The National Archives has asked former U.S. presidents and vice presidents to complete a check of their records for classified material following the recent discoveries of classified documents at the homes and private offices of President Biden, former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.
The requests were sent by letter on Thursday to representatives of former presidents and vice presidents dating back to the Ronald Reagan administration to ensure compliance with the Presidential Records Act, two people familiar with the matter told the Associated Press.
The National Archives declined to comment.
The Archives sent the letter to representatives of Mr. Trump, Barrack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. Representatives of Mr. Biden and former Vice Presidents Mike Pence, Dick Cheney, Al Gore and Dan Quayle also received letters.
The Presidential Records Act states that any records created or received by the president should be considered the property of the U.S. government and managed by the National Archives at the end of an administration.
The issue of unsecured classified documents has boiled over in recent weeks with government secrets turning up at Mr. Biden’s Washington think tank and Delaware home. Months earlier, an FBI raid turned up classified materials at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
Mr. Pence’s lawyer, Greg Jacob, also told the archives last week that a small number of classified documents were inadvertently boxed up and transported to the former vice president’s home in Indiana.
Federal law strictly forbids the removal or retention of classified documents or materials outside secured locations without authorization.
The series of high-profile slip-ups with material that could potentially damage national security prompted congressional lawmakers to call for tighter controls.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed special counsels to oversee investigations of the mishandling of classified documents by Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump.