WASHINGTON – Federal officials are saying little so far about Monday’s FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, but Mr. Trump and one of his sons have said the operation is part of an investigation into Mr. Trump’s removal of official documents from the White House.
While such a search of a former US president’s residence is unprecedented, investigations into the illegal removal or retention of classified information are more common.
Other individuals who have been prosecuted and who have pleaded guilty or been convicted include Department of Defense employees, defense contractors, and employees or contractors of the FBI, CIA, and National Security Agency.
Below is a list of some well-known cases:
April 2005 – Former national security adviser Sandy Berger was found guilty of knowingly removing classified documents from the National Archives and Records Administration. Mr Berger admitted to hiding and removing five copies of a classified document from the Archives in September and October 2003.
Mr. Berger also admitted to concealing and removing handwritten notes in violation of Archives policy. In September 2005, Mr. Berger was ordered to pay a fine of $50,000 and to have no security clearance for three years.
Mars 2013 – Retired Lt. Col. Benjamin Pierce Bishop was arrested in Hawaii and charged with illegal possession of documents related to national defense and knowingly communicating national defense information to a person who was not entitled to receive such information. Court documents alleged that Mr Bishop, who worked for a defense contractor, had 12 documents containing classified information at his residence. The documents further allege that Mr. Bishop knowingly communicated that information to a 27-year-old Chinese woman with whom he was having an affair.
Mr. Bishop was found guilty in March 2014. He was sentenced to more than seven years in prison and three years of supervised release.
Mars 2015 – Retired US Army General David Petraeus, former CIA director, pleaded guilty to charges of unauthorized removal and possession of classified material. The charge followed revelations that Mr Petraeus shared some of the material with his biographer and girlfriend.
Mr. Petraeus was sentenced to two years’ probation and a $100,000 fine.
July 2015 – US Navy Reservist Bryan Nishimura was sentenced to two years of probation and a $7,500 fine after pleading guilty to downloading and storing classified documents from his 2007-2008 deployment to Afghanistan on his personal devices . A search of his home in May 2012 turned up numerous classified materials, both in digital and hard copy formats.
August 2016 — Former National Security Agency contractor Harold Martin was arrested for what federal prosecutors described as a theft of top-secret government information that was “taken on a large scale and over many years.”
According to a statement from the Department of Justice, Mr. Martin was indicted in February 2017 on charges of theft and possession of classified documents and other materials. The department further alleged that Mr. Martin “stole and kept” top secret documents over a 20-year period, keeping them in his home and in his vehicle.
According to the indictment, the documents stolen and kept by Mr. Martin contained National Security Agency planning information and information on intelligence gathering objectives. Other documents, from the US Cyber Command, contained information on US military capabilities, some for use in specific operations, and documents on gaps in US cyber capabilities.
Harold Martin was found guilty of knowingly withholding national defense information in March 2019. In July 2019, Mr. Martin was sentenced to nine years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
January 2017 – Former defense contractor and Marine Weldon Marshall was arrested for illegally possessing classified information stored on compact discs and computer drives he kept at his home in Texas. The information included classified documents from his time with the US Navy and his time as a defense contractor in Afghanistan.
Mr. Marshall was found guilty in March 2018. He was sentenced in June 2018 to more than three years in prison, followed by one year of supervised release.
January 2018 – Former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee, also known as Zhen Cheng Li, was arrested on charges of illegally storing national defense information. Prosecutors alleged that Lee, while staying at hotels in Hawaii and Virginia, had in his possession two small books containing handwritten notes that included the real names and phone numbers of undercover CIA agents and operatives, operational notes from agent meetings, locations of operational meetings and locations of covert facilities.
Mr. Lee was indicted in May 2018 on two counts of illegally possessing documents related to national defense, as well as one count of conspiring to provide national defense information to a foreign government.
Lee pleaded guilty and was sentenced in November 2019 to 19 years in prison for conspiring to communicate, distribute and transmit national defense information to China.
Maj 2018 – Former CIA contractor Reynaldo Regis was found guilty on charges of unauthorized removal and possession of classified material, as well as making false statements to federal law enforcement officers. Prosecutors said that during his time at the CIA, Mr. Reyes conducted unauthorized searches of classified databases and copied information into dozens of notebooks, which he then took home.
In November 2018, Reyes was sentenced to 90 days in jail. His lawyer later told The Associated Press and other media outlets that his client “had no intent. It was just a mistake.”
August 2019 – Former National Security Agency (NSA) employee Elizabeth Jo Shirley was arrested in Mexico City on charges of kidnapping her 6-year-old child and later accused of keeping classified documents on her electronic devices, both in Mexico and even some stored at her home in West Virginia.
Prosecutors also argued that Ms. Shirley sought to provide the information to the Russian government. In July 2020, Ms. Shirley was found guilty of one count of knowingly withholding national defense information and one count of international kidnapping. She was sentenced in January 2021 to more than eight years in prison for knowingly withholding national defense information. She was also sentenced to three years in prison for the kidnapping charge.
June 2020 – Investigators conducted a search of the Hawaii home of Asia Janay Lavarello, a US Department of Defense employee, after she returned from a temporary assignment at the US Embassy in Manila. Investigators found numerous classified documents, writings and memos related to national defense or foreign relations and said the documents – which were first seen by guests at a dinner hosted by Ms Lavarello – were not transported in sealed envelopes. diplomatic security, as requested.
Ms. Lavarello pleaded guilty to knowingly removing classified information in July 2021. She was sentenced in February 2022 to three months in prison and a $5,500 fine.
Maj 2021 – Kendra Kingsbury, an employee at the FBI’s Kansas City division, was indicted on two counts of unauthorized possession of documents related to national defense. Court documents argue that Ms Kingsbury took sensitive material and classified documents from her workplace over a period of more than 12 years and kept them at her home. One of the documents included information on members of al-Qaeda in Africa, including that of an alleged associate of al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.