Joe Biden Has a Problem: FBI Had Conducted Search of Penn Biden Center in November – The Biden administration‘s pledge for transparency was again in the spotlight on Tuesday after it was reported that FBI agents had searched the offices used by President Joe Biden after his vice presidency in Washington, D.C. in mid-November.
The search came after his lawyers had discovered classified documents earlier that month on November 2, less than a week before the mid-term election.
What is notable about this revelation is that the White House and Biden’s personal attorneys had failed to disclose that an FBI search of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement had been conducted – even as they have now faced weeks of questions about the discovery of classified documents and files.
CBS News, which initially broke the story of the classified documents on January 9, was also the first to report that the FBI search in mid-November had been conducted. Two sources told CBS News that the search had been conducted with the cooperation of the president’s representatives and no search warrant was sought.
The search apparently was conducted on the 6th-floor office space near the Capitol that was used by Biden periodically between 2017 and 2019.
Joe Biden: What Transparency?
The FBI search in November had not been previously disclosed by the White House, Biden’s personal attorneys, or the Department of Justice (DoJ).
It was on January 12 that Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that he appointed Robert Hur, a former U.S. attorney, as special counsel to investigate how the classified documents ended up in the offices.
It was also later disclosed that Biden’s attorneys found additional classified documents at Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware in December – and when that was disclosed, it prompted an FBI search of the residence.
At that time, DoJ investigators found and recovered more than a dozen additional documents, some marked classified. The documents ranged from Biden’s time as a United States Senator to his tenure as vice president under former President Barack Obama.
Chain of Custody?
It remains unclear how the documents arrived at Biden’s home, but as the president noted in a speech on Monday, he typically frequented Amtrak, taking the train from Washington, D.C. to his home in Delaware almost daily.
There is speculation that Joe Biden may have carried the classified documents during such a trip – and while he had a security detail during his time as vice president, it is typically common for most U.S. lawmakers who are not in leadership positions to have protection unless there is a known threat.
Biden’s Secret Service protection as the vice president continued for only six months after he left office, and was only reinstated when he became the Democratic frontrunner during the 2020 presidential campaign. It is unclear if Biden – or any documents he may have carried – were protected by any security personnel from mid-2017 until 2020.
In all, federal authorities have received between 25 and 30 documents marked classified from the office space and Biden’s Wilmington home.
Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee – including those of Biden’s own party – have expressed frustration at the lack of transparency from the White House regarding the documents.
More: Should Joe Biden Quit?
More: How to Save Joe Biden?
Author Experience and Expertise: A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.