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This is often overlooked, but very correct.

"Classification" only pertains to how the material should be treated within the government.

Once its out, the only penalty can fall on the person who let it out into the wild.




A person with a clearance can get in trouble for knowingly accessing or spreading the data, even after it is already released in the wild. The data is still considered classified, even after the leak. So those who are entrusted with a clearance still have to fulfill their duties to protect it.

But, yes a random citizen has no responsibility or rules they most follow.


I would be careful also if you think you might need to get a clearance in the future. I was in college during the initial Wikileaks Manning dump and I remember getting a email from the DoD forwarded through the Physics department that viewing or sharing classified wikileaks info could prevent us from getting a clearance in the future even of we did not have a clearance at the time.


And that's when you laugh and cite https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/793 subsection (e) wherein you have never transmitted nor believed the documents in question to be harmful to the defense of the United States.

Especially in this case as these are all offensive tools.


The other commenter is right. The government can deny a clearance for more or less any reason they choose. With that being said I did laugh and read the news articles anyway. Never caused me any problems but who knows maybe this comment will.


Then they laugh and deny you clearance because they can.


Are you implying that offensive tools cannot be useful for defense? Really?


That's typical damage control though, not really legally binding; you'd have to prove that x or y viewed/shared said content. Proving/knowing this is either going to be nigh impossible or downright obvious, thereby placing you in the category of an activist (deemed "anti-state" or at least subversive) which would be the real reason to refuse clearance.


However, this is not the case for information that is defined as "Restricted Data" under the Atomic Energy Act - you can get life in prison for passing that on to someone.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/2274




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