Letters to the Editor: Biden’s cooperation with documents probe is as good as ‘I’m sorry’

A man at a lectern.
President Biden speaks about the economy outside the White House on Jan. 12.
(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

To the editor: Columnist Jonah Goldberg identifies an obvious similarity in the Biden and Trump classified documents cases — namely, both cases involve the unauthorized possession of classified documents. So far, so good.

However, as to Goldberg’s claim that both men share a reluctance to admit error, that is an unnuanced and problematic assertion. Admitting to a mistake can take a number of forms short of a public apology.

In President Biden’s case, although he may not have publicly apologized for the error, there has been a timely investigation and full cooperation by the Biden team in the document recovery process.


In former President Trump’s case, there has been obstruction and a refusal to cooperate with the National Archives and the Department of Justice. Hence the Mar-a-Lago raid.

In Biden’s forthright response, there is a recognition of and an effort to correct a mistake. In Trump’s case, there is no acknowledgment of a mistake, only persistent denials, concealment and disinformation.

Andrew Spathis, Los Angeles


To the editor: In 1953, I was posted by the U.S. Air Force to Oslo, Norway, and assigned to the U.S. documents office at Allied Air Forces Northern Europe.

These were dangerous days with intense saber-rattling by the Soviet Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Oslo was an “open city” with odd characters buying and selling everything from surplus military trucks to the contents of wastebaskets from NATO offices.

Our document office had explicit and strictly enforced rules. Similar to handling criminal evidence, a chain of custody was enforced, with any person handling any document required to sign for it and sign it back in upon return. The place and name of a person holding any document had to be recorded every 12 hours.


Recalling all those strictures from long ago, I can only imagine that the federal document classifying system in Washington is overwhelmed by volume of documents from persons who feel that every piece of paper needs to be classified as sensitive.

That, and a shortage of shredding machines.

Carleton Cronin, West Hollywood