It's their leverage and it's their ability to control and influence events. Even small concessions are probably felt to be too much, and I imagine to many in the CIA and elsewhere, a cold war domino effect mentality still permeates.
It's ridiculous, and it undermines a free flow of knowledge that our society desperately needs to function effectively. However, it only seems to be increasing in scope, and I believe the people related are more concerned about their positions and power rather than the long term viability of our country.
Addenum: Perhaps worse, is that behaviors like this from the CIA, FBI, and NSA give ample diplomatic ammunition to every totalitarian and oppressive state on the planet and it legitimizes their actions. Even more so, they can argue that they were at least transparent about it rather than lying to the public. It's sad to think that a place that used to stand for freedom from oppression can more and more be used as a justification for it.
Every totalitarian and oppressive state on the planet will find a reason to legitimize their actions regardless of whether or not America passes acts like the 1966 FOIA.
But I guess you can't hate what you can't see. And I say that with the understanding that FOIA + CIA is probably as uniquely American as it gets.
Wait, three seconds of googling resulted in https://fragdenstaat.de/files/foi/2812/antwort.pdf
And in Sweden, "Offentlighetsprincipen" is not only much older than the America FOIA (let's say... ten years older than your Declaration of Independence!), but even part of the country's constitution.
Not to mention, the NSA are the ones that the Americans are actually paying for and who we have some (albeit low) chance of stopping. There's no point letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.
> we never trusted the FSB with anything sensitive in the first place, so they had no opportunity to commit the crimes that the NSA has perpetrated.
Don't mistake absence of evidence as evidence of absence. And I say that knowing full well that without a FOIA, such a mistake is impossible to avoid. The fact is you have no clue about any agencies besides the NSA/CIA/FBI. Be careful how reliant your hatred is upon knowledge when your knowledge is deficient.
> the NSA are the ones that the Americans are actually paying for and who we have some (albeit low) chance of stopping
The NSA/CIA/FBI are the ones that anyone has any chance of stopping. Because its the only one where FOIA information can overcome your ignorance that "they had no opportunity" or some such nonsense. But the first step is to enact FOIAs, not stopping the NSA/CIA/FBI.
You might not have meant it that way...but there are other FOIA-like laws in other countries. For example, RTI (Right to Information) Act of India - I have several people that I know who have used it for great success.
In fact, if I'm not mistaken, it is broader in scope than the FOIA - since it is used to get information on things like why a certain person was rejected for a govt promotion, the internal status of my passport application, etc
Does India's RTI Act apply to agencies like the RAW?
I am still of the opinion that this means little if nothing without a discussion of implementation details. I.e., whether or not they match American jurisprudence on application to intelligence services such as the case at hand. (E.g., It is on the implementation details when you discover that China and the USSR do NOT have freedom of speech, their constitutions be damned. The devil's in the details.) Wikipedia does not go this in-depth, the UK has stare decisis but lacks codified laws, Germany's FOIA laws are very recent, Sweden is small with an even smaller pool of lawyers and law professors who write about such issues, and in general these countries don't seem to have well-developed "constant jurisprudence" to compliment their very ambiguous statutory law, so the state of things can be extremely difficult to ascertain. (I admit I did not know Sweden's freedom of the press "constitutional law" was applicable, nor about Germany's recent legislation which is not very tested AKAIK. I assume Russia has one as well, leftover from Soviet times. The UK, Russia, Germany and Sweden are the only countries who's legal systems I have knowledge of.)
Just as in America, there is statutory law, then there is reality. They can, and do, deviate significantly.
I agree that there should be things in place to protect legitimate whistle blowers, but that doesn't even seem to come into play here.
Then again, we don't know the complete story, so I reserve judgement.
> Scudder’s FOIA submissions fell into two categories: one seeking new digital copies of articles already designated for release and another aimed at articles yet to be cleared. He made spreadsheets that listed the titles of all 1,987 articles he wanted, he said, then had them scanned for classified content and got permission to take them home so he could assemble his FOIA request on personal time.
So, apparently the CIA said 'nothing classified in this list of titles' and let him take them home... only to attack him later for some of the titles being classified. If he isn't lying, then do you support the CIA punishing him for someone other agent's mistake?
> if this guy based a freedom of information request on information that he only knew about due to his access to classified information, then he did in fact mishandle classified information
So just knowing that they exist to create a FOIA request is a 'mishandling' if classified information? What about the 1,400 articles that were cleared, but were just sitting around? What about the fact that the CIA cleared his spreadsheet of titles to take home and work on the FOIA requests?
I didn't say I supported punishing him. I said "If" he did a certain thing, he would be guilty of mishandling classified information. If he didn't do that certain thing, then he's not guilty.
In the course of handling nearly 2000 documents, it would be easy to make a mistake and accidentally include one that had not been approved by his supervisor.
Going solely off of the information in the article, if he made no such mistakes, the fault should lie with his supervisor (If and only if it can be proven that his supervisor approved the release of information that he should have known was still sensitive.)
I was just talking about the handling of classified information in general. From the limited information we have, it seems like this particular CIA agent was just trying to do the right thing. I was just attempting to illustrate that when it comes to handling classified information, it is very easy to make an honest mistake that could land you in a world of trouble.
That's part of the reason I got away from working for the government. Too much stress.
I don't get this. Even assuming this is true (and the other reply here seems to cast some doubt on this claim), how is trying to get something released through official channels "mishandling classified information"? In fact, the fact that we don't know this stuff even exists is one of the major problems with FOIA requests. The same stuff constantly happens with the NSA - everyone gets mad about XKeyscore, so they say, "OK, we've stopped the XKeyscore project", but they just have another project, YKeyspore, where they were doing a bunch of similar stuff, and they move all the objectionable stuff into YKeyspore, so now they can say, "We shut down the XKeyscore project." and it sounds like they said, "We've stopped spying on journalists."
The only way the public ever learns about these types of wordgames is when someone with classified access sacrifices their life and/or career to tell us about it. This sort of story is the exact reason why it's disingenuous to say that Edward Snowden and other national security whistleblowers have legitimate channels.
You won't hear me arguing against you. Contractors don't really have a legitimate channel that they can report things to without risking their careers.
> The CIA disbanded the Historical Collections Division last year, citing budget cuts
How much have we increased overall intelligence services budgets in the past 10 years? And they can’t afford to keep paying their internal historians?
And despite the washington posts desire to paint this with the same stroke they did the email cache from snowden, the two are entirely different issues. this juxtaposition along with how overboard the post went in considering "ongoing intelligence operations" in the snowden case, just feels like ass covering.
I think this is wrong.
Bureaucracies are made up of people. Some of those people choose to persecute whistle-blowers. They don't have to, they have a choice. They are not automatons.
Blaming it on bureaucracy wrongfully absolves the individuals.
I agree with the sentiment, but I think the point of calling it mindless bureaucracy is to emphasize that these systems themselves tend to reward this sort of behavior and punish deviation. Even if you punished all the individuals involved (which you should, because that's one of the reasons that these bureaucracies have these incentives), you might get a good organization for a while, but the natural entropy of things would push it back to something resembling the status quo unless you change the fundamental incentives.
Frankly, I imagine the bureaucrats in general would be happy to blame it on "a few bad apples" and just move things along.
And so I use anonymous accounts to post things other than nice happy words relevant to my job so they don't show up in search results. I create new accounts and stuff. I can be pretty opinionated and I don't want the average person googling my very googlable name and seeing my stupid uninformed opinions and using that to misinterpret me or something.
It's much easier to argue a case for freedom of speech when it doesn't appear you're trying to hide something. After all, who would attach their name to an opinion he didn't want people to know he held?
Furthermore, I'm proud of my opinions. If I'm going to perpetuate them, I'm going to do it with my name attached. God willing, should I ever have to defend those opinions in court, I will proudly and defiantly do so. Hiding behind a pseudonym strikes me as needless cowardice in the face of yet manifest oppression.
This anti-government, anti-NSA, anti-1984 rhetoric is healthy and valuable, but let's keep our emotions in check and avoid overdramaticizing the situation. We don't live in a police state. Yet. If we ever get to that point, I would like to have my trail of opinions to fall back on and use to defend myself.
* You should be able to express an idea without that idea being attached to a known identity (partly because people may judge the idea based on the known identity)
* You should be allowed to "start over" (heck, I might want to start over soon)
* In the face of an Orwellian government or an unaccepting society, you should be able to safely express your true opinions
I am not proud of my opinions, I think I'm probably mistaken about most of the opinions I have, and I think this because of past experience and bad opinions that I now regret expressing.
Eg, see: "Pete Seeger - Black List" for some historical context and inspiration. This abuse of power isn't new, not in the US and not in Europe.
Please put in at least a little effort to remain civil on this site. All that you've contributed to the discussion is:
> He got what was coming to him. <insert-name-calling>
Ya, I'm trying to figure out what he thought would happen.
Edit: this is clarified later. In the process, he said, he discovered about 1,600 articles that were listed as released to the public but could not be found at the National Archives.