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Opinion: Trump’s handling of classified material is concerning
Mar-a-Lago
An aerial view of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., on Aug. 31, 2022.(AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Some 62 years ago (plus or minus a few) I was an Airman 3rd Class helping to protect this country from possible attack by Russian bombers flying over the North Pole, across the Canadian wilderness, and into norther Michigan to destroy American’s industrial might. To help me perform this task, the U.S. Air Force taught me maintenance procedures on a ground to air missile. 

As part of my training, I had to use classified documents that had secret information about the missile system. These documents had such things as radio frequencies and missile performance. This was information that, if divulged, would allow the Russians to evade or destroy the missiles. This information was not kept in my footlocker, nor in a mayonnaise jar on my barracks desk. 

It was kept in a locked safe in an office at the Air Force base, with armed guards and well-established procedures, controlling who could gain access to this information, based on their need to know. 

So I am astounded that our former (and I hope and pray never to be again) president had classified documents in his vacation home with only the security of a storage closet (if that). Were there procedures to control access? (Nothing in the press indicates that such existed). Was access limited to only those with a need to know? (Again, no indication that access was limited). Even worse are his efforts to prevent the Department of Justice from getting to these documents. 

It is no surprise that the Republican chorus is quick to criticize the FBI for entering the vacation home to seize these documents. If anything, I would criticize the FBI for being so slow to make the search. Perhaps they were slowed down by the Federalist judges that were appointed by our previous president. Others that can earn some criticism are the members of the Secret Service that helped in the document transfer. 

For those readers that think the former president needs to be back in the White House in 2024, let me ask:  Would you trust this man to protect the United States’ classified information?

I certainly would not.

Howard A. Stacy

Gainesville