The possible ramifications of the actions detailed in the Trump indictment might have sent chills down the spines of people who didn’t realize just how bad things were when a Trump DHS Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism told ABC, “This causes people to die.”
“This causes people to die. This is very serious top secret, special access program when they fall into the wrong hands, people die. The United States’ security is deeply compromised,” former Trump U.S. Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Elizabeth Neumann told ABC This Week about the Trump indictment.
Former Trump DHS Asst. Sec. for counterterrorism Elizabeth Neumann Trump indictment, “This causes people to die. This is very serious top secret, special access program when they fall into the wrong hands, people die. The United States’ security is deeply compromised.” pic.twitter.com/Avjv3HYINI
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) June 11, 2023
Transcript from ABC (my bold):
STEPHANOPOULOS: Elizabeth, the president’s treatment — former president’s treatment of the (ph) classified documents is something you’re familiar with inside the Trump administration.
ELIZABETH NEUMANN, FORMER DHS ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR COUNTERTERRORISM AND ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, that’s right. I found the indictment to be a really vivid picture for the American public of what the National Security Community dealt with for four years when he was president.
He had a blatant disregard, just did not care to follow the rules. And not only did he not protect our country’s most sensitive secrets, that’s not protecting American lives, because you have military and Intelligence Community personnel that are now put at risk. You have assets, our foreign allies’ information is put at risk. So, all of these things are leading to if, if, any of those documents have been accessed by —
SNOW: How possible would it be down at Mar-a-Lago?
NEUMANN: Well, there were — the indictment has 10,000 people that went through — tens of thousands, I think it actually said, that went through it at various times where the boxes were easily accessible. And if you’re a foreign intelligence agency, you know that Mar-a-Lago is a great target and you’re probably trying to figure out what might be there.
So, we don’t know and — or hopefully, the investigation and there are things not in the public domain, hopefully, we’re finding out what might have been leaked. But this causes people to die. Like this is very serious top secrets, special access programs. When they fall into the wrong hands, people die and the United States security is deeply compromised.
Neumann is sadly not exaggerating the threat. “The United States’ (U.S.) trove of top-secret intelligence is among the country’s most protected information. If this information falls into the wrong hands, it threatens national security and compromises the safety of the many spies and foreign citizens involved in gathering, protecting, and disseminating information. These consequences can be life-or-death, and the stakes are particularly high for foreign citizens who serve as U.S.
government informants,” the Cornell Policy Report explained.
We covered the possible threat to our military the day the indictment was unsealed.
We don’t know — and the intelligence community is not going to tell us, and more to the point, our enemies — exactly how precarious our current situation is, but it’s worth noting that in 2017, while president, Trump “revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador” which current and former U.S. officials said “jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.”
So this isn’t new behavior by Trump, and as Neumann mentioned on Sunday, our intelligence community knew he was a threat to our security as it as it was happening.
It was bad back then. In 2017, the U.S. undertook a secret mission to extract a highly placed in the Russian government spy from Russia. CNN reported in a 2019 exclusive that the move was driven in part by concerns over Trump and his administration “repeatedly” mishandling of classified information, “A person directly involved in the discussions said that the removal of the Russian was driven, in part, by concerns that President Donald Trump and his administration repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy.”
In 2021, the New York Times reported, “Top American counterintelligence officials warned every C.I.A. station and base around the world last week about troubling numbers of informants recruited from other countries to spy for the United States being captured or killed… In recent years, adversarial intelligence services in countries such as Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan have been hunting down the C.I.A.’s sources and in some cases turning them into double agents.”
It’s not clear that the unusual spy deaths are related to Trump’s mishandling of classified documents as other factors were mentioned in that article (but they also wouldn’t want it to be made public if it were related), but this is the level of deadly threat the former president poses to the United States, according to his own former DHS Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism.
The indictment doesn’t indicate that the government is sure it recovered all of the classified information Trump took, either. It shouldn’t be lost in the shuffle that Neumann mentioned they dealt with this level of disregard for national security the entire four years of Trump’s presidency. This is the behavior the majority of elected Republicans are not only justifying and excusing, but denying it even happened, in what might be seen as potentially refusing to do their duty to protect the United States against all threats, foreign and domestic.
Neumann can’t be disregarded as an opponent, either, as not only did she serve under Trump but she served on the Homeland Security Council staff in the George W. Bush administration.
The United States is in danger right now due to willful disregard by Donald Trump, a man who also incited a domestic terrorist attack upon his own country in an attempt to stay in power after he lost an election, demonstrating that the threat he poses to the U.S. after losing the election is likely to be even higher than when he was in office.
Trump denies all responsibility for his own behavior and says he is innocent of all charges.
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Sarah has been credentialed to cover President Barack Obama, then VP Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and exclusively interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times and exclusively covered her first home appearance after the first impeachment of then President Donald Trump.
Sarah is two-time Telly award winning video producer and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.