It would be irresponsible not to speculate, right?
First: in case you missed it…
Devlin Barrett and Carol Leonnig report:
A document describing a foreign government’s military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities, was found by FBI agents who searched former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and private club last month, according to people familiar with the matter, underscoring concerns among U.S. intelligence officials about classified material stashed in the Florida property.
Some of the seized documents detail top-secret U.S. operations so closely guarded that many senior national security officials are kept in the dark about them. Only the president, some members of his Cabinet or a near-Cabinet-level official could authorize other government officials to know details of these special-access programs, according to people familiar with the search, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive details of an ongoing investigation.
(click here to continue reading Material on foreign nation’s nuclear capabilities seized at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago – The Washington Post.)
Wikipedia lists eight countries with nuclear weapons in their own arsenal, US, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea. Israel is probably the ninth, but refuses to publicly comment. There are also nations that allow other countries to store nuclear weapons1 though this is probably not as valuable information to sell, as presumedly the nation hosting the weapons already knows about it.
Oh sure, why else would Trump want such a document? He’s long been known both as averse to reading and pro “transactional”. He wouldn’t have undertaken the effort and risk to evade government safeguards to steal all these sensitive documents without having a plan for selling the information in the future. He didn’t steal thousands of pages just to read them at his leisure.
So which country is this about? And who is the potential purchaser? Per the clues in the above cited Washington Post article and elsewhere, probably not the United States.
Putin would probably pay a lot to know what the US knows about Russia’s nuclear archive, and would probably like to know about all the other nuclear powers too.
China, the same. Are there US nukes on Taiwan still?
I don’t think the UK or France would be in the market for info on other nuclear powers, the US remains their ally, and the US has plenty of intelligence it shares with allies.
I’m not sure Trump knows much about Pakistan and India, nor would he have learned much over the years.
North Korea is certainly a prime Trump partner, they would find some way to pay Trump for information about all other nuclear states.
Israel is a very likely subject, there are plenty of potential purchasers for information about Israel’s nukes: every wealthy Middle Eastern kingdom, Syria, Russia, Egypt, plus many more.
Will we ever know? If Trump’s bumbling lawyers keep bumbling, maybe?Footnotes:
- Italy, Germany, who knows where else [↩]