Within the last few months, we have been treated to what seemed at first to be a politically motivated attack on a former president over the status of classified documents that he had the authority–whether or not he had used it–to change the classification status of. One might be forgiven if one was not entirely cynical to think that it was not common for classified documents to end up in private hands and in one’s own dwelling. More recently, though, it has become clear that former vice presidents, who are subject to greater restrictions on classical documents because they lack the unilateral authority to determine what is and what is not classified, have gotten in the habit of keeping certain documents of personal interest for themselves contrary to the law, apparently with impunity. It is unclear when this habit of lax to nonexistent control of classical documents for high ranking politicians began, or what ought to be done about it.
If we look at the way that accidental disclosures of classified information has led to people getting sentenced for things like taking photos of the inside of a navy submarine, it is clear that the strict laws about mishandling or revealing classified documents have been a problem for some time. Yet while most of us obey such rules, often with a degree of longsuffering and patience that remind us that we may run into genuine people here than we saw what was s the cased about what sort of people commit crimes like that. If we had a government of laws a great many of those people who today have these documents and lots of boxes filled with classified papers would find themselves in hot water, regardless of the fact that they used to be vice presidents in two cases as I write this and at least one of them is our current president, despite the fact that he has some sort of problematic behavior.
Given that this behavior previously thought to be unique is not becoming increasingly common–at least to three of the last four presidents/vice presidents combined, with the high possibility that others may find themselves in possession of classified papers that they should not have–it is worthwhile that we determine some documentary hypotheses about how these cases are going to be handled. Is there a stomach on the part of our somewhat biased and corrupt legal system to send Democrats and Republicans to court in hearings that will force them to either defend themselves against criminal charges or cop out plea deals of some kind in such a way that would encourage us to believe that the criminal justice system is seeking an impartial and fair standard of justice? I am, admittedly, a bit too cynical to think that such a thing is taking place. And yet we are the point where something like that is necessary if this law is to be respected and regarded at all.