Claire Wittlief

Classified documents found in the home of former Vice President



On Jan. 16, former Vice President Mike Pence requested a group of lawyers to investigate his private residence in Indiana after classified documents were found in the Delaware home of President Joe Biden. Pence’s lawyers indeed found documents in the former Vice President’s safe that contained sensitive or classified information.

Mike Pence’s counsel, Greg Jacob, took the necessary steps to notify the National Archives of Pence’s possession of the documents. Shortly thereafter, the Department of Justice requested immediate access to the documents, to which Mike Pence agreed.

“The discovery of classified documents in the homes [and] private offices of Mike Pence and Joe Biden reflect both a lack ofappropriate care and attention to the handling of classified material and the significant problem of over-classifying materials,” said Derick Hulme, Arthur L. Russell Professor of Political Science and Nationally Competitive Scholarship Advisor at Alma College.

“Mike Pence and Joe Biden had the highest levels of security clearance, which enabled them to see the most sensitive materials. However, it’s always important that only those individuals with appropriate security clearances have access to particularly important documents,” said Hulme.

Dr. Hulme has been a vital part of Alma College since his career at the institution began in 1992. He serves as an expert in the school’s Model UN program and international law, along with an array of issues within the political science, foreign affairs and law spectrum.

“The Presidential Records Act (PRA), a response to President Nixon’s attempted destruction of presidential materials, is vital to efforts to sustain a democratic, transparent and responsive government. The PRA enshrined the concept that all materials generated during a presidential administration in fact were owned by the American people, not by elected officials,” said Hulme.

“The discovery of classified documents in homes, especially the homes of current non active figures, presents a significant national security risk.,” said Adam Deeter (’25). “While current President Biden is cleared to view documents of top secret and classified nature it is bad practice to allow documents to leave secure areas. These are documents with enormous national security implications and if they were to fall into the hands of enemies of the state our entire country would be put in grave danger.”

“In regard to the Mike Pence situation, it is simply inexcusable. To allow a non- active governmental figure what is essentially unauthorized access to top secret documents concerning the safety of our nation puts the citizens in what can potentially be [a dangerous situation],” said Deeter.

On Jan. 19, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) collected the documents from Pence’s home. Since then, the four boxes containing the documents in question were reviewed by Pence’s attorney and are in the process of being sealed and delivered to the National Archives in Washington, DC.

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