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Hundreds of Millions of Documents Soon Declassified

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posted on Dec, 21 2006 @ 11:23 AM
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On December 31st, 2006, hundreds of millions of documents will be automatically declassified and made available to the public. Following a law inacted by former President Clinton, and enforced by President Bush, any classified document that does not have its classified status extended will become Free Information after 25 years. Of the documents waiting to be released, 270 million of them will be from the FBI. The documents are expected to shed light on everything from the Cold War to Watergate, and the sheer volume of material is expected to take generations of scholars to sift through.
 



www.nytimes .com
Several hundred million pages will be declassified at midnight on Dec. 31, including 270 million pages at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has lagged most agencies in reviews.

J. William Leonard, who oversees declassification as head of the Information Security Oversight Office at the National Archives, said the threat that secret files might be made public without a security review had sent a useful chill through the bureaucracy.

“Unfortunately, you sometimes need a two-by-four to get agencies to pay attention,” Mr. Leonard said. “Automatic declassification was essentially that two-by-four.”

What surprises await in the documents is impossible to predict.

“It is going to take a generation for scholars to go through the material declassified under this process,” said Steven Aftergood, who runs a project on government secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


This could be both a blessing and a bane, depending on what gets released. While joyously discussing this with a friend, they mentioned the possibility of critical secrets slipping through the cracks due to a lack of classified status extension, and falling into terrorists hands. While I agree, this is a risk, I feel that Freedom of Information has a price, and that price is sometimes that bad things will come of it. Society will ultimately decide how much information they want to be free and how much they'd rather not know.

Now, personally, I see this as a call to arms for all ATS members. They say it will take generations of scholars to sift through it all. I say we have thousands of scholars right here on ATS. If there isn't already a group on ATS dedicated to sifting through FOIA materials, there should be. Anyone want to organize a combing program so we can search this stuff intelligently, instead of haphazardly? This is a golden opportunity, and we have no way of knowing what juicy incredible finds will be out there, only briefly, and then immediately found and reclassified.

I shiver with anticipation.

Related News Links:
foia.fbi.gov
www.bushsecrecy.org
www.tncrimlaw.com
www.lib.msu.edu

Related AboveTopSecret.com Discussion Threads:
State Department final FOIA response in the mail today
FOIA ideas




posted on Dec, 21 2006 @ 08:56 PM
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The thing about declassified documents is that since they've been classified (and thus not subject to public record), it's very easy to dispose of anything that's truly incriminating.

It's unlikely that anything really interesting will be released within this dirth of documentation.



posted on Dec, 21 2006 @ 09:05 PM
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Originally posted by BitRaiser
It's unlikely that anything really interesting will be released within this dirth of documentation.


Out of 270 million pages i'm sure something interesting is going to be released, the trick will be finding it.


MBF

posted on Dec, 21 2006 @ 09:37 PM
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Originally posted by BitRaiser
The thing about declassified documents is that since they've been classified (and thus not subject to public record), it's very easy to dispose of anything that's truly incriminating.


That's true of ANY documents that the government has in its posession. I had a govt. employee do me wrong and held a letter in my hand that stated that he had done wrong. When I was allowed to copy my file, that letter was missing.



posted on Dec, 21 2006 @ 11:07 PM
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I think there's bound to be some goodies slip through. One thing that comes to my mind is that of the documents concerning the "Ararat Anomaly" which are of great interest to Noah's Ark seekers, not to mention all the information from the Cold War . . . even if not useful for conspiracy theorists, they'll be invaluable for historians.



posted on Dec, 22 2006 @ 10:22 AM
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I have to agree with Mr. Wumpy -

270 million pages is ALOT of paper. Humans make the basic mistakes with small reports, there is bound to be a few 'goodies' in there by accident. Though also going through all that information, the researchers have to be careful not to pass over anything. Hopefully they will put all the information on-line as they go.



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