(CNSNews.com) – Reps. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) and Jim Himes (D-Conn.), the chairman and ranking member of the House intelligence committee, said on Sunday they still don’t know what, if any, damage has been done to national security by the mishandling — or maybe the mistaken possession — of classified documents by Donald Trump, Joe Biden and even former Vice President Mike Pence.
“So we have a lot more work to do,” Himes, the ranking member, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd:
“Look, I think, as the leaders of the Intelligence Committee, our number one job is to make sure that the DNI, the FBI, whoever needs to do it, does everything they need to do to protect the sources and methods that might have been exposed were any of those documents to have been out in the wild.
“So there’s a lengthy process to figure out that. And — and I can’t speak for Mike, but I will tell you that, though we have been briefed, we’ve got a lot more to do to make sure that the government is doing what it should be doing.”
Turner, who joined Himes for the interview, said they do not know what specific documents Trump possessed:
“One of the things we know is that the FBI is not being forthcoming,” Turner said:
“They’re — they’re not giving us the information. They’re claiming that it’s going to affect the outcome of their investigation, which of course it can’t because the people who are the targets of their investigation know what’s — what are in those documents. And we have the clearance and the ability to look at these documents.
“We also know, from (Director of National Intelligence) Avril Haines, that she said that — that she was not consulted prior to the raid on — on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home — that, in fact, there — it was not a national security basis.
“So as we go through this process, as they give us the category of the documents and their assessment as to who had access to them, who did not have access to them, we’re beginning to build an understanding.
“But the thing that we know is that it’s unbelievable that administration after administration is apparently sloppy and messy in their use of classified documents. And that’s one thing, on a bipartisan basis, we have to address well beyond just this.
“This has to change, where classified documents are under a certain amount of control.”
Himes said although the lawmakers have been briefed, “let’s just say that neither one of us are satisfied that we got enough information to execute our primary responsibility of making sure that sources and methods have been protected. We’ve got more to learn before we can be satisfied on that.”
Himes didn’t know if the classification level of the Biden documents is different from that of the Trump documents:
“So right now you have no idea whether these were the highest level or the mid-level,” Todd interrupted.
“Well, we didn’t say no idea,” Himes replied. “Again, we can’t get too into the details. We got a flavor for what was there. And I won’t speak for Mike, but I will tell you, having been given a flavor, this is a very serious issue. This wasn’t stuff that we can say clearly does not matter. It matters.”
“In all three cases?” Todd asked. “Or you don’t know?”
“We don’t know yet,” Himes said.
Todd asked Turner if it’s fair to say that the intel community doesn’t trust Congress with secrets any more:
“I would say it’s more of a tension between the FBI and Congress than it is the intelligence community,” Turner said.
“And I think that’s going to come to a head over the next couple years. You’re seeing it in a number of areas where they’re just not — you know, they are not special; they don’t have greater privileges than the president does. And they’re continuing to act as if they have some privilege to be able to operate without congressional oversight.”
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