Colwell: Test your knowledge about the top-secret documents found at Mar-a-Lago

Alas, we still don’t know why Donald Trump took all those top-secret documents. But we now know more about what happened and the extent of any possible threat to national security.

Here’s a quiz about the saga of secrets.

1. In the 15 boxes of materials Trump finally turned over earlier this year, federal agents found how many classified documents:

a. Only a dozen, none top secret.

b. 97, of which 11 were top secret.

c. 184, of which 25 were top secret.

2. The Justice Department then applied for the Aug. 8 search for more stuff hidden at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, citing information from:

a. The housekeeper who dusts around storage areas.

b. “A significant number” of witnesses.

c. Melania.

3. The search came because:

a. Someone at Mar-a-Lago was selling top-secret documents on eBay.

b. Concern grew and patience wore out 18 months after Trump took the stuff from the White House.

c. Trump was planning to auction off interesting classified material at a fundraiser.

4. So, what was found in the FBI search?

a. Over 100 more classified documents, including more marked top-secret.

b. Documents about to be turned over to eBay buyers.

c. Codes from the nuclear football that’s always kept close to the president.

5. How were all of those boxes transported to Mar-a-Lago?

a. By Air Force plane.

b. By fully-insured U-Haul.

c. By a security-cleared Uber driver.

6. Why didn’t the feds try to get the documents by subpoena before turning to an FBI search?

a. They wanted to storm Mar-a-Lago before Trump could voluntarily comply.

b. They feared Rudy Giuliani would skillfully get the subpoena quashed.

c. They did try through a subpoena first.

7. Did documents recovered have any special designation about national security?

a. No, nothing special.

b. Yes, but posing no danger other than embarrassment of some ambassadors.

c. Yes, that the designation was “designed to protect technical and intelligence information derived from monitoring of foreign communications signals.”

8. Could any disclosures endanger U.S. informants overseas?

a. Some documents were marked that they were classified to “protect intelligence information derived from clandestine human sources.”

b. Doesn’t matter because spies can be replaced.

c. Doesn’t matter because those spies are just traitors to their own country.

9. If top-secret info identifying a spy in the Kremlin was compromised, the Russian informant likely would be:

a. Set free after a call from Trump to Putin.

b. Sent for a year to Siberia.

c. Killed.

10. Trump defenders have responded with calls to:

a. Defund the FBI.

b. Withhold judgement while the investigation continues.

c. Remember that even a president can make a mistake.

11. What does the Justice Department say about Trump efforts to find and return documents?

a. No evidence was found that Trump knew about the sensitive nature of documents he took.

b. Evidence was found “that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation,” with records “likely concealed and removed.”

c. Trump attorneys were helpful in assuring that all classified documents were returned.

12. Will the saga of Mara-a-Lago secrets and top secrets make it less likely that Trump will run again for president?

a. Yes, because his MAGA base is crumbling.

b. Yes, because he no longer has a strong chance to be the Republican nominee.

c. No, because his base is firm, fundraising is strong and he’s anxious to appoint an attorney general who will dismiss any charges.

ANSWERS: 1-c; 2-b; 3-b; 4-a; 5-a; 6-c; 7-c; 8-a; 9-c; 10-a; 11-b; 12-c.

Jack Colwell is a columnist for The Tribune. Write to him in care of The Tribune or by email at

Jack Colwell
Jack Colwell

This article originally appeared on South Bend Tribune: How much do you know about documents found at Mar-a-Lago?