WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Highly-secure details on the nuclear capabilities of a foreign nation were among the documents seized at Mar-a-Lago, according to a report from the Washington Post published Tuesday night.
Until now, the public knew some of the documents were labeled top secret, and this report makes it much clearer why they have that classification.
The leak from someone close to the investigation comes after a judge in West Palm Beach on Monday called for a special master to look at what was seized by the FBI on Aug. 8.
Information on nuclear secrets and capabilities is among the most sensitive information protected by the government, according to a retired air force general that WPTV spoke with Wednesday.
Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. General Richard Newton said that having this information stored in a private residence has him concerned.
"You're putting men and women in harm's way if adversaries get a hold of these documents or these capabilities or it could harm national security, and I don't say that lightly," Newton said. "That's why we have these strict command and controls that oversee not only the process and handling of the documents themselves but the entire command and control system."
Newton said these documents are vital for U.S. military command and strategy.
"When it comes to the chain of command, when it comes to the command control of exquisite capabilities, we have to defend this nation," Newton said. "It should be unacceptable to every American."
He said when he had access to information about nuclear secrets that seeing them required top-level clearance.
"When I was on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I oversaw an organization called the global operations and so forth. We had sensitive compartments inside the national military command system inside the Pentagon," Newton said. "It would take four of five card swipes to get to my office, for instance."
The Washington Post's report said the secrets may have been sitting in a box at Mar-a Lago for a year and a half.
The government is now conducting an investigation into whether there has been any harm that may have come from the documents found at Mar-a-Lago.
"When it comes to the chain of command, when it comes to the command control of exquisite capabilities that we have to defend this nation, and then we put them in harm's way in a manner that is unacceptable in my view," Newton said. "It should be unacceptable to every American."
Former President Donald Trump posted Wednesday on his social media platform that agents took from him many personal items including medical records and tax forms, calling it "a definite NO, NO."
"In the end, it'll come down to intent and knowledge and willfulness, but there are a number of people who could be at the center of or the periphery of this investigation," David Weinstein, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, said.