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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Gov't. - Government Documents Increasingly Classified [Updated]

This nearly 8-minute report on NPR this morning snapped me awake real fast. It is called "Government Documents Increasingly Classified." The description doesn't do the report justice:

Government workers classified over 15 million documents last year, more than twice the number classified in 2001. The cost? About $7 billion.
According to the report, only about 4,000 in the government have authority to decide to make a document classified, secret, or top secret. But many federal employees (over 180,000 in Homeland Security alone) have the ability to withhold information by using one of dozens of newly-created designations used to block use of unclassified information. This process, according to the report, is completely discretionary and out-of-control, with no oversight. Listen to it via RealAudio.

USNews had a lengthly report called "Keeping Secrets" in Dec. of 2003. The article quotes J. William Leonard, director of the information oversight office, "[who] estimates that up to half of what the government now classifies needn't be. 'You can't have an effective secrecy process,' he cautions, 'unless you're discerning in how you use it.'"

Here is the website of the federal Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO).

[Update 9/9/05] NPR aired the second part of this story this morning, on the state secrets privilege. Access it here.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 8, 2005 04:13 PM
Posted to General Law Related