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Washington, Feb 11 – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has found an additional classified file during a search of former US Vice President Mike Pence’s home in Indiana.
The search was conducted by FBI agents from Indianapolis and is not currently linked to other investigations into classified files, the BBC reported.
In a statement on Friday, Devin O’Malley, an adviser to Pence, said that the former Vice President agreed to the consensual search and the additional file were removed following “a thorough and unrestricted search”.
“The Department of Justice completed a thorough and unrestricted search of five hours and removed one document with classified markings and six additional pages without such markings that were not discovered in the initial review by the vice-president’s counsel,” O’Malley added.
Friday’s development follows disclosures by Pence’s attorneys that they found “a small number” of classified files from his Vice-Presidency at the home last month.
This is also the latest development in a growing controversy over classified documents that has already embroiled both former President Donald Trump and incumbent President Joe Biden.
Trump faces a criminal investigation for allegedly mishandling classified documents, while Biden faces a probe by the US Department of Justice.
To date, about 300 classified documents have been recovered from Mr Trump since his administration ended.
While Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and claimed that he declassified any documents he took when he left the White House, Biden has said that his team did “what they should have done” by alerting officials immediately when classified files were found and that he is co-operating with the special counsel’s investigation, the BBC reported.
A spokesperson for Pence told CNN on Friday that he was away during the FBI search, though a private attorney was present at the house.
In January, representatives for Pence sent a letter to the National Archives — the US government agency that manages the preservation of presidential records — alerting them that they had found classified documents in his home.
Those materials have already been handed over to the FBI.
Classified records are supposed to go to the National Archives once an administration leaves office.