John Glaser, August 15, 2011
From Secrecy News:
The Obama Administration is putting the finishing touches on a new executive order that is intended to improve the security of classified information in government computer networks as part of the government’s response to WikiLeaks.
The order is supposed to reduce the feasibility and the likelihood of the sort of unauthorized releases of classified U.S. government information that have been published by WikiLeaks in the past year.
[…] the order establishes new mechanisms for “governance” and continuing development of security policies for information systems. Among other things, it builds upon the framework established — but not fully implemented — by the 1990 National Security Directive 42 (pdf)…
As far as anybody can tell, the release of the classified material by Wikileaks, despite the hyperbolic haranguing about Assange being a terrorist and about leaked documents harming our national security, has done no measurable harm to any individuals in the U.S. government. Nor is any damage to the safety and security of Americans as a whole at all perceivable. What the leaks have done is to give Americans a better idea of what their government does in their name. It’s possible even, as some have argued, that they’ve done much more good than just that. But sticking to the dangerous national security threat these leaks were promised to present by the apologists for shadow government, not even the government itself has pointed to any specific occurrences of danger or threats to safety or national security. Not even the Obama administration has made that charge.
So why craft an executive order specifically with the purpose of preventing the release of government secrets which have been shown to be safely made public? We have the benefit of an experiment in releasing classified information, and – at least in the hundreds of thousands of documents released by Wikileaks – it has been shown to be legitimate public information and have no danger to national security. Yet the Obama administration is crafting a law to prevent these from ever being released again. They want to hide the business of government from the American people. We are to be spectators merely of the partisan show put on by PR consultants for public consumption. What the government is actually up to…that’s none of our business.
And there is still a very long way to go, since in 2010 there were 76 million classification decisions. And again, it is now terribly trite to say, but this is the kind of thing stands in sharp contrast to all that we were promised by Barack Obama about open government and transparency. The sad thing is, those same gullible fools who fell for it in 2008, are almost guaranteed to fall for it again in 2012.