News & Analysis
Real Reason for Classified Documents
Dominant Social Theme: This rash incident jeopardized US national security.
Free-Market Analysis: While it is a bit difficult to figure out exactly where Washington's latest scandal begins and ends, the seriousness of what is occurring has been exacerbated by accusations that one of the central figures had "classified material" on a home computer.
The necessity for "classified material" is one of the longest-running dominant social themes. There are, of course, many levels of classified material and a subdominant social theme would have to do with the importance of keeping government secrets out of the public sphere.
Reports of classified secrets merely reinforce the idea that much of what the US government does is highly sensitive and complex. One wrong move can jeopardize the lives of thousands or even millions. Here's more from the article:
FBI agents have found a substantial amount of classified information on Broadwell's personal computer since they searched her Charlotte, North Carolina, home with her consent on Monday.
Sources briefed on the investigation said the documents date from before August 2011, when Petraeus took up his post at the CIA and the two started their affair. None of the material comes from the CIA.
As an Army reserve officer involved in military intelligence, Broadwell had a security clearance that allowed her to handle sensitive documents. However, she would still have to comply with strict rules that lay out how sensitive materials must be protected.
Broadwell's security clearance has now been suspended. She could have it revoked and face harsher penalties if it is found she mishandled classified data.
Petraeus' remarks notwithstanding, investigators said on Thursday they had not ruled out the possibility that he passed on classified material to Broadwell. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing law enforcement investigation.
Broadwell, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing, has made no public comment since the scandal erupted last week.
Of course, one wonders what this classified material was ... and whether it was really all that important. According to a July 2012 New York Times article, the US fedgov now spends about US$11 billion to "protect secrets."
Protecting important secrets has about doubled in price from a decade ago, according to the Times. And that total does NOT include the "costs incurred by the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and other spy agencies, whose spending is — you guessed it — classified."
The real total, the Times estimates, was about US$13 billion and much of the cost was sunk into secure computers, software, coding, etc.
Classified information has become ever more controversial because of the Internet and groups like WikiLeaks that, according to the Times, have released hundreds of thousands of confidential United States government documents, including diplomatic cables.
Nonetheless, the Times article points out that, "Some independent experts say the ballooning classification system is the problem, sweeping huge quantities of unremarkable information in along with genuinely important secrets." More from the Times:
Steven Aftergood, who directs the Project on Government Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists, said the classification of the amounts spent by the intelligence agencies on classification, for example, was unnecessary.
"To me it illustrates the most important problem — namely that we are classifying far too much information," he said. "The credibility of the classification system is collapsing under the weight of bogus secrets."
Costs are driven up in part by the slow pace of declassification, which has slowed drastically since a push in the 1990s. Many documents from the 1960s remain classified, and agencies still regularly go to court to defend their secrecy in the face of Freedom of Information Act lawsuits.
In May, a judge ruled that the C.I.A. could continue to withhold from the public one of five volumes of its official history of the Bay of Pigs operation, in which the agency trained Cuban exiles to invade Cuba in 1961 in a disastrous attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro.
The C.I.A. has also spent years fighting lawsuits seeking the release of files on agency officials who oversaw an anti-Castro group that clashed publicly with Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of President John F. Kennedy.
This latter legal battle is symptomatic of the larger issues swirling around state secrets. Like so much else in government, the chances are that there are a few REAL secrets and much else is manufactured for various reasons. Certainly, one's salary and status is enhanced by how much "classified information" one has access to.
And no doubt, as the Times points out, much information that is classified is pretty useless. But the governmental powers-that-be in the West do have reasons for classifying information. That's because Western governments evidently and obviously have been subverted by Money Power. The elite political, military and Intel facilities of the great Western powers are all engaged surreptitiously, from what we can tell, in building world government.
The citizens would no doubt be shocked if they could see the duplicity and double-dealing accompanying this manipulation. Every day the world's top politicos and their colleagues discuss wars, provocations, funding and false-flag events generally that are designed to stampede nation-states into the grip of a larger internationalism.
If there are any documents that those involved with these strategies seek to classify, it is ones that explain the evolution of this international plot in detail. This is actually – evidently and obviously – the reason for the expanded classification of "secret documents" throughout the Western world.
Ironically, such documents, electronic or not, ARE sensitive – and would be damaging to certain parties if disseminated. Not for reasons of national security, however, but just because the reality of internationalist efforts would be exposed.
Within this context it is obvious that a ballooning number of secret documents confuses this fundamental issue and generally obscures it. The more that is classified, the more obfuscated the real reason for classification becomes.
Conclusion: "They" don't want us to know what "they're" up to. But it's not for our own good but to keep their actions away from public scrutiny. In the era of what we call the Internet Reformation, such efforts are increasingly dubious, however. And actually that's good news, not bad ...