Binder Of Classified Russia-Related Intelligence Vanished At End Of Trump Presidency: Reports

The binder reportedly included extremely sensitive details on human sources, among other information.

A binder of highly classified information relating to Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election disappeared at the very end of Donald Trump’s presidency in 2021, according to reports Friday by CNN and The New York Times.

The binder reportedly featured raw intelligence gathered by the U.S. and NATO allies, including some extremely sensitive details on sources — including human sources — and methods of gathering the information.

Both outlets reported that the matter had so alarmed national security officials that they briefed the Senate Intelligence Committee about efforts to retrieve the material last year.

The outlets also said that the binder had not turned up in a search for classified material at a Trump property — the same FBI search that formed the basis of one of the federal criminal cases against him.

CNN reported that information contained in the binder was supposed to be accessed inside a safe at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

As president, Trump had demanded to receive documents emerging from the government investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, which was believed to have helped Trump’s campaign. Trump had become “obsessed” with the Russia investigation, The New York Times wrote, and he aimed to declassify whatever related documents he could.

Aides reportedly brought classified material to the White House for review and redaction. Copies of redacted versions of the binder’s contents were reportedly made; the original, unredacted version of the binder is what went missing.

Mark Meadows, who was the White House chief of staff at the time, assisted in this effort, writing about it in his 2021 memoir, “The Chief’s Chief.” His former aide Cassidy Hutchinson has said that she saw Meadows leave the White House with the unredacted binder tucked under his arm.

The New York Times reported that Trump and an aide also made reference to Meadows’ alleged possession of the unredacted binder in an interview for a book about the Trump presidency.

An attorney for Meadows strongly denied in statements to both outlets that he mishandled any classified information.

The missing material had been dubbed the “Crossfire Hurricane” binder, after the FBI’s name for its Russia investigation.

Both The New York Times and CNN said that much of the information contained in the binder is not considered particularly sensitive, but that the presence of raw intelligence was cause for alarm.

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