Fact check: False claim that classified documents were found at the University of Delaware

The claim: Classified documents were found at the University of Delaware

A Jan. 30 Facebook post (direct link, archived link) makes a claim about classified documents.

"BREAKING. More classified documents found at the University of Delaware, told to be the equivalent of a tractor trailer worth," the post reads.

The post generated over 400 shares in less than a week.

Follow us on Facebook! Like our page to get updates throughout the day on our latest debunks

Our rating: False

A legal expert said no classified records have been found at the University of Delaware as of Feb. 3. President Joe Biden donated senatorial documents to the university, but these have not been searched by federal authorities.

Classified documents haven't been found at University of Delaware

Federal authorities launched a probe into Biden's handling of classified records after Biden’s attorneys found classified documents dating back to his years as vice president at his private office in Washington, D.C., and in the garage of one of his Delaware homes.

But contrary to the post's claim, classified documents have not been at the University of Delaware as of Feb. 3, Kel McClanahan, executive director of National Security Counselors, a public-interest law firm, told USA TODAY.

There are no credible news reports of any such discovery, either.

Biden donated more than 1,850 boxes of archival records from his tenure in the Senate to the University of Delaware, his alma mater, in 2012, according to the university. The collection includes public records, speeches, position papers and other items, according to The New York Times.

Peter Bothum, a university spokesperson, told The Washington Post on Jan. 11 that the university had not been asked to do any searches of its collection. Bothum did not respond to USA TODAY's request for comment.

Fact check: Biden did have the authority to declassify documents as vice president

As evidence for the claim, the user referred USA TODAY to a Jan. 29 Facebook post featuring a clip of Fox News host Maria Bartiromo discussing the records stored at the university on the show "Sunday Morning Futures." But Bartiromo did not say classified records were found there.

The university is prohibiting public access to the records until they have been "properly processed and archived," according to its website. Public access will also be granted two years after Biden retires from public life.

Several Republican lawmakers, such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, have called on federal authorities to search the university for classified records.

To date, classified records have been found at the following Biden properties, as USA TODAY reported:

  • Nov. 2, 2022: Biden's lawyers discover a small number of classified documents at Penn Biden Center, a D.C. office formerly used by Biden when he was vice president.

  • Dec. 20, 2022: Biden's attorney reveals aides found a second set of classified documents in the garage of his Wilmington, Delaware, home.

  • Jan. 20: FBI conducts a day-long search of Biden’s Wilmington residence, resulting in the recovery of six additional items with classification markings.

PolitiFact and Lead Stories also debunked the claim.

Our fact-check sources:

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: False claim classified records at University of Delaware