SEPTEMBER 13, 2022
Former President Donald Trump and his allies have claimed multiple times that there was a kind of “declassification order” on many of the documents that he took from the White House back to his country club in Florida.
In an interview with the Fox network, Trump said that while he was in office he “often took documents, including classified documents, to the residence” and “had a standing order that documents removed from the Oval Office and taken to the residence were deemed to be declassified the moment he removed them.”
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton said that while he was there there was nothing of the sort going on, and that the idea of a standing declassification order is “almost certainly a lie.”
ACLU lawyer Matthew Segal noted last week that colleagues sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the National Geospatial-intelligence agency requesting any documents pertaining to an “alleged declassification standing order, any written transmittal of the alleged declassification stand order from the executive office of the president of the United States to NGA, including by letter, memoranda, or email, all records created by NGA that were declassified pursuant to the alleged declassification standing order” up until Jan. 20, 2021.
The same request was also sent to the Department of Homeland Security. Both came back with the same answer.
On Sept. 8, Segal cited the letter from the NGA saying “Our extensive search of National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency records failed to identify any documents in our files that are responsive to your request.”
Monday, the Department of Homeland Security returned the information explaining, “We conducted a comprehensive search of files within The Office of the Executive Secretary (ESEC) and the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) for records that would be responsive to your request. Unfortunately, we were unable to locate or identify and responsive records.”