Monday, April 24, 2006

Whoa, Nellie!

Now when I was a young Captain in the Army and moved into the S-2 (Security and Intelligence) staff position (circa 1986), I became responsible for all the security clearances in the battalion. I was basically in charge of making sure all our classified information was properly handled and secured and that no one who was unauthorized was allowed to have access. It all seemed pretty clear cut to me. I got familiar with all the appropriate regulations and the paperwork necessary to classify a document (something we didn't usually do), how to declassify a document (also something we didn't much do) and how to get folks who needed it access to the classified documents. Nearly all our stuff was NATO war plans in case of invasion. (begins to search his memory for what he can tell people in this open forum about our classified documents)

To tell you the truth I probably knew then but I can't recall these days what the punishments are (or were) for breaches of classified information. It was never really an issue because we all knew how important it was and we were all very careful. Hell the Walker Spy ring was big news way back then.

Imagine my chagrin when I read these blogs ...

Leaker or Whistleblower?

Treason by association

Now it seems to me that handling classified documents properly has become passe these days (which is a mis representation since there are likely thousands of people who do it right but never get into the news). And who you are is much more important apparently than the documents you are leaking or mishandling.

I don't disagree that the President is the one who can ultimately declassify documents since he's the one in charge of our National Security. But I'm fairly certain that there are specific actions and procedures that he has to go through to do it. And that most of these procedures would actually be done by someone else. Selective declassification for political purposes seems at odds with National Security to me. As is leaking by high level government officials. Especially when the exact same actions by lower level government officials is treated (as it should be) much more harshly. The least that should be done is security clearances revolked and if access to classified information is critical to the job then oh well, move them to a new job or can them. Including cabinet level positions. Now the president can't be fired per se, but an impartial investigation over this is a much more appropriate use of public money than poking around some lame assed sex scandal for eighteen months.

And I won't point out, since most of my readers agree with me, that I didn't trust him from the getgo and aren't surprised by his cavilier attitude about our National Security (and Interests).


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