The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee chairman has called for an assessment of the damage done to national security by the alleged mishandling of classified documents by former President Donald Trump. Senator Mark Warner said that before his committee could be briefed on the matter, it needed to hear from the Florida judge who had ordered a Special Master to review the documents seized by the F.B.I.

On the September 11 broadcast of C.B.S.'s "Face the Nation," Warner said he was not seeking "any kind of insight into an active investigation." He stressed that his committee wanted an assessment of any damage "to our intelligence collection and maintenance of secrets capacity." Warner said "it is essential" that such an assessment be given to the committee as soon as possible.

"If classified secrets, top secret secrets are somehow mishandled... people could die, sources of intelligence could disappear. The willingness of our allies to share intelligence could be undermined," he said.

Warner said that the ability to obtain and share intelligence had enabled the United States to help Ukraine resist the Russian invasion.

That ability was jeopardized when classified information was mishandled, he said.

'The last functioning bipartisan committee in the whole Congress'

Warner, a member of the Democratic Party from Virginia, said he was "very proud" of the work that he and the Republican vice chairman of the committee, Senator Marco Rubio, had done.

The Senate Intelligence Committee was "the last functioning, bipartisan committee... in the whole Congress," Warner said.

'The threat of terror has diminished'

The senator spoke on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. He said America was "safer, better prepared" to deal with external threats. Although "the threat of terror has diminished," the country faced new "nation-state challenges," namely Russia and "a technology competition with China," the senator said.

Warner said he worried about the threat to democracy posed by the sort of violent "election deniers" who had carried out the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

A judge's surprising decision

Writing in The New York Times, Charlie Savage said that law professors had been surprised by U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon's September 5 decision to appoint an independent special master who would examine the documents, totaling over 11,000, which the F.B.I. had taken from Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. The special master would filter out materials that were protected by the attorney-client privilege or executive privilege, Savage wrote.

"Judge Cannon took several steps that specialists said were vulnerable to being overturned if the government files an appeal, as most agreed was likely," Savage said.