The field of hopefuls for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination represents is arguably one of the most diverse - in ethnicity, experience, and age - seen in the primary season pool of possibilities.
The majority of the 20 participants expected in this week’s debates, however, have already served in a political position, and none of them for quite so long as former-Vice President Joseph Biden, who, prior to serving as Second-in-Command to President Barack Obama, held the position of Senator from Delaware from 1973 - 2009. Spanning nearly 50 years of public service, Biden’s lengthy involvement in government has built for him a record of policymaking unlike that of his competitors.
This distinction carries over into the Central Intelligence Agency’s CREST archive, a collection of millions of documents declassified under Obama’s Executive Order 13526, which required the automatic declassification and release of materials older than 25 years and of historical value.
In part due to Biden’s time on the Senate Select Committee for Intelligence, created in the wake of the Church Committee revelations, a search of CREST returns thousands of records - news articles, memos, letters, and more - referencing the Senator.
Fellow presidential contenders have had fewer opportunities for obvious inclusion. Bernie Sanders served in the House from 1990 until his Senate election in 2006, and Elizabeth Warren joined Congress in 2012. The youngest contestant in this contemporary Democratic debate, Pete Buttigieg, would have been 12 in 1994, the most recent year for the CIA auto-declassification.
Interested in what Biden breadcrumbs exist in CREST? We’ve loaded a collection of memoranda into our Assignment tool. Take a flip through the materials via the link below, and help us organize and learn more about what they contain.
Image via Obama White House Archives