In the latest testament to the Trump administration’s slipshod treatment of sensitive records, former Homeland Security adviser Olivia Troye revealed that she once found a classified document left in a women’s bathroom in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where most White House offices are housed.
Troye told MSNBC in an interview Sunday that she felt “panic” when she discovered the material on a bathroom shelf in the building next to the White House.
“There is sort of a blood pressure rise in you where you pick it up and you’re like, ‘Oh, what do I do with this? I have a responsibility to protect it,’” said Troye, who served as homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to Vice President Mike Pence.
She said she quickly turned the information over to security.
“I covered it up; I put it in a folder. It wasn’t marked properly,” she said in an earlier MSNBC interview. “I was not expecting to walk into the ladies’ room and find a document like that.”
Despite her surprise, Troye said that the mishandling of sensitive documents was a “known thing” in the White House.
Typically, only officials who have security clearance view and handle classified materials — and take measures to safeguard them, Troye said, but that didn’t always happen during Donald Trump’s term.
“It was a known thing [that] people would carry documents around, especially political appointees,” she said.
“Traditionally, you would put it in a pouch, and you would secure it, and you would lock the pouch and then carry it,” Troye explained. “That’s not what was the norm in the White House” during the Trump administration.
“For those of us” with security clearances, you “have a responsibility to protect the information,” Troye emphasized. “That means you don’t carry it home and store it for whatever number of months in an unclassified facility,” she added, apparently referring to the documents retrieved from Trump’s Florida home.
“The bottom line is that [this] information should be stored properly and secured because it could put lives at risk if that information gets into the wrong hands,” she added.
After a search last week of Mar-a-Lago, FBI agents removed about 20 boxes of material, including 11 sets of classified information that had been transported there from the White House.
Some of the classified information seized was top secret, which is supposed to be safeguarded in a secure government facility. Some documents allegedly involved nuclear weapons, which was a key reason for the urgent search, The Washington Post reported.
Because of the documents, Trump is now under investigation for a possible violation of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice, and removing and destroying official documents.