Social)
But that isn’t the case, at least according to the former FBI agents who disagreed with the notion that the picture was staged.
“Trump’s conclusion was that it was put out to show sloppiness but I don’t think there was any assertion of that,” 24-year FBI veteran Bobby Chacon told the Daily Mail. “It was a normal photograph that I would expect to be taken.”
Another ex-agent, Michael Tabman told the outlet that the image would have been “one of a string of photographs taken to document the investigation, showing where the items were found and the items themselves,” according to the outlet.
“We always take photos during a search – before we come in, what we find and what it looks like on the way out to avoid allegations that we destroyed anything,” Tabman said. “Since the critical element of the search was for sensitive documents, they laid it out to show the cover pages which are clearly marked as top-secret.”
He said that laying out the documents on the floor “would have been done so that they could be properly seen.”
“If you have cocaine sitting on a desk you can take a photograph of it,” the former agent said. “But if it is documents in a drawer or cabinet how are you realistically going to show them, other than to lay them down? There’s nothing unusual about that – as long as the FBI documented where it was found originally.”
“This clarifies the classified documents photo provided in the DOJ response which clearly indicates that the photo was a representation of all the classified documents found in the box represented on the right. Item 2A,” tweeted security expert David Gomez, a retired special agent with 27 years of experience.
This clarifies the classified documents photo provided in the DOJ response which clearly indicates that the photo was a representation of all the classified documents found in the box represented on the right. Item 2A. @robcrilly https://t.co/2EEMAmyLM8
— DCGomez (@AllThingsNatSec) September 2, 2022
The Mar-a-Lago evidence picture badly boomeranged on the feds and their media allies who catch a break with the long holiday weekend and it will likely be completely forgotten when next week’s news cycle kicks off.
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