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Government reclassifying thousands of documents

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posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 01:32 PM
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The New York Times is reporting that the government has been reclassifying thousands of documents, beginning in 1999 and escalating up to over 55,000 in more recent years.

As the art icle (stupid registration required) points out, much of what they are reclassifying is documents that point out gaffes made over fifty years ago, including such things as an assessment that China would not intervene in the Korean War, made two weeks before 300,000 Chinese troops entered Korea.

In addition to the problems with covering up their mistakes, historians are concerned that the copies of these documents they have could now be construed as a violation of the Espionage Act and may get them in serious trouble if they use them for any purpose.


Among the 50 withdrawn documents that Mr. Aid found in his own files is a 1948 memorandum on a C.I.A. scheme to float balloons over countries behind the Iron Curtain and drop propaganda leaflets. It was reclassified in 2001 even though it had been published by the State Department in 1996.

Another historian, William Burr, found a dozen documents he had copied years ago whose reclassification he considers "silly," including a 1962 telegram from George F. Kennan, then ambassador to Yugoslavia, containing an English translation of a Belgrade newspaper article on China's nuclear weapons program.

Under existing guidelines, government documents are supposed to be declassified after 25 years unless there is particular reason to keep them secret. While some of the choices made by the security reviewers at the archives are baffling, others seem guided by an old bureaucratic reflex: to cover up embarrassments, even if they occurred a half-century ago.

One reclassified document in Mr. Aid's files, for instance, gives the C.I.A.'s assessment on Oct. 12, 1950, that Chinese intervention in the Korean War was "not probable in 1950." Just two weeks later, on Oct. 27, some 300,000 Chinese troops crossed into Korea.

NYT : U.S Reclassifies Many Documents In Secret Review


Some of the documents do contain things people feel should reclassified, such as explanations on creating explosives, but that is just a small minority of them. Technically, I don't think that should be classified either, but so be it. The main issue is with the other documents, in my opinion, that cover up old mistakes. It could easily be taken as an attempt at rewriting history, and that's how I see it. As the documents are now classified, historians cannot use them as sources to talk about the events described inside them.




posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 01:46 PM
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Man, this just gives me a totally sick feeling. I hate to see things happening right and left that tell me that I've been right about corruption in the government.

I would much rather have been wrong.


Good find.



posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 02:49 PM
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Sure makes me wonder what the *(*@(* the gov. it up to and most of all....why?

It's even news here in NZ

stuff.co.nz...



posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 03:34 PM
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Just what in the heck are they up to?? and just what did they miss when they chucked all this stuff onto the open research table?

Clinton was an ass, but even his administartion couldnt of done that much harm surley? or is it just to take away freedom from people?

Thats scary. made news here in the UK at 8 pm on bbc!



posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 03:37 PM
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Hold on a second..... any one remeber when they started to develope the B-2? they took all public papers relating to flying wings back into the secret classification.... Oh thats why it rings a bell! they left some thing in these papers and its left clues out in the open just like the northrop papers on flying wing tech.. Maybe its energy related?



posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 06:08 PM
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I'm going to put in a different point of view just for the sake of it, so don't ambush me, 'kay?

I work in an extremely secure environment. Not only do I work at a senior care facility (nursing home for those "old schoolers"), and have millions of pieces of PHI (Protected Health Information) at my grasp at any given time, but I also work in the IT department fo the facility.

We routinely shift our documents around and reclassify them depending on evolution of technology, change of employment, department shifts, etc. This is just standard procedure for us. What was good a year ago, suddenly isn't (especially with the stringent HIPPA laws).

I see nothing wrong with re-classifying some things. If the CIA's paper on the Chinese involvement with Korea is already public somehow, then what does it matter in the end? Ok, so that was just an example. Of course there are some things we are dying to know about.

What we don't know won't hurt us. My life still goes on, even with all of this drama.



posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 06:45 PM
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It's good to have an alternate view, although I think the standards should be rather different when we're dealing with our public servants, as opposed to a private business' methods. For many of these things there is no legitimate reason to be re-classifying them. They just seem to want to cover up old mistakes they made. And stupider yet, these are mistakes that are well known now so what exactly is reclassifying them going to do? We can't talk about them now? Am I violating some law now by saying that the CIA falsely predicted China wouldn't take part in the Korean war? If so, then that is oppressive behavior on their part and needs to be overturned. And if not, then what good did re-classifying it do?



posted on Feb, 22 2006 @ 05:14 PM
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Originally posted by LoganCale
It's good to have an alternate view, although I think the standards should be rather different when we're dealing with our public servants, as opposed to a private business' methods.


I agree there. However, I think it happens in private practice as well. there are things I don't know from my higher-ups keeping it under lock and key.

I think somehow, we still say by the People, but it has become voting as tradition, instead of really having control over bringing in the new President.


For many of these things there is no legitimate reason to be re-classifying them. They just seem to want to cover up old mistakes they made.


Honestly, if I had the chance to do that, I would.


And stupider yet, these are mistakes that are well known now so what exactly is reclassifying them going to do? We can't talk about them now? Am I violating some law now by saying that the CIA falsely predicted China wouldn't take part in the Korean war? If so, then that is oppressive behavior on their part and needs to be overturned. And if not, then what good did re-classifying it do?


That's my point. Just using China/Korea as an example, if the absolute answer is already known, then all they are doing is paper-shuffling. But for something as critical as the Kennedy assasination, it infuriates me. All I want to knowi s the stinkin' truth! What is the harm? Legally, what could the implications possibly be?



posted on Feb, 22 2006 @ 05:27 PM
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This may not seem like a big deal, but it will once academics and FOIA mudrakers start disappearing. The headlines will read "Men Arrested for Possessing Classified Documents", and most people won't think twice, just shrug and go to work.

:shk:

Bad, bad idea. There's absolutely no reason I can think of to reclassify material that was already out. It doesn't make sense. This stuff isn't super-secret, it boggles the mind why anybody would think it needed re-classification.

I think there is an ulterior motive here, trying to sting some folks who have really milked the FOIA system and gotten their hands on some juicy documents, painting the picture of a corrupt and inept government.



posted on Feb, 22 2006 @ 05:39 PM
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Originally posted by Rouschkateer
I think somehow, we still say by the People, but it has become voting as tradition, instead of really having control over bringing in the new President.


Oh, I said that because it's supposed to be that way even though it's not. Our representatives do not represent the people at all anymore.



For many of these things there is no legitimate reason to be re-classifying them. They just seem to want to cover up old mistakes they made.


Honestly, if I had the chance to do that, I would.


I probably would as well. But again, the government should be different. They are supposed to be transparent and accountable. They aren't anymore, but they need to be. This is especially stupid. Now I KNOW they are covering up their mistakes and that makes me lose respect. They're human. They will make mistakes. That's understandable. But when they cover them up and don't admit their mistakes, that's just stupid and cowardly on their part.



posted on Feb, 22 2006 @ 05:44 PM
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Originally posted by LoganCale
They're human. They will make mistakes. That's understandable. But when they cover them up and don't admit their mistakes, that's just stupid and cowardly on their part.


I agree with you 100%. What would happen to this country if all accountability was lost because we could easily "hide" behind some classification?

How deep does the classification go?



posted on Feb, 22 2006 @ 09:52 PM
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What the heck are they doing that needs to be kept so secret anyway?
I thought they were the good guys??

Almost seems as if some kind of conspirational plan was being carried out, some kind of "Grand Work" maybe?




posted on Feb, 22 2006 @ 11:32 PM
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The only thing I can think of is as WyrdeOne said. An attempt to go after historians that have used these documents or possess copies of them. And perhaps, additionally, to remove any evidence of certain events at one point or another in the hopes that the general public will forget about them over time.

In my point of view, once I have a declassified copy of a document, it's mine. They can reclassify it, but once it's been declassified, all of the copies that are out there in private ownership are still free to be used for whatever purpose. I'm probably quite wrong from a legal standpoint, but from an ethical point of view that's my position.

The only classified government documents should be ones that would be a true threat to national security if revealed at present. I mean recent and current operations, identities of covert operatives, and things of that nature. Past five to ten years, it's the rare thing only that should be classified.



posted on Feb, 22 2006 @ 11:48 PM
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From en.wikipedia.org...



Executive Order 13233, which restricts access to the records of former United States Presidents, was drafted by White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales, and issued by President George W. Bush on November 1, 2001, shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Bush administration issued the order just as the National Archives was preparing to release a small portion of Presidential records from the Ronald Reagan administration, some of which might prove embarrassing to the President's father, George H. W. Bush, due to his involvement in the Iran-Contra Affair. Section 13 of EO 13233 revoked Executive Order 12667, of January 18, 1989.



posted on Feb, 23 2006 @ 10:54 AM
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I guess this goes under the heading of "Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it".

So they are classifying embarassing historical events from 50+ years ago, because you really don't need to know anything from way back then. Just watch your FoxNews and have a burger and forgeddaboutit. Trust us. We are doing this for you. Your poor little brain can't conceive of some of things we have done, so we take it upon ourselves to keep it from you.


Yay freedom!



posted on Feb, 23 2006 @ 04:55 PM
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aww, not this S again.

why do we have to have reactionaries in charge?

what could be SO sensitive about these documents?



posted on Feb, 23 2006 @ 05:12 PM
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It's about the lies we've been told throughout history. They must squash the truth. Truth , freedom and fascism can't all work together. We are slowly losing civil rights. The truth conflicts with the propaganda the American public now is force fed. This is where one used to be able to claim that "history will look back on this administration"........ no it won't. Their history will be of their own devices. Numbed , dumbed and now bummed!



posted on Feb, 23 2006 @ 06:32 PM
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The National Security Archive is fighting this classification, this article is reporting.


Meredith Fuchs, general counsel for the National Security Archives, told The Daily Colonial that they first learned of the secret reclassification program when researcher Matthew Aid found examples of documents that had been pulled and reclassified.

Fuchs said that they then confronted the National Archives in Maryland, who told them of the secret reclassification program. The National Security Archives contacted the Information Security Oversight Office, who has begun an audit.

www.dailycolonial.com...


They have posted 18 documents, some of which have been reclassified, on their website, and they can be downloaded at the end of this article: www.gwu.edu...



posted on Mar, 3 2006 @ 12:12 AM
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Good news! The National Archives (not to be confused with the previously mentioned National Security Archive) have told intelligence agencies to stop their reclassification of these documents and are urging them to reverse the classification on ones that should stay declassified.


After complaints from historians, the National Archives on Thursday directed intelligence agencies to stop removing previously declassified historical documents from public access and urged them to return to the shelves as quickly as possible many of the records they had already pulled, the New York Times reports Friday.

rawstory.com...



posted on Apr, 27 2006 @ 09:07 AM
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LINK

UPDATE

An audit was conducted and found:


According to the audit:

-At least 25,315 publicly available records were reclassified since 1995, primarily by the U.S. Air Force (17,702), CIA (3,147) and Energy Department (2,164). Based on a sampling of 1,353 of those documents, 24 percent were resealed on clearly inappropriate grounds, while another 12 percent were questionable.

-Poor oversight by the agencies and the National Archives was to blame, primarily due to a lack of clear standards and protocol for reclassification.



Two years later, NARA officials appeared frustrated by the reclassification effort.

"The amount of disruption to timely reference service wreaked by ... declassification (sic!) teams is growing," a NARA official said in an April 2005 report. "The Air Force team seems particularly bent on expanding their mandate to series of records well beyond recognized rationality considering the sort of information they are allegedly seeking to identify."


Maybe they are making some progress on this?

JDub



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