This is getting ridiculous!
First, Donald Trump takes documents, both classified and not, to his post-presidential residence, since important people have big piles of paper. Then Joe Biden is found to have documents from his time as vice president and senator in his former office and his home. Now, Mike Pence has classified documents at his home! ("Classified files found in Pence home," Jan. 25.)
At least Biden and Pence's people found the documents, delivered them to the National Archives and are cooperating and not making excuses.
This shows me a few things. First and foremost, these people have no respect for the laws governing the handling of classified documents. They should all be aware of the penalties for mishandling classified documents.
Second, it shows that the people charged with keeping track of classified documents are not doing their jobs. They should know how many copies of a classified document exist and who has possession of those copies.
Third, it shows that the people who delivered the documents to these people are not keeping track of the documents either! Staff incompetence is one of the ways our adversaries get hold of our secrets.
I think it would be a good idea to search the homes and offices of every member of Congress and the executive branch with access to classified documents. At the very least it would provide an inventory of the documents that are in their possession. There should also be designated recipients of classified documents for each member of these offices, and they should be charged under penalty of law to maintain a record of access to the documents and their current locations. Members of Congress and the executive branch up to and including the president should lose their clearance if they have been egregiously violating the relevant laws. In the case of the president, given the nature of his job, his access should be monitored by a person with clearance who will then be responsible for taking possession of the document when the president no longer needs it and returning it to an approved storage location.
I, for one, have had enough of the "Keystone Kops" methods of government. If these people — presumably adults — cannot be trusted to handle our nation's secrets safely, get rid of them and elect people who can be trusted.
Daniel Beckfield, St. Paul
Now classified documents have been found at Pence's home. Are there any documents actually in the National Archives?
Pat Proft, Minnetonka
It appears the search for classified documents will be going on for a good long time. There are four other living former presidents: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. There are three other living vice presidents: Dan Quayle, Al Gore and Dick Cheney.
Their homes will need to be searched, plus any vacation homes they might have and perhaps even previous homes they have owned, plus office spaces they had have occupied since leaving office. Then there are all the presidential libraries that will need to also be searched. Who knows what may be found?
The FBI and the Justice Department have to be feeling good right now — full employment and then some for a long time into the future.
Ron Bender, Richfield
The "crisis" about the top-secret papers that surfaced at Trump's estate was a media-inflated diversion, and once it was discovered that Biden also had a stash, it proved to be a perfect example of how liberal overreach can end up biting the practitioners in the rear. Biden was likely careless if not clueless; Trump's hoarding was just another expression of his monstrous ego trip, and although some of his critics like to hold out the possibility that something in this mountain of paper could have "fallen into the wrong hands" and compromised our so-called assets, it was probably harmless. What Trump is seriously guilty of is trying to foment an insurrection, and back in the old days when this country was "great," he might have hung for it.
The main issue regarding the classified documents is that they are a palpable manifestation of a 70-plus-year Cold War, now in the process of once again turning hot and murderous, that sucks up resources, enriches military contractors, distorts the world economy, engenders inequity and misery worldwide and virtually assures that international cooperation and entrepreneurial energy will be channeled away from real problems like climate change, starvation, sanitation and disease.
The best chance we had to put an end to this institutionalized pathology occurred in the 1980s as the result of a strange and seemingly miraculous dynamic that developed between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, but it was squandered under old-guard U.S. diplomats and a succession of presidents, starting with the first Bush and going right on through Obama. It's one of the ironies of history that possibly the best chance of disrupting this world-burning return to business as usual occurred under the administration of the loose cannon who is now holed up in his enclave at Mar-a-Lago.
David Rubenstein, Minneapolis
SUPREME COURT LEAK
Fundamentally flawed investigation
According to Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, "When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." The Supreme Court has investigated carefully all the clerks and other staff and concluded that none of them can be shown to have leaked the infamous Dobbs decision ("Top court can't ID opinion's leaker," Jan. 20). The improbable remainder: One of the justices must have been the leaker. If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on a guy named Sam Alito. He had the most to gain from stiffening the spines of the other like-minded justices.
James Edwin Watson, Maplewood
About the SCOTUS opinion leak: It was very disappointing and ironic to learn that the investigation used a double standard and so was unjust. The justices, unlike all the other interviewees, were not required to swear that they were telling the truth (in a sworn affidavit). Why were they let off the hook?
Anne C. Ritterspach, Minneapolis
Another case of the fox guarding the henhouse. That is what the Supreme Court's investigation into the leak of the Dobb's abortion decision amounts to. The investigators themselves work for the court and can be fired by the court; how can they conduct an unbiased investigation? The report made no mention about questioning the justices themselves or the justices' spouses. Of course not! This blatant disregard for maintaining public confidence in the nation's top court is just one more instance that follows on Justice Clarence Thomas' failure to recuse himself from decisions on which his spouse, Ginny, had vested interests. The sooner Congress mandates a code of ethics for this wayward court, the better.
Lucyan Mech, Lauderdale
Congrats on the turnabout
I'm disappointed by the call by Hamline University faculty for the resignation of President Fayneese Miller ("Hamline faculty call on president to resign," Jan. 25).
Don't get me wrong. I was pretty disturbed by the decision not to renew art instructor Erika López Prater's contract on the basis that she had shown images of the Prophet Muhammad to her online class, despite her providing adequate warnings of possibly disturbing content. In fact, I thought about writing a letter to the editor myself until I saw several letters on the opinion page much more eloquent than I could have written.
But I would like to see society reward leaders who promptly admit their wrongs, an unfortunately rare occurrence. The president and her administration showed courage by fairly quickly acknowledging their error in judgment after the controversy arose. Yes, perhaps that doesn't make amends for all the harm caused, but it's certainly a good faith step. I believe President Miller should be given a chance to show she can make more sound decisions in the future.
Bob Patton, Plymouth
Hamline President Miller said it is OK for the university community to feel pain, because the pain will eventually be soothed. She might consider advising Hamline students that it is OK to experience discomfort. When we push ourselves outside our comfort zones, we are challenged to think critically, and we learn new things and gain new insights. Then we can take on the responsibility for resolving the discomfort. That's a liberal arts education.
David Aquilina, Richfield