Trump Now Faces New Peril From an Archaic Practice — Hoarding Paper Records

From a story on axios.com headlined “Why Trump docs are on literal paper”:

The FBI’s seizure of 11 sets of classified documents — paper, in boxes! — made us wonder why, in the cloud era of digital everything, the U.S. government still relies so heavily on physical stuff.

The answer: The classified bureaucracy remains paper-heavy because of the security vulnerabilities of standard commercial devices, Axios national security reporter Zachary Basu writes.

  • Classified databases and email accounts that meet the federal government’s cybersecurity requirements exist, of course. But they generally require sitting at a terminal and viewing the information on a screen. Paper can be a lot easier in a meeting.
  • The President’s Daily Brief — a comprehensive and highly classified written summary of U.S. intelligence — was printed out onto physical paper every day until 2012, when it began to be administered via iPads that former President Obama and his inner circle could swipe through in the Oval Office.

That changed with former President Trump, a technophobe with a short attention span who preferred to be briefed orally on a select few issues.

  • “On most days, Trump’s PDB comprised three one-page items describing new developments abroad, plus brief updates of ongoing crises in the Middle East,” according to an account published by the CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence.

Former national security adviser John Bolton told CBS News: “Often the president would say [to intelligence briefers], ‘Well, can I keep this?'”

  • “And in my experience, the intelligence briefers most often would say: ‘Well, sir, we’d prefer to take that back.’ But sometimes they forgot.”
  • Former acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney corroborated that: “From time to time, the president would say, ‘Can I keep this?'”

The bottom line: Trump, who has survived a historic level of legal scrutiny over the past six years, now faces new peril from an archaic practice — hoarding paper records.

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