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Keeping Secrets: In Presidential Memo, A New Designation for Classifying Information
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Washington Post

Washington Post, May 19, 2008
Posted: May 22nd, 2008

Sometime in the next few years, if a memorandum signed by President Bush this month ever goes into effect, one government official talking to another about information on terrorists will have to begin by saying: "What I am about to tell you is controlled unclassified information enhanced with specified dissemination." That would mean, according to the memo, that the information requires safeguarding because "the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure would create risk of substantial harm." Bush's memorandum ... introduced "Controlled Unclassified Information" as a new government category that will replace "Sensitive but Unclassified." Such information -- though it does not merit the well-known national security classifications "confidential," "secret" or "top secret" -- is nonetheless "pertinent" to U.S. "national interests" or to "important interests of entities outside the federal government," the memo says. Left undefined are which laws or policies generated the requirement for protecting such information, and which interests are pertinent. But Bush's memo does refer to the "global nature of the threats facing the United States" and to the need to ensure that the "entire network of defenders be able to share information more rapidly." Some critics described it as continuing an expansion of secrecy in government and a potential bureaucratic nightmare. The White House "seems to have used the crafting of new rules as an opportunity to expand the range of government secrecy," said Michael Clark, a contributing editor to the blog Daily Kos, who first wrote about the Bush memorandum.

Note: For many revealing reports of increasing government secrecy from reliable sources, click here.

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