By Serin Sarsour
Six classified documents and other materials were found and taken from President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware after a 13-hour search was conducted by Justice Department investigators on Jan. 20. It was revealed that some of the documents found were classified, dating back to his time as senator and vice president. Some Brooklyn College students are not shocked by the news.
“I think it’s not a surprise. So often so many vice presidents and presidents get caught in something,” said a BC junior Destiny Mateo.
Former Vice President Mike Pence was also found with classified material in his home after he was searched in the wake of the news of Biden’s possession of classified documents. Although Pence repeatedly denied having knowledge of classified documents being in his home, his attorneys found about a dozen documents in his private residence with the FBI doing a thorough review of how the documents ended up there.
“I think that is alarming to me as classified documents should be in professional settings so the public can trust that the documents are safe and in the right hands,” said a BC junior who wanted to remain anonymous. “I think that they are holding high powered positions and need to be held accountable if they are taking advantage of their power.”
Since Trump’s departure from office in January 2021, about 300 documents with classification markings have been recovered, some of which were top secret, as reported by AP News. As of press time, the Justice Department has also searched the home of former President Donald Trump, who refused to return classified documents before the FBI executed a search warrant on Aug. 8 at his home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida.
Although many do not believe that officials and people in office have the right to take hold of classified documents, other BC students do not see a problem with it.
“Trump was the president of the US. He can keep any kind of documents with him. He had the right to do whatever he wanted with them when was president,” said Saad Ahmad, a BC senior.
According to NPR, Biden shared that he has “no regrets” about the way he has handled the discovery and search of the documents in his home and offices.
Ahmad believes that Biden should receive the same treatment that Trump received when he was found with classified documents. “Biden is not above law; he and his Democratic Party exaggerated the classified documents found at Trump’s home, but when similar documents were found at his house in Delaware, he was not even apologetic for all his previous statements. He needs to be held accountable for mishandling this situation,” he opined.
The National Archives and Records Administration has asked former presidents and vice presidents to look for any classified documents they should not have. Although Ahmad believes it should be up to the elected officials to choose to return the documents or not, he, Mateo, and the anonymous BC student are all in agreement that this is not an effective way to have more classified documents returned.
“I doubt anyone would willingly come clean if they held off for this long,” said the anonymous BC student.
The student added that they feel as though those in possession of classified documents should face consequences for not upholding that they work for the well-being of all Americans. On the other hand, Mateo believes that all Americans should find out what is inside of the documents and how it could affect others before deciding to punish them.
“There are boundaries people shouldn’t be able to cross, including those in high positions,” Mateo said.