If you have not been paying attention to the news, Biden “lost” at least 10 sets of documents stored in three different locations when he left the White House as Vice President of the United States.  These are not just any documents.  They are “classified” / “top secret” types of documents.  It would be the equivalent of you or I losing our Birth Certificate, Social Security Card, Driver’s License, or the password to your Everygame casino login account where you won 1 million dollars.

Even if you did “lose it” (left in the old house, dropped under a box in the new house, or ended up in the washing machine), a “normal person” would figure out the documents were missing within a couple of days at most, maybe a month, but certainly not 6 years later.

Who takes 6 years to figure out that they “lost” their most important documents?

History of the missing classified documents …

You can say this story began with Trump in January 2022, when classified documents were reported to the national archives that were missing.  Trump handed over a bunch of documents.  For the rest, he was to put a lock on the closet where they were stored, which Trump did.  But on September 2, 2022, the FBI raided Trump’s home (which is also his official post-President office, which all US presidents have) looking for classified documents.  In Trump’s closet (attached to his official office within his home), some classified documents were found with some personal items.

The Democrats made a big deal out of it and said that Trump was careless and that he should go to jail and he should be denied the option to run for President in 2024.  Nothing came of it.  Mostly due to.

On November 2, 2022, several days before the mid-term elections … Biden had the same problem.

First, classified documents were found at Biden’s office at Penn Center.  But the public was not told about this until January 2023.

If that was not bad enough, more classified documents were found in Biden’s garage, and in Biden’s house.

How did the documents get there …

This is my personal opinion …

I think that for both Trump and Biden, “it was a mistake”.  Considering that the President of the United States and the Vice President of the United States and all of the staff have to move out, and new people have to move in within a very short period of time …we are talking 4 to 8-hour period of time … it can be expected that “something will go wrong”.

Mistakes are going to happen.

But one would think that after 250 years of doing this, the government would have gotten its act together.  There would be procedures in place.  Think about it.  The NSA has scenario planning for everything … including things like “Canada invading the United States”.  Nobody, at this time in United States history, would ever think that Canada would try to invade the United States, but since physically it could happen (they are a direct neighbor of course), there is a contingency plan for it.

So one would think, that after 45 changes of Presidents, plus (most likely) 1250 changes of state governors (taking a lowball estimated guess, 25 governors, 50 states) … one would think that the NSA has gotten all of the “kinks” out of the whole “changing of the guard”, especially when dealing with classified top secret documents.

Once keep an eye on things.  Twice there is a pattern.  Three times

For most things in life, I tend to follow the three-strike rule.  Once, I keep an eye on a situation.  Twice, there starts to be a pattern.  When it hits three times, we have a major problem on our hands.

When we are talking about top secret classified President of the United States / Vice President of the United States documents, we shouldn’t wait three times before admitting there is a major problem that needs to be fixed.

Search Obama’s, Clinton’s, Bush’s, and Carter’s offices and residences

If Biden had stuff he should not have had, and Trump had stuff he should not have had, and we go with the assumption that it was a moving day screw-up (which is my view for both people), then it is safe to assume that the same screw-ups happened when Obama, Clinton, Bush, and Carter left office.  To think otherwise is naive … or else you believe that both Biden and Trump committed treason … which I do not think is the case.

If I was running “the show”, that is what I would do, and I would not worry about “public appearances”.

Will Obama, Clinton, Bush, and Carter balk at having their offices and homes checked for classified documents?  Most likely yes.

But again, I am working on the assumption that for both Biden and Trump, it was a “moving mistake”. And if a moving mistake can happen with their administrations, then it can happen with any administration (both the President and the VP). To not approach the situation from that perspective is to say that both Biden and Trump did something that no other President or VP has ever done in the history of the United States (which I do not believe is true).

How to prevent a repeat (secure drop boxes)

Personally, I like to keep my “most important documents” inside a box that does not look like any other “regular box”. I want to be able to look at that box and know “that box is different than all other boxes”. It is special. It is unique. It is important. Do not lose. Do not forget it.

When you are talking on a personal level, you need a personal level box.

  • SentrySafe Fireproof and Waterproof Safe Box with Key Lock, Fire and Water Chest Safe for Valuables, 0.28 Cubic Feet, 6.6 x 15.4 x 14.3 Inches, CHW20221 (small for small stuff like birth certificates, passports, keys, credit cards, id cards, etc.)
  • SentrySafe Fireproof Safe Box with Key Lock, Safe for Files and Documents, 0.61 Cubic Feet, 13.6 x 15.3 x 12.1 inches, 1170 (large enough to hold papers, including hanging file folders).

Each costs $67, and most likely that is around an hour of your salary (or at least half an hour).  For just “your family”, the smaller one is probably enough. For a “home office”, definitely invest in the larger one as well. If you lose those “important stuff”, how many hours is it going to take you to replace them? It will definitely be more than 2 hours of your time.

Oh, and don’t forget to make a backup of any computer data either online or in an external form and also place that into the “safe box”. Computers are fragile, and there is always the risk they can get damaged during the move.

But what about when we are talking about a medium to large size business, let alone the President of the United States and Vice President of the United States?

For a business …

  • Amazon Basics Steel Security Safe and Lock Box with Electronic Keypad – Secure Cash, Jewelry, ID Documents – 0.5 Cubic Feet, 13.8 x 9.8 x 9.8 Inches ($121 – $143, depending on the size)

But when you are talking about “top secret” / “classified” government, “need to know” stuff, even that might not be “good enough”.

Then you need to look at other options …

Biden’s team is saying that since Biden insisted on working until the very last day, including top secret meetings, that classified documents kept coming in until the very end.  At the end of the move, things just got shoved into boxes. I am assuming that Biden is telling the truth with that statement, and the same thing most likely happened with Trump’s move.

The only way to prevent that from happening again would be for each President to give them something like the Security Business Safe that has a dropbox (so people can put things into the safe without their getting access to other stuff. Everything else goes, and the safe for top secret documents stays (National Archives takes it over).

Would this simple $289 investment be enough?  Probably, but most likely once this route is taken, something that tells the President (and the National Archives) that something was put in and/or taken out would make sense. Not to mention a GPS tracker to make sure nobody tries to move the whole safe. But you get the idea.

There are simple solutions that can be purchased through Amazon, but the government on both sides would have to admit there is a problem first. And that would also mean dropping charges and investigations into both Biden and Trump since the real problem is the moving procedures and not the individual people.