National Security Information

This highly technical subject is superbly covered in a recent CRS report at:

Hate to pick on FEMA but I do notice that Part 8 of Title 44 was last amended in 1986. In FEMA I found few people who actually understood well the world of document classification and declassification. The requirement for annual training was almost uniformly disregarded. Often aging employees would leave an occassional document on their desk and the discovery of that document being unsecured led to the required investigation usually resulting in the conclusion that probabilty of a leak was small since FEMA to some extent was a secure facility although there might have been an accidental disclosure to non-cleared personnel.

What I find most interesting is that the volume of classified documents has continued to increase with the Obama Administration. I have pointed out that several departments and agenices got original classification authority for the first time post 9/11/01. HHS and EPA for two of them. They of course did have access to some derivatively classified information before that. Their new authority extends only to the Secret level.

Well I know of no agency or department that has attempted to put into writing a need-to-know document authorizing access to certain classified, functions, and activities. Instead Need-To-Know is often allowed to ensure that certain bureacrats have power in the form of knowledge others don’t have. I remember on instance in FEMA when a NSDD (National Security Decision Directive) was described to me as being highly classified and I had no need to know its contents. Since my position was to lawyer that activity I said that no document, or activity would be cleared by me until I saw the NSDD. When I did see it it was unclassified. 

InfoSharing issues were addressed partially by the 9/11 Commission and I was interviewed by staff for almost 5 hours mostly on how the non-statutory Need-To-Know restriction was used to manipulate individuals and the bureacy.

I followed with fascination the hearings on the so-called Gorelick MEMO erecting a wall between the investigation and prosecution of crimes and the INTEL function. I never heard discussed the SCOTUS ruling in a case I believe was EXXON v. US over Rule 6-E that concluded that no grand jury testimony could be accessed by civil enforcement lawyers at the Department of Justice. This clearly was a pro-business ruling by SCOTUS because the great fear of corporate culprits escaping prosecution was that the civil fines and forfeiture requiremens and treble-damages under the AntiTrust rules were feared far more than the criminal enforcement threat.

Another example was the prosecution of VP Spiro Agnew for bribery wherein he fought almost harder IMO against the civil forefiture provisions with respect to his undeclared income from bribes–and yes a bribe of a public official is considered income–as his efforts to oppose criminal sanctions. In the end he succeeded in protecting much of the vast wealth he had gained as a corrupt politician.

Anyhow read the report!  Hoping FEMA updates 8 CFR of Title 44. And hoping that someone slows down the secret government that is destroying our democracy (Republic). By the way elected Members of Congress automatically are given a Secret level clearance but of course many have no Need-to-Know!


About vlg338
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