President Joe Biden’s aides have discovered at least one more batch of classified documents from his time as vice president, separate from the materials found in November that were revealed for the first time on Tuesday, an anonymous source told NBC News.
Since the initial discovery in November, Biden’s aides have been searching for any additional classified material at other locations he used, the source said. It isn’t clear from NBC’s report when or where the second batch of classified documents was found, or what information they contained.
NBC’s source reportedly described the search as exhaustive, saying the goal is to find anything that may have been improperly packed into boxes when Biden vacated his vice presidential office in January 2017.
In his first remarks on the disclosure of the November discovery, Biden said he was “surprised” to learn of it, NBC News reported. The handling of the documents is now the subject of an ongoing Justice Department investigation.
“People know I take classified documents and classified information seriously,” Biden said at a news conference in Mexico City. “I was briefed about this discovery and surprised to learn that there were any government records that were taken there to that office. But I don’t know what’s in the documents. My lawyers have not suggested I ask what they were.”
In a statement on Tuesday, White House lawyer Richard Sauber said aides had found “a small number of documents” in a “locked closet” while packing up the office and immediately turned them over to the National Archives.
The Archives determined the classified documents were at Biden’s office by mistake due to a lack of safeguards, an anonymous source told CNN. Still, the Archives referred the matter to the Justice Department, another anonymous source said.
Included among the materials were top-secret files designated as “sensitive compartmented information,” a label used for highly sensitive information provided by intelligence sources, according to CNN.
The office was located at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, D.C., a think tank named for Biden that was established in 2018. Biden “periodically used this space from mid-2017 until the start of the 2020 campaign,” according to Sauber.
Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith recently took over the investigation into hundreds of classified documents from former President Donald Trump’s term that he kept at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
The high-profile FBI raid to recover the documents set off a partisan controversy ahead of Trump launching his third presidential campaign. As president, Trump had the power to declassify any document, whereas Biden as vice president did not.
This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.