Biden Creates Task Force on Handling of Classified Documents

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(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden is forming a task force to address the issue of classified documents being mishandled during presidential transitions, following a special counsel report that found he had willfully kept such material after he was vice president.

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The Presidential Records Transition Task Force will evaluate current policies and procedures and identify best practices for a transition to “address the inadvertent removal of classified documents and to help prevent it from happening in the future,” according to a White House fact sheet.

The goal is to ensure that sensitive records are preserved by the National Archives and Records Administration in accordance with the terms of the Presidential Records Act.

Katy Kale, the deputy administrator of the General Services Administration, will lead the task force, which will convene officials from government agencies, including members of the White House, GSA, National Archives and Records Administration, National Security Council and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The task force will provide recommendations before the next presidential transition.

White House officials have said the handling of classified records is a systemic issue that has affected past administrations of both parties.

Biden knowingly stored and disclosed classified material that was kept in unsecured locations at his homes, according to a Justice Department report released last week. The report found Biden willfully kept classified materials, but cleared him of criminal wrongdoing.

Earlier: Biden Mishandled Classified Papers But Won’t Be Charged

“President Biden takes classified information seriously – he returned the documents that were found, he fully cooperated with the investigation, and it concluded that there was no case,” Ian Sams, a White House spokesman, said in a statement late Monday night. “Now he is taking action to help strengthen future transitions to better prevent classified documents from being accidentally packed up and removed from the government.”

The president has objected to Special Counsel Robert Hur’s findings, including claims that he had memory lapses, insisting that he had done nothing wrong.

“They made a firm conclusion: I did not break the law, period,” Biden said at a press conference on Thursday night. The president and his allies have also sought to draw a contrast between Biden’s handling of the investigation, saying he fully cooperated with investigators, and the probe into former President Donald Trump.

Trump is facing criminal charges over claims that he kept classified documents from his time in the White House and tried to block the federal government from recovering them.

(Updates with White House statement, in eighth paragraph.)

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