WASHINGTON — Every administration since President Ronald Reagan has mishandled classified documents, according to National Archives and Records Administration officials who spoke before a closed-door congressional committee in March.
The House Intelligence Committee voted to release the transcription of his testimony Wednesday afternoon.
The problem of keeping classified documents extends beyond presidents and vice presidents, National Archives officials said. Mark Bradley, who heads the agency’s Information Security Oversight Office, said that since 2010, his office has received more than 80 calls from libraries that have found classified information in documents belonging to members of Congress.
When members of Congress turn in their documents to libraries after they retire, those documents are processed. Bradley said librarians call the Archives to alert them that classified information has been found, at which point agency officials are dispatched to retrieve the documents.
For example, Sen. Edmund Muskie, D-Maine, who left Congress in 1980 and was secretary of state in the last year of President Jimmy Carter’s administration, included 98 classified documents when his papers were turned over to Bates College.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner, R-Ohio, said in a statement that the «handling and mishandling of classified documents is a problem that extends beyond the Oval Office.» He called the problem «systemic.»
“We need a better way for elected officials leaving office, both in the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch, to properly return classified material and protect the integrity of our national security,” Turner added.
Classified documents have been found on the properties of President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.
William Bosanko, director of operations for the National Archives, told the committee that there is no «document-level tracking» at the White House, which presents problems. «So anyone’s ability to know that something has been misplaced or lost is very limited,» he said.