(Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Informed sources told the Washington Post that former US president Donald Trump illegally kept classified documents and top secret reports about Iran, at his Mar-a-Lago home and private club.
Two months ago, the FBI raided Trump’s residence and retrieved 15 boxes worth of documents that should have been returned at the end of his presidency. Nonetheless, he kept them, against all laws.
The documents confiscated by the FBI describe Iran’s missile program, its capabilities, its locations, and other sensitive information.
If made public, the classified documents would put US assets in danger, jeopardize years of work, and put its spies on the ground at risk, as they would likely be arrested for espionage and executed.
However, the most pressing concern for US officials is reportedly the possibility of retaliation by Iran or other adversaries over Washington’s covert operations.
This is not the first time Trump jeopardized US national security regarding its intelligence capabilities in Iran and the world.
In September 2019, Trump tweeted an image of a failed Iranian space rocket launch, teasing Tehran’s authorities. However, the quality of the satellite image, unprecedented for the public as of then, took all observers aback.
“It was so crystal clear and high-resolution that I did not believe it could have come from a satellite,” said Melissa Hanham, deputy director of the Open Nuclear Network in Vienna.
Trump’s photo revealed the existence of a highly-classified and advanced spy satellite, unknown to the public nor US adversaries, exposing one of the country’s most valuable assets.
“Anyone else who revealed it would be sitting in Leavenworth prison, serving a prison term,” said Bruce Klingner, a former CIA officer.
On the other hand, on 16 October, reports revealed that foreign intelligence “tipped off” the US and Ukraine about Tehran’s plans to sell Moscow advanced ballistic missiles.
According to the details, Iran has reportedly agreed to supply Russia with its new Fateh-110 generation rocket and its newly uncovered upgrade, the Zolfaghar. The missiles can cover most of the Ukrainian territory, with an estimated range of 300-700km.
If delivered, the missiles would give Russia a deep strike capability against Ukrainian’s infrastructure with pinpoint accuracy, while preserving its stocks of expensive cruise missiles.