Former President Donald Trump may have wanted to hold onto top-secret documents about a foreign power due to the exorbitant price that nation — or its adversaries — may pay for such intelligence, according to a former FBI official.
The MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle questioned Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI assistant director, on Wednesday about why Trump would have wanted to preserve top-secret records regarding a foreign country’s nuclear program at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. On Tuesday, The Washington Post claimed that Trump had these papers in his possession.
Figliuzzi responded that these records would be valuable assets due to their high cost. “If I were to be asked what the highest price tag or highest value might be on what kind of classified US government information, certainly among the top of my answers would be: nuclear-related information,” he said.
He added that such information had “potentially the greatest value” if one were to try to “market it and capitalize” on having such files.
“Well, first, a country would give its right arm to learn what the US knew about its nuclear program and capabilities, not only for the obvious reason of, ‘Hey, they figured this out,’ but also because it would signal what we don’t know about their program,” Figliuzzi said.
“Secondly, let’s move to that country’s adversary. They would give their left and right arms to find out what their adversary is doing in terms of nuclear capability,” he added.
Figliuzzi mentioned that the data were at Mar-a-Lago, which he claimed had “some of the lowest security you can imagine,” with foreign people “traipsing in and out,” in addition to the importance of the information.
Requests for a response from a representative in Trump’s post-presidential office were not immediately fulfilled.
As per Yahoo, Figliuzzi is not the first FBI agent to think that foreigners might have attempted to enter Mar-a-Lago.
Having a tumultuous past with Trump, former FBI agent Peter Strzok claimed in August that “any competent foreign intelligence service” would have attempted to gain access to the former president’s Florida home. Russia, China, Iran, and Cuba were mentioned by Strzok as possible origins for the spies. Figliuzzi is also not alone in speculating that Trump may have tried to sell such classified data.
In August, Charles Leerhsen — an author who ghostwrote one of Trump’s books — said the former president may have taken White House documents to sell as presidential memorabilia. Separately, Fox News host Eric Shawn asked during a broadcast whether Trump had tried to “sell or share” these top-secret files “to the Russians” or to “the Saudis.”
Agents from the FBI seized 11 sets of classified documents, some of which were designated “top secret,” during the raid on Mar-a-Lago last month. Nuclear weapons may have been mentioned in some of the texts, The Washington Post reported.
The Justice Department is looking into whether Trump violated any of three federal crimes, including the Espionage Act, by storing the records at his Florida home, according to the search warrant. Trump rejected the notion that he had any nuclear documents in his hands last month.