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CIA Secretly Reclassifying Documents

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the can-i-get-my-file-yet dept.

525

SetupWeasel writes "The New York Times is reporting that the CIA is secretly reclassfying documents. How did we catch on? Historians have some of the documents. From the article: "eight [of the] reclassified documents had been previously published in the State Department's history series, 'Foreign Relations of the United States.'" Are our intelligence agencies rewriting history, stupidly paranoid, or both? We do know that they are ignoring a 2003 law that requires formal reclassifications. It puts that whole Google censorship thing in a whole new light. (Americans aren't allowed to see that video.)"

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Damn censorship! (0, Offtopic)

greenpanda (679394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767529)

It puts that whole Google censorship thing in a whole new light. (Americans aren't allowed to see that video.)

Thanks to Websense [wikipedia.org] , neither can I (UK).

Re:Damn censorship! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14767547)

My federal government is a billion tonne overweight fascist hog.
 
Well, Vote Libertarian!

To quote Orwell (4, Insightful)

xmedar (55856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767613)

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

Re:Damn censorship! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14767815)

You can get around Websense with a little Linux...

1) Home - setup Squid proxy server on Linux
2) Home - setup an SSH server, open SSH port to outside
3) Work - connect using SSH to home
4) Work - tunnel port 80 from home to work, remap to something else
5) Work - point browser at remapped port 80 under proxy settings
6) Go surfing. You now have an encrypted connection to your very own proxy server!

My old employer thought Websense was a good idea; I considered it an insult. Of course, my proxy wasn't as speedy as the local connection, so I actually spent more time to get my daily fill of Slashdot than before my productivity was protected. I have a much better job now, and that business has since closed its doors.

Route around that censorship. (5, Informative)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767534)


For interested Americans, the 'big boom' video censored by Google [google.com] may be viewed here [youtube.com] .

Re:Route around that censorship. (1)

cmossell (892174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767576)

If anyone has any idea shat the significance of this video is, and why Google blocks it, I'm really interested in knowing what is going on here.

Re:Route around that censorship. (0)

bpd1069 (57573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767592)

because our (US) gov't told them to...

Re:Route around that censorship. (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767596)

If anyone has any idea shat the significance of this video is, and why Google blocks it, I'm really interested in knowing what is going on here.

The reason that Google blocks it is a secret. So, we could tell you, but then we'd have to kill you.

Re:Route around that censorship. (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767714)

I would imagine that it is something akin to the Official Secrets Act [wikipedia.org] in the UK. This one is like reading the Riot Act, only it's never read aloud, you're not entitled to tell anyone it's been read to you and they are fully authorised to kill or imprision for life anyone who does not do exactly what they say, how they say it.

Which is a short way of saying that if the CIA wants Google to do something, Google will do it.

Re:Route around that censorship. (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767850)

The riot act doesn't have to be read out any more, afaik.

And, if anyone is interested (and iirc), in the UK a riot is "12 or more people acting together with a violent common cause" and it carries a 10 year stretch at Her Majesty's Pleasure.

Though usually they just charge you with Affray because the "common cause" bit carries a higher burdern of proof.

What other War Footage .. (1)

torpor (458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767587)

... aren't Americans allowed to see, and what are the links to it? I'd, personally, like to see as much war footage as possible, without censorship.

Anyone know of an online archive of Iraq War footage? Lets see the reality of it all, not what the media-lapdogs are 'privileged' to be allowed to show us ..

Re:What other War Footage .. (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767606)


What other war footage aren't Americans allowed to see, and what are the links to it?

There's only one other [youtube.com] I'm aware of at this time, but I'm looking too.

Re:What other War Footage .. (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767898)

I have some clips straight out of Iraq (carried over on hard disk), I can make them available, but not without the following disclosure: Some are exceptionally graphic, to the point that I will not watch them ever again.
-nB

Re:What other War Footage .. (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767876)

Google video has some horrible clips

and http://nowthatsfuckedup.com/ [nowthatsfuckedup.com] has some grisly stuff.

Re:Route around that censorship. (5, Informative)

demaria (122790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767588)

This is NOT interesting, and is it not censorship.

It's some dork who uploaded a video with the "play in all countries except the united states" option turned on. It's just a stupid google feature.

Re:Route around that censorship. (2, Insightful)

greenpanda (679394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767628)

If that's true, it's possibly one of the funniest things I've ever heard.

/. gets so overexcited anytime someone mentions one of the magic keywords (censorship / google / apple / "kill bill gates" etc)

Re:Route around that censorship. (4, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767665)


Yes, it is true, but without knowing the motives of the submitter in banning access to the U.S., it's as erroneous to dismiss the issue as it is to execute the standard Slashdot knee-jerk reaction to censorship.

Re:Route around that censorship. (3, Funny)

phlegmofdiscontent (459470) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767895)

Damn, now I'll have to put all my guns away. I was SO looking for an excuse to rise up against government censorship.

Free karma! Come and get it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14767692)

Prostituting yourself for karma. Eat balls, tripmastermonkey.

Re:Route around that censorship. (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767753)

Anyone know WHY this was censored? That's just silly. It smacks more of stupidity than censorship (or a culture where "all that's not expressly allowed" is forbidden, which is antithetical to the whole CONCEPT of the US and the Constitution).

In Russia (0)

RITMaloney (928883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767536)

In Russia Secret Documents Reclassify you!

Article Text - Fuck NYT registration (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14767544)

U.S. Reclassifies Many Documents in Secret Review
By SCOTT SHANE
Published: February 21, 2006

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 -- In a seven-year-old secret program at the National Archives, intelligence agencies have been removing from public access thousands of historical documents that were available for years, including some already published by the State Department and others photocopied years ago by private historians.

  The restoration of classified status to more than 55,000 previously declassified pages began in 1999, when the Central Intelligence Agency and five other agencies objected to what they saw as a hasty release of sensitive information after a 1995 declassification order signed by President Bill Clinton. It accelerated after the Bush administration took office and especially after the 2001 terrorist attacks, according to archives records.

But because the reclassification program is itself shrouded in secrecy -- governed by a still-classified memorandum that prohibits the National Archives even from saying which agencies are involved -- it continued virtually without outside notice until December. That was when an intelligence historian, Matthew M. Aid, noticed that dozens of documents he had copied years ago had been withdrawn from the archives' open shelves.

Mr. Aid was struck by what seemed to him the innocuous contents of the documents -- mostly decades-old State Department reports from the Korean War and the early cold war. He found that eight reclassified documents had been previously published in the State Department's history series, "Foreign Relations of the United States."

"The stuff they pulled should never have been removed," he said. "Some of it is mundane, and some of it is outright ridiculous."

After Mr. Aid and other historians complained, the archives' Information Security Oversight Office, which oversees government classification, began an audit of the reclassification program, said J. William Leonard, director of the office.

Mr. Leonard said he ordered the audit after reviewing 16 withdrawn documents and concluding that none should be secret.

"If those sample records were removed because somebody thought they were classified, I'm shocked and disappointed," Mr. Leonard said in an interview. "It just boggles the mind."

If Mr. Leonard finds that documents are being wrongly reclassified, his office could not unilaterally release them. But as the chief adviser to the White House on classification, he could urge a reversal or a revision of the reclassification program.

A group of historians, including representatives of the National Coalition for History and the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations, wrote to Mr. Leonard on Friday to express concern about the reclassification program, which they believe has blocked access to some material at the presidential libraries as well as at the archives.

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.

Mr. Aid said he believed that because of the reclassification program, some of the contents of his 22 file cabinets might technically place him in violation of the Espionage Act, a circumstance that could be shared by scores of other historians. But no effort has been made to retrieve copies of reclassified documents, and it is not clear how they all could even be located.

"It doesn't make sense to create a category of documents that are classified but that everyone already has," said Meredith Fuchs, general counsel of the National Security Archive, a research group at George Washington University. "These documents were on open shelves for years."

The group plans to post Mr. Aid's reclassified documents and his account of the secret program on its Web site, www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv, on Tuesday.

The program's critics do not question the notion that wrongly declassified material should be withdrawn. Mr. Aid said he had been dismayed to see "scary" documents in open files at the National Archives, including detailed instructions on the use of high explosives.

But the historians say the program is removing material that can do no conceivable harm to national security. They say it is part of a marked trend toward greater secrecy under the Bush administration, which has increased the pace of classifying documents, slowed declassification and discouraged the release of some material under the Freedom of Information Act.

Experts on government secrecy believe the C.I.A. and other spy agencies, not the White House, are the driving force behind the reclassification program.

"I think it's driven by the individual agencies, which have bureaucratic sensitivities to protect," said Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, editor of the online weekly Secrecy News. "But it was clearly encouraged by the administration's overall embrace of secrecy."

National Archives officials said the program had revoked access to 9,500 documents, more than 8,000 of them since President Bush took office. About 30 reviewers -- employees and contractors of the intelligence and defense agencies -- are at work each weekday at the archives complex in College Park, Md., the officials said.

Archives officials could not provide a cost for the program but said it was certainly in the millions of dollars, including more than $1 million to build and equip a secure room where the reviewers work.

Michael J. Kurtz, assistant archivist for record services, said the National Archives sought to expand public access to documents whenever possible but had no power over the reclassifications. "The decisions agencies make are those agencies' decisions," Mr. Kurtz said.

Though the National Archives are not allowed to reveal which agencies are involved in the reclassification, one archivist said on condition of anonymity that the C.I.A. and the Defense Intelligence Agency were major participants.

A spokesman for the C.I.A., Paul Gimigliano, said that the agency had released 26 million pages of documents to the National Archives since 1998 and that it was "committed to the highest quality process" for deciding what should be secret.

"Though the process typically works well, there will always be the anomaly, given the tremendous amount of material and multiple players involved," Mr. Gimigliano said.

A spokesman for the Defense Intelligence Agency said he was unable to comment on whether his agency was involved in the program.

Anna K. Nelson, a foreign policy historian at American University, said she and other researchers had been puzzled in recent years by the number of documents pulled from the archives with little explanation.

"I think this is a travesty," said Dr. Nelson, who said she believed that some reclassified material was in her files. "I think the public is being deprived of what history is really about: facts."

The document removals have not been reported to the Information Security Oversight Office, as the law has required for formal reclassifications since 2003.

The explanation, said Mr. Leonard, the head of the office, is a bureaucratic quirk. The intelligence agencies take the position that the reclassified documents were never properly declassified, even though they were reviewed, stamped "declassified," freely given to researchers and even published, he said.

Thus, the agencies argue, the documents remain classified -- and pulling them from public access is not really reclassification.

Mr. Leonard said he believed that while that logic might seem strained, the agencies were technically correct. But he said the complaints about the secret program, which prompted his decision to conduct an audit, showed that the government's system for deciding what should be secret is deeply flawed.

"This is not a very efficient way of doing business," Mr. Leonard said. "There's got to be a better way."

Re:Article Text - Fuck NYT registration (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767608)

As much as I agree with your idea(I hate registration just to view a website) I clicked on the link and could view it without problems. I didn't even notice it was a NY time site until you pointed it out.

Maybe theyhave changed their policy on slashdot, to increase their ad revenue.

Re:Article Text - Fuck NYT registration (1)

millennial (830897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767683)

Or maybe you're already logged in.

Re:Article Text - Fuck NYT registration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14767810)

I have never logged in to the NYT and I was also able to click and view

Re:Article Text - Fuck NYT registration (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14767749)

You do realize that you have just broken copyright law by posting a copy of their content here without their permission, right? Please don't tell me that you're also one of those people who complain about companies violating the GPL. That would just make you a hypocrite.

For as long as Governments .. (3, Insightful)

torpor (458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767546)

.. are given cart-blanche to declare their own secrets, they will forever be out of control.

America: your country has been usurped by your CIA and its masters. The American Public no longer control that agency.

Re:For as long as Governments .. (1, Insightful)

lbrandy (923907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767618)

America: your country has been usurped by your CIA and its masters. The American Public no longer control that agency.

It blows my mind this paranoid ramblings gets modded up. The CIA's "masters" are our elected government. Just because you call them "masters" in a cleverly worded attempt to infuse an element of the sinister doesn't make anything you say even remotely true. The CIA is allowed to keep secrets because the government lets them. The government lets them because we elect people who agree with that. The "American Public" could remove the CIA from existence in the next pair of elections if it wanted. The bottomline here is that there are certain things worth keeping secret. Just because you and some historian somewhere thinks the agency is going overboard doesn't mean the entire mission is a farce. That's a grade A fallacy.

I'm thinking you need to put on your tinfoil hat, get in your faraday cage, and pop your meds.

Re:For as long as Governments .. (1, Insightful)

torpor (458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767788)

I'm thinking you need to put on your tinfoil hat, get in your faraday cage, and pop your meds.


oooh .. good use of old clichés as a rejoinder .. 'pop my meds' would be good, wouldn't it citizen, since it'd just shut me up and put me back in my little box, not caring about whats being done in the world.

listen: the CIA will *never* be brought under control by elected politicians. name one, single, case where this has occurred, and the CIA haven't been able to bring about some other circumstance to navigate around the ruling.

the fact is, the establishment of a secret intelligence agency without public oversight (and there is *zero* with the CIA) is a grand trojan horse designed to introduce a hidden control mechanism into a society. every single scenario where a 'secret intelligence agency' was considered a solution to some problem, has instead proven to be an introduced mallady within the given society, by its enemies.

if you don't think this is the case, ask yourself these two simple questions: what have the CIA successfully done to protect the american people? what harm has the agency done the United States of America?

hint: the answers to those questions are protected and classified in the interests of national security .. 'national security' in this case, being, the desire of the American public to revolt against its politicians and create conditions ripe for civil war.. you do know that 99% of the time, when a politicians says 'national security' he means "we can't tell the public about this because we believe it might cause another civil war..."

Re:For as long as Governments .. (1)

iBod (534920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767633)

"The American Public no longer control that agency"

Did they ever?

Once those in power set up 'secret' institutions to guard their interests then democracy and accountability are lost.

Re:For as long as Governments .. (4, Insightful)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767648)

That should have been obvious to even casual media observers, when the media became more rabid over not hearing gossip about the VP's accidental shooting spree [a lawyer shot with many pellets in one blast], than they were about the President's obviously illegal wiretappings of Americans. Geeze, what does a president have to do these days to get impeached when breaking an enshrined value in the constitution, and a law isn't enough?

Re:For as long as Governments .. (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767703)

I think building a "frickin' laser beam" on the moon might still be enough

Re:For as long as Governments .. (5, Insightful)

Tony (765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767712)

Geeze, what does a president have to do these days to get impeached when breaking an enshrined value in the constitution, and a law isn't enough?

Get a blowjob from an intern.

Re:For as long as Governments .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14767669)

The American Public no longer control that agency.

The American public no longer controls any aspect of our government whatever; the multinational corporations do.

If I bribe both candidates in a two man election, it doesn't matter to me who wins. If I do this AND control the media as the MNCs do, the poor slobs who think their vote matters won't have a clue.

Personally, next election I'm splitting my vote between the Libertarians and the Greens. I'm tired of throwing my vote away on someone who's agenda has already been purchaced.

MRC="problems"

Re:For as long as Governments .. (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767881)

Well, I know you're trying to tell us the sky is falling, but IMO
After Mr. Aid and other historians complained, the archives' Information Security Oversight Office, which oversees government classification, began an audit of the reclassification program, said J. William Leonard, director of the office.

Mr. Leonard said he ordered the audit after reviewing 16 withdrawn documents and concluding that none should be secret.

"If those sample records were removed because somebody thought they were classified, I'm shocked and disappointed," Mr. Leonard said in an interview. "It just boggles the mind."
...suggests that the system works as intended.
Some dumbass deskjockey got a little overzealous with his 'classified' stamper, and it's being reviewed. It looks like even the reviewer is shocked that such banal items were classified, so I'm guessing it will be quickly reversed.

Every system has to have error-checking components, to trap errors and to either flag them or correct them. The fact that errors happen isn't proof of a failed system (as much as critics would like to make it so), the fact that errors are identified and flagged PROVES it's working.

As an aside, I'm sorry but your basic premise is stupid. "For as long as Governments are given cart-blanche(sic) to declare their own secrets, they will forever be out of control." Who else is going to declare their secrets? If you submit them to some sort of public process, they're not really secrets then, are they? Or are you one of the pollyannas who believe that 'governments should have no secrets from their people' in which case there is no point even trying to have a reasonable debate.

take it for what it is. (5, Insightful)

PrinceAshitaka (562972) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767550)

Everyone is always worried about governments "rewriting history" i.e. from the post "Are our intelligence agencies rewriting history, stupidly paranoid, or both?" This here is not an example of that. The government is not rewriting history, just denying access to it. Whether that is as bad is debatable.

This poster in no way agrees with what the CIA is doing, just pointing out an oft made error. This here is not some Orwellian nightmare.

Re:take it for what it is. (2, Informative)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767590)

Maybe this isn't an example of Congress rewriting history, but here [bbc.co.uk] is an example from two weeks ago of exactly that.

Re:take it for what it is. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14767594)

"The government is not rewriting history, just denying access to it."
"This here is not some Orwellian nightmare."

No, I guess it's not.

Ignorance is strength.

Re:take it for what it is. (1)

Mille Mots (865955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767621)

This here is not some Orwellian nightmare.

You're right. The reclassifying of previously declassified and publicly available (and even reproduced!) information is Double Plus Good(tm)!

--
Sig nificant

Re:take it for what it is. (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767632)

Haha. The one person who doesn't regret the Bush/Cheney votes!

Re:take it for what it is. (5, Interesting)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767636)

The government is not rewriting history, just denying access to it. [...] This here is not some Orwellian nightmare.

Ok, read this:
"John Doe died in 1942 after being shot in the face by the president of the united states for looking at him funny. The president attended his funeral and pissed on his grave."

Now, I won't rewrite history, I will simply deny access to a part of it:
"John Doe died in 1942. The president attended his funeral."

P.S. Any ressemblance between my example and real persons or events is purely coincidental. Use of "president" is made to give the anecdote a sense of historical relevance. No animals were hurt in the making of this comment.

Re:take it for what it is. (4, Insightful)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767673)

Denying access to history is the same as rewriting it. While we may remember what happens today and we might have some vague guess as to what went on internally, what about two generations from now? Assuming the USA is still standing and the spy agencies still have their way; what exactly do our grandchildren know happened historically? Nothing, just hearesay from their crazy grandparents. I think it's a bit worse than you make it out to be. Of course I could just be paranoid.

Re:take it for what it is. (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767845)

They'll have the documents that just got classified being declassified, much like we have a large amount of Kennedy era CIA paperwork coming into light right. Not to mention that even were this not the case, they'd still have every souce other than those government reports, which is probably the ones they'd be relying on anyway.

Re:take it for what it is. (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767706)

Yes you're absolutely right, it would just be like, a hypothetical scenario, where maybe the Nazis had won the war and didn't really feel like making any of that stuff about concentration camps public. Our understanding of history is obviously not affected by parts of it being secret.

Re:take it for what it is. (4, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767872)

You are absolutely correct. We've always been at war with Eurasia.

Re:take it for what it is. (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767906)

I meant Eastasia. We've always been at war with Eastasia. Eueasia has always been our ally.

Selective omission (4, Interesting)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767875)

The government is not rewriting history, just denying access to it.
Or selectively deleting it. Either way it is possible rewrite history with a few key omissions or abiguities here and there. It's not necessarily the intelligence agencies, more like orders from within the current regime itself.

The head of the national archives and records administration (NARA), a supposedly independent administration, has been replaced at the request of top levels of the Bush regime [gcn.com] . Not only is that rather unusual, but there are some big issues with the new appointment, Weinstein [hnn.us] . All that means is that NARA now has a politcal appointee at its head, unlikely to stand up for freedom of information.

Secret? (3, Insightful)

nathan118 (880824) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767561)

Doesn't sound very secret to me. Isn't secret when nobody knows about it? And why does slashdot assume the only possible explanations are A) the government is evil and rewriting history or B) the government is stupid or C) the government is evil? Watch out! Sounds as big as the wiretap scandal! Oh wait, nobody cares about that anymore either.

Re:Secret? (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767607)

Yeah! I mean, what's the big deal. It's just super powerful government agencies flagrantly breaking the law. It's not like this is a bad thing. How could it be bad? The CIA is good. The government is good. They can't do bad things. It's just impossible. This is not bad. Ergo, it is good.

Gammas are the best class. I sure wouldn't want to be one of those Alphas or Betas.

Re:Secret? (2, Insightful)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767653)

And why does slashdot assume the only possible explanations are A) the government is evil and rewriting history or B) the government is stupid or C) the government is evil?

Don't limit those explanations to just Slashdot. Almost everywhere you go in the US, you will find a natural distrust of government. After all, remember back in the Clinton Administration, there was a large number of conservatives that truly believed the US Government was secretly collaborating with the United Nations in order to allow for a World Government? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Secret? (1)

Tony (765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767662)

Oh wait, nobody cares about that anymore either.

If by "nobody" you mean "people who take their civil rights seriously," then you are correct.

As far as assuming the government is evil, the evidence is stacked firmly against them. They are fucking people over for their own gain; that constitutes "evil" to me.

Re:Secret? (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767668)

Doesn't sound very secret to me. Isn't secret when nobody knows about it?

It's secret like the Freemasons are a secret society, I guess.

Anyway, RTFBlurb, the secret is out because historians are getting told to fork over their documents, and aren't happy about it. Getting between an historian and his documents is like getting between a mama bear and her cubs, you know.

Re:Secret? (2, Interesting)

DjMd (541962) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767675)

Watch out! Sounds as big as the wiretap scandal! Oh wait, nobody cares about that anymore either.

What an amazingly bad messure of importance... If the American Public still care must be important, vs. no longer cares = Unimportant.
So American Idol's next round is the next critical thing facing this country.

The average american's lack of focus, concern, and ability to understand an issue in no way alters its significance.

And your point that Doesn't sound very secret to me. Isn't secret when nobody knows about it?, So if they had done it correctly and reclassified without anyone knowing, then it would be fine because we don't know, but because they got caught reclassifing, then they... didn't actually reclassify?

Re:Secret? (3, Insightful)

evil_tandem (767932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767799)

Oh wait, nobody cares about that anymore either.

which is why my fellow americans terrify me.

i think for the most part our government is both evil and stupid. not necessarily on purpose or design. but it is bound to happen when you create a huge beuracracy and give it unchecked power.

i mean seriously, the thing that annoys me most about this is it implies they have nothing better to do? these idiots can't adequately describe the nuclear capability of a hostile nation because they're too busy reclassifying previously published papers about things that happened in the korean war?

only a beauracracy can produce this kind of entertainment...

Re:Secret? (3, Interesting)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767853)

Uh, maybe YOU don't care about the President violating the 4th amendment and blatantly ignoring a law specifically designed to implement the safeguards it describes. But, I guess you Bushheads don't care about living in a police state as long as the police are Republicans.

I don't get that video (3, Interesting)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767567)

The google video is 17 s of an explosion taped from far away with the description:

"Detonation of Improvised Explosive Device used against Coalition forces. We found this one before they could use it against us."

Are Americans actually not allowed to see it? Doesn't make much sense.

Won't let me see it (1)

Tony (765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767617)

Yeah. Google won't let me watch it. I get the message:

This video is not playable in your country.

And yes, I do live in the Land of the Free (TM). And my civil rights like taking it up the ass. They enjoy it.

Re:Won't let me see it (1)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767719)

Any proof that the government is coercing Google into not letting you see the video (instead of say Google doing it out of their own volition for some peculiar reason)? I really don't see what the US government (or anyone else) would have to gain from anyone not seeing that video. If anyone would care to explain it to me, please have a go at it.

I forgot to add: there are no people in that video whatsoever, getting injured or otherwise.

Re:Won't let me see it (1)

bemenaker (852000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767742)

do a quick google search on playing back videos from other countries. It is incredibly simple to bypass the lockout.

Re:I don't get that video (1)

swiftx05 (890647) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767639)

Yes, I'm from the US and I can't see the video. Instead of a video playing, Google gives me this: This video is not playable in your country.

Re:I don't get that video (1)

monkaduck (902823) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767645)

If you go to the link from the States, it says, "This video is not playable in your country."

I agree, it doesn't make much sense at all. We've seen worse on the local news in regards to Iraq... why should this be any different?

It's not the first time. (1)

TCQuad (537187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767646)

Google has censored [google.com] videos from Iraq before [blognewschannel.com] .

Re:It's not the first time. (1)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767771)

That video doesn't display anything that might be damaging to the US Government either. It's just darkness, darkness, an explosion, followed by more darkness.

The description reads:
"This is a weapons cache found in Iraq, we detonated it with a few satchels of C4."

Of interest might be the fact that both this video and the other one use the pronoun "we," which I take to denote members of the US Armed Service.

Re:I don't get that video (5, Informative)

thefirelane (586885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767747)

Insightful?

Settle down everyone, and read this [slashdot.org] .

It is a feature when you upload a video to say who can and cannot watch a video, not "US Government Censorship"

Re:I don't get that video (1)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767812)

Well, that settles the matter then. Now the question that remains is why would the uploaders have decided to not allow the video to be shown in the US. To baffle and confound the would-be American audience? To fuel conspiracy theories? Now I'm becoming a conspiracy theorist myself.

Re:I don't get that video (1)

Twench (580538) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767884)

So that everyone would go "OMFG!!! Look at what Google is doing in the US!!! Just imagine what they are doing in China!!!" There are a lot of people who now have an ax to grind against Google and would love to incite some Google-hatred. And so far, it seems to be working.

Re:I don't get that video (1)

glenrm (640773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767900)

A feature that can be used as Censorship when Google recieves a court order to do so. Or so a deal the can't refuse from the Peoples Republic of China... Look the Internet is the worlds best chance for freedom we have to fight for it!

Re:I don't get that video (1)

capt.Hij (318203) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767776)

Yeah, especially when you consider the bad guys in Iraq get to watch US solidiers do this on a daily basis.

This reminds me of a visit I made to Toronto just before the current action in Iraq started. The front page of the Toronto star has satellite pictures of airbases in Saudi Arabia showing a huge build up of forces. (They had before and after pictures.) When I went back to the states none of this was being shown and the media was repeating the administrations assertions that they were trying to avoid military action. (This was before the US went to the UN security council.)

The media can give the politicians the benefit of the doubt, and there was a good reason to build up forces even if they did not want to use them. However, we can be trusted to know what our government is doing and trusted to make the right decision. We can handle the truth especially when the information is *freely* available outside of the US and easily attainable to other people.

Re:I don't get that video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14767871)

There are laws against US-made-propoganda-intended-for-foreigners being broadcast in the US.


It's likely that anything we produce that's allowed to be shown elsewhere and prohibited to be broadcast here is an example of such propoganda. I think the laws were passed during some WW2 disinformation campaigns. Anyone have better references?

Eep.. (2, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767579)

Should we worry that people are doing this (although I suspect others in the past have) or that they are being caught doing this? Maybe we're trying harder to catch these people, but if your average newspaper can catch these people, what does it say about the security we've got in place to cover tracks?

In some ways I'm glad that my civil rights can't be screwed because such lax idiots are in control, but at the same time I fear all my personal information is being held by people I wouldn't trust with my TV remote.

If that's an IED (1)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767583)

I would hate to see what could be done with a little more time.

Tempest in a teapot (2, Insightful)

TheConfusedOne (442158) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767612)

Documents are always getting reclassified, both up and down. If you will all recall a number of previously accessible public works documents concerning dams and power plants were removed post 9/11.

The thing is that something that wasn't secret before may become sensitive in the future due to changing conditions. Also things that are secret now may become less critical in the future and thus be released. This is the whole reason for review procedures.

Only people who are constantly willing to believe the worst in the government are going to see a grand conspiracy here.

Re:Tempest in a teapot (4, Insightful)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767678)

Only people who are constantly willing to believe the worst in the government are going to see a grand conspiracy here.

If the government will stop proving on a regular basis that it deserves to be thought of in that way, we'll stop.

Your last statement is true to a point... (1)

absurdist (758409) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767697)

"Only people who are constantly willing to believe the worst in the government are going to see a grand conspiracy here."

And if at this point you're not willing to believe the worst in the government, you haven't paid attention in the slightest, and need to widen the range of your sources of information.

Re:Your last statement is true to a point... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14767756)

I am astonished that you make absolute statements such as this.
How can you possibly know that he hasn't developed this opinion by consuming information from a broad range of sources?

Disagreeing with someone is not reason enough to label them un-informed.

Re:Tempest in a teapot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14767785)

Or people who READ THE ARTICLE and note that there is a law PROHIBITING THIS.

Re:Tempest in a teapot (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767889)

This is the whole reason for review procedures.

Gee, shame they're not following the procedures.

to believe the worst in the government

And what are you willing to believe of a government that flat out refuses to follow the rules it creates for itself?

Re:Tempest in a teapot (1)

nanojath (265940) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767902)

Did you read the damn article at all? The two critical points is first how hidden this reclassification process is (particularly from scrutiny of whether it is consistent with the relevant law on the matter) and second the reaction of multiple historians that there seems to be a trend of "cleaning up" embarassing loose ends of historical issues rather than there being a relevant intelligence or security interest. I'm not exactly locking myself in the bunker, no, but I'm fed up with people acting like we shouldn't be disturbed and protesting these trends to secrecy and operating with a dubious unilateral autonomy in intelligence matters. If anyone is allowed to have honest textbooks in the future you humps will be remembered as the ones that drove the last nail into Americas coffin. Though the way things are going you'll probably be remembered as the brave upstanding televisionated zombies who liberated us from the burden of truth.

I'm shocked. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14767651)

I'm shocked that a well-thought-out group of folks like the current Bush administration would be obsessed with secrecy and a cover of past bureaucratic bungling.

This doesn't fit their profile at all!

1 vote for "Rewriting History" (1)

slowbad (714725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767652)

Are our intelligence agencies rewriting history, stupidly paranoid, or both?

There is no such thing as "stupidly paranoid" when it comes to intel agencies.

It's an old problem... (5, Interesting)

ChePibe (882378) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767660)

Anyone who has held a security clearence can tell you - the government over-classifies. From my brief stint with a security clearence, I can honestly say I didn't learn anything from the documents I viewed that one couldn't reach by common sense or looking around on the internet.

While I think most will agree that classification is important to basic security - protecting sources and methods saves lives - there is little doubt that the US government uses it too much and always has. There is always a fear that even a slight mention in a report or stating information that we shouldn't know and only know through a secret source or method will blow the program and potentially waste millions or, worse, put someone's life in danger.

Most of the time this is unwarranted and, in the case of these specific documents, one has to wonder a great deal about it. That said, from time to time, it's absolutely necessary. (Following is an anecdote from a professor I had who worked for Senate Intelligence Committe for a while and, yes, was a Democrat) In the late 1970's, an FBI author of a book on the Rosenburg incident, for example, was angered by what he believed to be censorship regarding important information on the case. After going through the motions to allow him to print that part what he wanted, he found the reason - the information he wanted to print came from a source who, after more than 30 years, was still reporting from the USSR. Putting it in his book would have, without doubt, led to his death.

The "missile gap" of the late 50's - early 60's is another example - it existed only in public perception, and this had been confirmed by secret intelligence programs. But, rather than divulge this information and risk intelligence-gathering the programs, Kennedy was allowed to use it as a political plank.

Don't get me wrong - the government absolutely over classifies data, something I know perfectly well from experience. But, from time to time, it has been extremely important to keep what we know under wraps.

Re:It's an old problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14767784)

"the information he wanted to print came from a source who, after more than 30 years, was still reporting from the USSR. Putting it in his book would have, without doubt, led to his death"

It would more likely have led to his arrest, trial and imprisonment. In any case this person was living in Russia and breaking it's laws so really he deserves to be arrested and punished.

kind of like leaking an operatives name (0, Flamebait)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767852)

There is always a fear that even a slight mention in a report or stating information that we shouldn't know and only know through a secret source or method will blow the program and potentially waste millions or, worse, put someone's life in danger.

Unless that person happens to threaten your war profiteering...

That's why there's Cryptome! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14767661)

http://www.cryptome.org/ [cryptome.org] They archive all kinds of stuff that was being pulled of the Internet in the post 9/11 world.

Not playable why!? (1)

Unlikely_Hero (900172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767690)

Is anyone able to explain why in the world we can't see this video in the US?
I know google censors in china, please for the love of god tell me they aren't censoroing in the US.
Just why IS this video "not playable"?

Re:Not playable why!? (1)

Goeland86 (741690) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767849)

someone earlier made mention that Google video lets you specify where to play it with. Apparently whoever uploaded that video forbade it's playing in the US. It's not google censorship, it's poster censorship.

THIS ONLY HELPS THE Terrorists!!! (1)

daeviltwin (692894) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767700)

Why is slashdot posting this stuff? The terrorist see this and laugh at us. WE ARWE AT WAR DAMMIT!!! The president needs the ability to classify anything he wants. Sometimes parts of history have to be re-written for the greater good.

Anyone who thinks otherwise is just a stinking tree hugging hippie!!! IF YOU DON'T LIKE AMERICAN THAN LEAVE IT!!! Go join your terroists lovers in their cave!!!!

Your comments betray your knowledge of history (1)

MrSoundAndVision (836415) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767701)

Stupidly paranoid? The intelligence establishment of today is run by war criminals like John Negroponte. This reclassification scheme is covering illegal activities of the past, and is part of a wider strategy of making the intelligence services less and less accountable to scrutiny both by the public and by the judicial branch of the government.

Re:Your comments betray your knowledge of history (2, Insightful)

CokoBWare (584686) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767765)

A very interesting perspective... one that I happen to lean towards since intelligence agencies are not usually a bunch of ignorant doofuses. They are smart, and there is a calculated reason for doing such actions. Let's hope it's benign, but if I had to bet money on their reason, my money's on that it's for covering tracks. We won't know unfortunately until 100 years from now, when the documents become declassified (if they ever do).

not much progress... (1)

DeveloperAdvantage (923539) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767726)

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. ooops.

I find it surprising just how far off reality the intelligence community can be. I am not sure why this is. So much money is spent, yet the best answers they can come up with are still so often just plain wrong.

I am sure it is very difficult to do, but given the amount of resources thrown into these efforts, it is surprising we don't see better results. Even with the recent Iraq war it really does look like the intelligence was bungled, and, even worse, people who pointed out that the intelligence was bungled were ignored. Perhaps they should outsource their whole intelligence operation.

They want to cover up what was done and said historically in order look better now. I wonder if the handshake between President Saddam Hussein and Donald Rumsfield will be reclassified, or, how long it will take for someone to dig up a photograph of him hugging bin Laden.

Bill of rights re-classified (5, Funny)

matt_martin (159394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767757)

This just in:

In the latest step to protect us all from terrorists, the bill of rights has been re-classified.
Dick Cheney revealed that he has been given the executive power by the president to classify specific portions of the constitution. "If they know their rights, it will give them an edge in the war on terror. Agents have shown time and again that they can move much faster and more effectively without any constitutional entanglements. Americans understand that this is a necessary measure."

Rumors that a secret house-to-house gun collection program is underway have been vehemently denied by Whitehouse spokesman Scott McCleanone. Mr McC also deflected a question about the house's mysterious inability to find procedural documents relating to the drawing of articles of impeachment.

Information still valid? (2, Interesting)

dtsazza (956120) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767762)

As for historians who have access to these documents, having already made copies of their contents - what's their legal status now?

What if they were using some of these documents for a paper or thesis; presumably they'll have to re-write that part? How about if they've already published a paper quoting parts of those documents verbatim - would the classification then extend to their paper? The documents are being reclassified while the information is already public domain... while it's going to be as ineffective as closing the door after the horse is long gone, does the classification thus legally extend to the information too?

CIA Name Change (1)

wrackley (239709) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767806)

CIA? That should now be pronounced CYA.

It's getting really hard to believe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14767846)

It's becoming very hard to believe in a "government for the people, by the people" when "the people" have no idea as to what people are up too.
"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it", or in our case "We the people are doomed to repeat the past, because almost all the people still don't have the clearance to view the classified history".

Fake video morons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14767863)

btw all that video is FAKE.

The people recording it are demo, they was detonating a roadside bomb, it was not used against anyone.

The people talking in background had southern drawls, english, and are laughing. Plus its a freakin humvee they are recording from with peices on hood from previous explosions that same day they used the humvee. lol

People are so naive

Funny (1)

marx (113442) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767880)

When a normal person doesn't follow the law, then he's "breaking" the law. When the government doesn't follow the law, then it's "ignoring" the law. Why isn't the same word used in both cases?

Interesting Choices (1)

SenorPez (840621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14767885)

While I'm all for civil liberties and freedom, rather than the apparent post 9/11 rollbacks that we are undergoing, I was incredibly amused by the options available: ... rewriting history, stupidly paranoid, or both?

Same argument, if you ask me.

That being said, there is an inordinate amount of secrecy in today's government. I don't trust them with my tax return, let along the wellbeing of the American public in general. They keep spouting things like, "Releasing those torture pictures just emboldens the terrorists!" Oh, really? And what does limiting freedom of the press do? What does rolling back one of the pillars in the Bill of Rights do?

How do you respond to this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14767899)

Exactly what is someone suppose to say? My goverment acts like 'the evil empire' I've seen in bad movies, except it's true.

You've got a goofy leader being played by a puppetmaster.
Invasions of other countries on false pretenses.
Holding people against their will in remote prisons.
Torturing people, and then deciding what is, and is not torture.
Massive "homeland" security, but not enough ability to defend against a hurricane.
Crony zealots getting into key PR positions in a scientific organization.
Secretly reclassifying documents.
Monitoring it's own populous with no judicial checks or balances.

So...

all you need is unwilling human experimentation to make super soliders...

anything else?
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