Do you see what I see?

OK, let me give you a hint:

What is that big beige box?

It is a fucking copy machine. You know, like the kind of thing you might run a stack of those documents through, and make copies of them? One of those?

I can’t identify the brand but here’s another fun thing about “office” copy machines: they all keep internal logs of things like how many sheets were copied at what time on what day. That would correlate nicely, don’t you think, with surveillance video?

I don’t expect there would be video of Trump copying classified documents, as that would be non golf-related work. But it would sure be interesting to see if anyone had used that copier, and maybe ask them pointedly what they were copying and why.

Personally, I doubt that all the hulabaloo about TS/SCI documents is particularly important. I mean, it’s important in so far as it can be hung around Trump’s neck like a millstone, then pushed out of a helicopter at exactly 1 mile altitude. The US overclassifies materials to a ridiculous degree. Of course, there is important stuff, like the “collateral murder” video – the US loves to classify its worst mistakes and war crimes. I’m just a bit skeptical about the value of most of the stuff we are talking about. All that stuff about “placing the entire nation at risk” is just nationalist rah-rah.


There are definitely cases where intelligence leaks get people killed. And those are terribly important to the people that get killed.

Examples abound. When Aldrich Ames walked out of CIA HQ with the Soviet double agent/defector list and sold it to the KGB, those people were rounded up fairly quickly, and they died.

I once heard a fun story about copiers and secrecy, and I believe it is public knowledge and no longer top secret since that operation was blown in the early 90s. The CIA made an arrangement with a couple of copy machine companies, to produce versions of their copiers for the export (read: Russian, but maybe also Iranian) market. Copiers are just an imaging system, with a computer inside, and a laser printer. So, the CIA copiers had a hard disk attached to the computer, which kept FAX resolution versions of everything the copier copied. Then, those copiers were sold to … the KGB, Russian Army, etc. Fancy office copiers used to have the ability to flag the administrator (“I need more toner!” or “I need maintenance!”) and a copier repair guy who worked for the CIA would come out, offload the hard drive, reset it, and add some toner and reboot the thing. The impression I got from the guy who told me about this (who was the NSA’s Chief Scientist, RTM Sr.) was that the program worked fabulously well until Ames or Hanssen, or one of those guys blew the operation. When they talk about “compromising sources and methods” they’re talking about the copier repairman who responded to a call in a Russian military facility, walked over to the copier, and was surrounded by 20 KGB agents. Bad day. Worst day.


  1. Jazzlet says

    One of those photos of “documents found at MaL” had what I understand was a copied document, the red edging had a white border round it? So we already knew someone was copying stuff that shouldn’t have been copied. But yeah hving it right there in the storage room is a bit bleeding much.

  2. lanir says

    I certainly wouldn’t stake anyone’s life on it but my brain and pattern recognition are fairly insistent that the beige bit sticking out there is made of painted brick and is an extension of the wall. Zoom in and see if it looks that way to you?

  3. xohjoh2n says

    Yellow dots. Just sayin’

    I heard many years ago that it was a “well known fact” that if you went to certain cheapo copy shops on Kensington High Street (quite close to various different embassies in West-Central London) then the machines would make a suspicious second pass on each copy that didn’t seem to happen in other places…

  4. says

    I certainly wouldn’t stake anyone’s life on it but my brain and pattern recognition are fairly insistent that the beige bit sticking out there is made of painted brick and is an extension of the wall. Zoom in and see if it looks that way to you?

    OK now I am skeptical of myself. If I look at it as “copy machine” I see the autoloader tray and the catches for access and maintenance/paper loading. If I look at it as “part of the wall” I see wall.

    Clear proof that aliens are real.

    Apologies to those of you who fell for my pareidolia.

  5. rwiess says

    Hubby worked for Xerox for thirty years, servicing copiers. That’s a copier. For machines of that size, he says most have copy counters, but do not log times, etc. What you can get is 1. there is normally a written log stashed in the machine where technicians record date and copy count when they service the machine, so you can know how many copies were made between service calls. 2. a servicer or supplier has a log of supplies – toner, drums, etc – supplied to the machine. A bottle of toner yields a known number of copies, so dates and amounts of toner give a rough copy count. Want to bet that that machine made a lot of copies?

  6. flex says

    I don’t know that this debate is winnable, because I can see it both ways, but I’m going to say wall.

    My reasons are as follows:
    1. The left side of the object in the image does look like a wall of three cinderblocks with a half-block sideways on top. It’s the same color as the wall.
    2. The right side of the object in the image does not appear to have a gap between it and the wall. If it was a office copier I would expect some sort of gap would be visible.
    3. There is a flat cardboard box sitting level on top of the object. While a flat box could sit on top of a copier, I don’t think it would sit level.
    4. The only electrical conduit seen in the picture is for the ceiling light. If there was a working copier I would expect to see some electrical conduit on the walls for plugs. I admit that the lack of conduit in the photo does not conclusively prove that conduit isn’t on the wall, but there isn’t any visible conduit and a lot of the wall is visible.
    5. It could be an artifact of the camera, but it looks to me like the white thing about half-way down the left side of the object in the image is really further back. So it’s not part of a collection tray, but another pipe near the rear of the storage room.

    On the other hand, there are a couple things which don’t really make sense to me.

    1. Why would there be a half-wall in the middle of the room?
    2. What is the horizontal pipe in the back going into the walls? It looks like a 2″ electrical conduit, but that doesn’t make any sense. Nor would a water line. Maybe it’s actually some object in storage, but what would that be? A golf cart on it’s side?
    3. Again, if there is a pipe going into the floor at an angle, that would likely be a drain of some sort. Buy why would it be in the middle of the room? Did the contractors not read the blueprints correctly? Did someone decide to move the building 4 feet to the right after the drains had been put in?

    But the things which don’t make sense to me might be explainable if there were better photos, or a better understanding of the facilities at Mar-a-Lago. It is a storage room after all, and those are usually made from space which is not designed for regular access and use.

    So I’m putting my money on wall.

  7. Reginald Selkirk says

    I’ve got it. Have Midjourney show us the object from a different angle. That will give us an objective, totally unbiased idea of what we’re looking at. ;:

  8. tuatara says

    Perhaps the low wall is shielding Donnie’s little dunny. The large pipe delivers torrents of water because we know he has trouble flushing.
    No matter how much shit he extrudes he is still full of it.

  9. lanir says

    I have seen mini walls like that before in buildings. I don’t know what purpose they serve though.

    The main reason I saw it as a wall is because of the imperfections on what would be the lid of the copier and the layer right below. The corner of the lid looks eroded in a way that I don’t think you could get from plastic. It looks a lot more like what might happen to a concrete rectangle of the kind you’d use to make a path outdoors. The layer below it seems to have a wavy imperfection around the middle of it that extends to the edge, which isn’t straight. It has a spot where the material curves in a little around where the wavy line is and that makes me think of concrete from a mold or something similar. And I saw what would be the tray of the copier as a more distant pipe.

    That’s really it though and all of those details are pretty pixelated. The wavy line would be particularly easy to miss. Without the corner imperfection on what would have been the lid I wouldn’t have looked twice at it.

  10. xohjoh2n says


    Absolutely, there is just an air of “brickiness” to the top corner, once it is pointed out.

    (As for the “more distant pipe”: the pictures are from the indictment document, and are the same small set available from multiple news sources: note that one of that set is a view of the same room from the far end looking back. On that one you can see a white flexible plastic pipe emerging from a gap between the boxes on the wall. I think that loops round a bit and the end of it is what is visible there. Before I saw that angle I thought it could be the leg of a folding chair or similar.)

    However notice that on top of the wall is a box, which looks like a packet of copier paper. So in fact it is clear that there is a copier *behind* the wall and the original premise still stands!

  11. drken says

    Yes, the US does go overboard with classifying stuff, but I doubt Trump was keeping records of how many boots Fort Jackson used last year. There’s definitely interesting stuff there, but it remains to be seen how damaging (as opposed to embarrassing) all of it is. While we know about one (Iran), he seems to like battle plans for nations we’ll (probably) never get around to invading, which I’ll admit would be neat to look at. I suppose somebody who knows what to look for could deduce the capability (range, speed, etc) of some of our fancier equipment from that, but I’m pretty sure the Iranian defense minister has a subscription to Jane’s. However, he’s already outed the capabilities of one of our KH-11s so, it’s not like he doesn’t have a history of this.

  12. tuatara says

    xohjoh2n @ 16.

    That object on top of the wall looks very much like an archive-box lid. Comparing it to the box lids on the left, most of which are misshapen, it could be the lid of the box at the top of the second stack in (the only one missing a lid).

    Still doesn’t rule out copying of the documents. Just not with the visible objects in this image of that room.

    Given the capabilities of a modern smart phone, a photo-copier is not needed.

  13. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    I come from the land of the ice and snow where the mid…

    …oh… sorry… I misread the title and thought we were singing “Immigrant Song” in here.

  14. Tethys says

    I see a block wall, but it is also very similar in shape to a commercial laser printer.
    The other white pipe things in the back look like a mangled pool lounge chair to me, but I can’t identify the black thing. It could be a dust cover ON a copier, but I doubt even tfg is so stupidly arrogant that he would store a copier in the same room as the boxes that contain stolen documents.

    I think the half wall is to provide support against lateral forces like hurricanes or perhaps water pressure. We know this room is near the pool. It’s concrete block walls with a poured concrete ceiling, which is what I would expect for a parking garage or basement level utility space. No idea if basements are a thing in Florida.

  15. david says

    Who needs a copier? Why should his majesty do work for his customers? Just arrange to have the documents about the Israeli military lying on top, then invite some Saudis to visit Mar a Lago, and let them take an unaccompanied stroll around the unlocked rooms, with a cell phone in their pocket. Or invite a Russian over, when Ukraine-related documents are lying around. Let them do the work. Buying a copier is for chumps.

  16. says

    Reginald Selkirk@#23:
    Dazzling ancient bronze sword found in Germany

    Yes, that one is amazing!

    I’m endlessly fascinated by the bronze-age/early iron-age swords. The method of fixing the blade to the handle is really cheesy. I guess it probably had a lot to do with how absolutely scarce steel was.

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