A federal law enforcement told the outlet of the presence of top-secret information within the 10 classified documents already known to have been recovered from Biden’s vice presidential office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C., but the report did not share details about their specific contents.
A source previously told CNN the classified documents found at Biden’s private academic office among other unclassified papers contained U.S. intelligence memos and briefing materials on Iran, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. Biden used office while working as an honorary professor for the University of Pennsylvania from 2017 to 2019, when he was not the vice president and before he was elected president.
There are three security classification categories used by the United States: confidential, secret, and top secret. The unauthorized disclosure of top-secret material could cause “exceptionally grave damage to the national security,” according to Cornell Law School.
CBS News has learned that the classified documents recovered from the Penn Biden Center and President Biden’s Delaware home number roughly 20 and include materials marked “Top Secret.” Meanwhile, the White House continues to struggle to answer any questions. pic.twitter.com/4F9DgFYhhp
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) January 13, 2023
Biden’s handling of documents is under investigation by the Justice Department. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday he appointed former U.S. Attorney Robert Hur as special counsel to take over the inquiry started by U.S. Attorney John Lausch. House Republicans also began investigations into the growing scandal.
Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, said Biden’s personal attorneys were clearing out the office when they discovered the first tranche of documents on November 2, days before the midterm elections, and immediately notified the National Archives. The existence of the records were not known publicly until this week when media reports revealed the existence of a DOJ review.
Since that revelation, the White House said lawyers for the president found a second batch of classified documents dating back to Biden’s time as vice president at his home in Wilmington, Delaware. On Saturday, the White House announced more classified documents were discovered at the residence than previously known.
Sauber said one document was found in a room adjacent to the garage on Wednesday, but lawyers stopped their search because they lacked security clearances. Sauber said he has the proper clearance and arrived at the home on Thursday to continue the search. “While I was transferring it to the DOJ officials who accompanied me, five additional pages with classification markings were discovered among the material with it, for a total of six pages,” Sauber said. “The DOJ officials with me immediately took possession of them.”
Statement from White House Counsel's Office clarifying a prior statement, releasing additional information about the process, and stressing ongoing direct cooperation with DOJ and the Special Counsel: pic.twitter.com/OUffIVZ82H
— Ian Sams (@IanSams46) January 14, 2023
Biden’s personal attorney, Bob Bauer, shared a timeline of events in a separate statement released Saturday.
A more complete timeline of Biden documents — when and where they were discovered, and what was done with them — as just provided by the president’s personal attorney, Bob Bauer. pic.twitter.com/5U9GLd2vQe
— Matt Viser (@mviser) January 14, 2023
Biden earlier told reporters he was “surprised” to learn about the classified documents discovery, and claimed he did not know what was in the records. “People know I take classified documents or classified information seriously,” Biden claimed.
Sauber says the White House is “fully cooperating” with the National Archives and the Justice Department.