Greg Burton, a veteran reporter in the west, wrote a detailed account of a skirmish he and a photographer had with the White House Secret Service. It all happened because Joe Biden (then Vice President) had left classified documents around the West Wing.
Burton reported in the Arizona Republic that he had visited the White House to speak to Biden about the financial crisis. A secret document was displayed on a table.
“The red warning on the cover caught my attention but my eyes drifted to the then-vice president’s keepsakes, a leather binder, and photos of Jill, Beau, Hunter, Ashley, and Champ,” recalls Burton. He reflects that the document might have contained anything from “launch codes” to “spy games and terrorism cells,” for all he knows.
Burton was one of many photographers and reporters allowed to interview Biden on that day in his office. Jay Carney was also there.
Biden talked about the Troubled Asset Relief Program and took photos.
As we neared the exit, notebooks full of Bidenisms, Carney rushed up. Guys with earpieces appeared. A Panasonic recorder in my hand clicked on.
Carney had seen the document on the table, and he knew we had seen it too.
[Carney] valued press freedom.
But [photographer] Fred might have been walking out with photos of classified information. Top secret documents must be handled under strict protocols, stored, and viewed only in secure rooms. Someone screwed up.
Hm, who could it have been? Who in that room had top-secret clearance?
Carney demanded Fred’s camera.
We said no.
A compromise was reached shortly after. Fred had to remove the offensive images. However, I would not publish the recordings.
The classified document Joe kept on his desk that morning?
Wilmington could be the place.
Joe Biden’s ineptness when it comes to handling classified material is not new.