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Oh, the irony.
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olePigeon
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Dec 8, 2010, 03:03 PM
 
U.S. to Host World Press Freedom Day in 2011

This is directly following their attempt to censor and restrict the flow of information from Wikileaks.

"...we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information."

Oh, the irony.
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Macrobat
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Dec 8, 2010, 05:09 PM
 
You left out the phrase "illegally obtained classified" between "of" and "information."

You know, the phrase that makes your histrionics so laughable.
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The Final Dakar
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Dec 8, 2010, 05:11 PM
 
Is there a legal way to obtain classified info?
     
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Dec 8, 2010, 05:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Is there a legal way to obtain classified info?
Signing and NDA?
     
SpaceMonkey
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Dec 8, 2010, 05:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Is there a legal way to obtain classified info?
Declassification.

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The Final Dakar
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Dec 8, 2010, 05:20 PM
 
Then it wouldn't be classified info, then, would it?
     
SpaceMonkey
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Dec 8, 2010, 05:22 PM
 
Right.

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nonhuman
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Dec 8, 2010, 05:25 PM
 
You could get security clearance...

Obviously it's possible to legitimately get classified information or else there wouldn't be any classified information...
     
Jawbone54
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Dec 8, 2010, 05:25 PM
 
Wikileaks isn't the press.
     
SpaceMonkey
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Dec 8, 2010, 05:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
You could get security clearance...

Obviously it's possible to legitimately get classified information or else there wouldn't be any classified information...
I'm afraid I'll need to see your pass.

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The Final Dakar
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Dec 8, 2010, 05:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
You could get security clearance...

Obviously it's possible to legitimately get classified information or else there wouldn't be any classified information...
Yeah, I was just reading about the Pentagon Papers (after posting) and I guess that is the case. That certainly limits potential legal sources of leaks.
     
The Final Dakar
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Dec 8, 2010, 05:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by Jawbone54 View Post
Wikileaks isn't the press.
That's true. But what is wikileaks? The Internet age has done a lot to blur the lines.
     
Athens
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Dec 8, 2010, 05:37 PM
 
Wikipeaks isn't the press, and there is a legal way to obtain classified documents through the courts. Granted lots of it will be censored but generally for good reason. A lot of stuff coming out on Wikileaks and the way its coming out is going to do as much harm as any good it could do. Every one and every organization has secrets. The question is what leaks are good for the general public and what serve no purpose or increase risk for no gain. Wikileaks blanket release of info with out at least making any attempts of only releasing what would be good and not releasing what would be harmful is why I dont support them. Did the US government break laws in how it obtained information sure that can lead to public good. Do we all need to know which buildings are high risk terrorist targets no we dont need that public. And so forth. Do we need to know the names of spys NO, can you release a document that says we spied on who and who but leave out the name of the spy to protect that spy from death yes.
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Athens
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Dec 8, 2010, 05:38 PM
 
One of the biggest changes all this will lead to is no paper trail on future stuff making it impossible to ever obtain information related to something. Overall I think this will cause a more secret government and less accountability then ever before.
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The Final Dakar
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Dec 8, 2010, 05:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by Athens View Post
Wikipeaks isn't the press, and there is a legal way to obtain classified documents through the courts. Granted lots of it will be censored but generally for good reason. A lot of stuff coming out on Wikileaks and the way its coming out is going to do as much harm as any good it could do. Every one and every organization has secrets. The question is what leaks are good for the general public and what serve no purpose or increase risk for no gain. Wikileaks blanket release of info with out at least making any attempts of only releasing what would be good and not releasing what would be harmful is why I dont support them. Did the US government break laws in how it obtained information sure that can lead to public good. Do we all need to know which buildings are high risk terrorist targets no we dont need that public. And so forth. Do we need to know the names of spys NO, can you release a document that says we spied on who and who but leave out the name of the spy to protect that spy from death yes.
I agree with a lot of this. I think we're witnessing a first here, and the process of handling it is very raw and unrefined.
     
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Dec 8, 2010, 05:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by Athens View Post
Wikipeaks isn't the press, and there is a legal way to obtain classified documents through the courts. Granted lots of it will be censored but generally for good reason.
If you are talking about FOIA, I don't know a lot about it, but my impression was that FOIA basically exempts anything that the government deems classified for national security reasons. There is another category of information that is sensitive but not classified, which is eligible under FOIA. There are rounds of mass declassification (there was a huge one during the Clinton administration that opened a lot of the Cold War era archives), which includes censoring some of it, that then make more and more pools of this declassified and sensitive/censored information eligible under FOIA.

I could be mistaken though.
( Last edited by SpaceMonkey; Dec 8, 2010 at 06:04 PM. )

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Dec 8, 2010, 06:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
That's true. But what is wikileaks? The Internet age has done a lot to blur the lines.
I'd say they closely resemble a radical fundamentalist religious sect like Al-Qaeda.

They take an ideology (in this case, complete governmental transparency), take it to the Nth degree, push it upon others against their will, and remain unconcerned that their actions could cause harm to others. They fail to understand that complete governmental transparency only works when countries exist that don't exactly have the purest of motives, such as North Korea, Iran, and other nations (out of civility, I'm leaving out Russia and China).

If every nation truly had each other's best interests at heart, transparency would have a chance of working. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

I'd stop short of calling Wikileaks a terrorist organization, but not that far short.
     
nonhuman
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Dec 8, 2010, 06:45 PM
 
If Wikileaks hadn't made that information public, the leak would still be there and the information would still be available. What Wikileaks has done is let us know that our government is not doing a good job of keeping these things secret. If the information is available, it's most likely that other people—people whom might actually do something actively harmful with it—also have it or could get it; at least now we know that.
     
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Dec 8, 2010, 06:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
If Wikileaks hadn't made that information public, the leak would still be there and the information would still be available. What Wikileaks has done is let us know that our government is not doing a good job of keeping these things secret. If the information is available, it's most likely that other people—people whom might actually do something actively harmful with it—also have it or could get it; at least now we know that.
Chances are the info would stay bottled up because those that had the info to leak wouldn't know what to do with it. And leaks to the media at least results in media being semi responsible in how they use the leaks. IE they wouldn't release names that would get people killed.
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SpaceMonkey
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Dec 8, 2010, 06:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
If Wikileaks hadn't made that information public, the leak would still be there and the information would still be available. What Wikileaks has done is let us know that our government is not doing a good job of keeping these things secret. If the information is available, it's most likely that other people—people whom might actually do something actively harmful with it—also have it or could get it; at least now we know that.
As I understand it, the leaker sent the information directly to Wikileaks, right? I'm not sure it's the case that the information would be available without Wikileaks. Would this guy have just gone to a different organization? Maybe. But I don't know how you get away from holding Wikileaks at least partially responsible for bringing that information to a wider public audience, once they came into private possession of it in that way.

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Dec 8, 2010, 07:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by Jawbone54 View Post
I'd say they closely resemble a radical fundamentalist religious sect like Al-Qaeda.
     
mduell
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Dec 8, 2010, 07:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by Macrobat View Post
You left out the phrase "illegally obtained classified" between "of" and "information."
If you don't have a security clearance, improperly receiving classified information is not illegal.

Originally Posted by Athens View Post
Wikipeaks isn't the press
Wikileaks is the press. We're all the press.
     
nonhuman
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Dec 8, 2010, 07:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
As I understand it, the leaker sent the information directly to Wikileaks, right? I'm not sure it's the case that the information would be available without Wikileaks. Would this guy have just gone to a different organization? Maybe. But I don't know how you get away from holding Wikileaks at least partially responsible for bringing that information to a wider public audience, once they came into private possession of it in that way.
None the less, this incident demonstrates conclusively that our security procedures are flawed. If Wikileaks can obtain this information, than so can any intelligence agency of any country, friendly or otherwise.

I do hold Wikileaks responsible for their part in this: I think they did the responsible thing.
     
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Dec 8, 2010, 07:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
If you don't have a security clearance, improperly receiving classified information is not illegal.
Correct. I want to just point out though that in that situation it is, however, still illegal to willfully pass that information on to others who are not cleared, and it is illegal to disregard instructions from the U.S. government to return or destroy that information. Both of those cases may apply to Wikileaks.

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The Final Dakar
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Dec 8, 2010, 07:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by Jawbone54 View Post
I'd say they closely resemble a radical fundamentalist religious sect like Al-Qaeda.

They take an ideology (in this case, complete governmental transparency), take it to the Nth degree, push it upon others against their will, and remain unconcerned that their actions could cause harm to others. They fail to understand that complete governmental transparency only works when countries exist that don't exactly have the purest of motives, such as North Korea, Iran, and other nations (out of civility, I'm leaving out Russia and China).
I think this is more true of Assange than the organization in general.

Originally Posted by Jawbone54 View Post
If every nation truly had each other's best interests at heart, transparency would have a chance of working. Unfortunately, that's not the case.
If every nation had each other's best interests at heart, we'd be living in a utopia. So, duh.

Originally Posted by Jawbone54 View Post
I'd stop short of calling Wikileaks a terrorist organization, but not that far short.
Spreading true information is not terrorism. It may be counter-productive, but the truth isn't terrorism.

Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
As I understand it, the leaker sent the information directly to Wikileaks, right? I'm not sure it's the case that the information would be available without Wikileaks. Would this guy have just gone to a different organization? Maybe. But I don't know how you get away from holding Wikileaks at least partially responsible for bringing that information to a wider public audience, once they came into private possession of it in that way.
That's what I thought as well.

Originally Posted by mduell View Post
If you don't have a security clearance, improperly receiving classified information is not illegal.
Interesting. Perhaps I'm being cynical, but I imagine by improperly I immediately assume they mean accidentally, rather than knowingly. Am I being too pessimistic here?
     
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Dec 8, 2010, 07:26 PM
 
This is why Wikileaks did the right thing. We need to know about these things so that we can work to stop them from happening!

WikiLeaks: Texas Company Helped Pimp Little Boys To Stoned Afghan Cops - Houston News - Hair Balls

Our tax dollars are being spent to buy young boys as sex slaves. I defy you to present a scenario in which it's better for us to keep our secrets and allow things like this to happen.
     
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Dec 8, 2010, 07:30 PM
 
^ I agree. It speaks to the point of the Robert Wright column I linked to in the other thread.

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The Final Dakar
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Dec 8, 2010, 09:09 PM
 
DynCorp? Sounds like a fake corporation from a movie.
     
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Dec 8, 2010, 10:00 PM
 
If governments would classify information properly, rather than use it to cover up information that is either embarrassing or evidence of illegal activity, it wouldn't need to be leaked.
     
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Dec 8, 2010, 10:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
DynCorp? Sounds like a fake corporation from a movie.
That's probably the intent. Blackwater and Xe Services also sound like fake corporation names.
     
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Dec 9, 2010, 10:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
If you don't have a security clearance, improperly receiving classified information is not illegal.

Exactly the opposite of what you said, it IS illegal if you do not have a clearance.
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Dec 9, 2010, 10:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by Macrobat View Post
Exactly the opposite of what you said, it IS illegal if you do not have a clearance.
I think mduell's point is that if you are unauthorized and you improperly receive, unsolicited, classified material from an authorized person, you are not liable simply for having receiving it. What you do with it then is what gets you into trouble.

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Dec 9, 2010, 12:21 PM
 
Well, you can think that all you want. You would be wrong, but you can think it.

Maybe you might want to familiarize yourself with the Espionage Act.

I mean, engage brain before you pop the clutch on your keyboard. The simple receipt of ANY stolen item is prosecutable, much less classified material.

Classified materials are even covered in international extradition treaties as unique.
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Dec 9, 2010, 12:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Is there a legal way to obtain classified info?
Join up and get a clearance. Swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, etc.

So, yeah, there is.
     
SpaceMonkey
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Dec 9, 2010, 12:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by Macrobat View Post
Well, you can think that all you want. You would be wrong, but you can think it.

Maybe you might want to familiarize yourself with the Espionage Act.

I mean, engage brain before you pop the clutch on your keyboard. The simple receipt of ANY stolen item is prosecutable, much less classified material.

Classified materials are even covered in international extradition treaties as unique.
I have read it. The relevant chapter in the U.S. Code is here: United States Code: Title 18,CHAPTER 37—ESPIONAGE AND CENSORSHIP | LII / Legal Information Institute

Please explain to me, referring to that Chapter, how I would be convicted if someone dumped stolen classified material in my mailbox, completely unsolicited by me.

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Dec 9, 2010, 02:26 PM
 
Moving the goalposts?

Hate to break it to you, but Assange solicited the dump. Publicly. He has made no secret of his desire to obtain such things.

Strawman, meet match.
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Dec 9, 2010, 02:34 PM
 
Hate to break it to you boys, but Amerikan laws don't apply to non-Amerikans outside of Amerikan territory.
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The Final Dakar
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Dec 9, 2010, 02:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
Hate to break it to you boys, but Amerikan laws don't apply to non-Amerikans outside of Amerikan territory.
That's what makes this entire ordeal such an epic failure on the governments part. I mean, for ****s' sake, they have the guy who did the leaking in custody.
     
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Dec 9, 2010, 03:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
Hate to break it to you boys, but Amerikan laws don't apply to non-Amerikans outside of Amerikan territory.
He violated a U.S. law by acquiring and then disseminating classified U.S. government material. Often in certain crimes a country's government is considered to have standing to prosecute if the victim of the crime is a national of that country (for example, the War Crimes Act). Here, the victim is the U.S. government. Obviously, it's entirely dependent on the goodwill of another country to extradite him.
( Last edited by SpaceMonkey; Dec 9, 2010 at 03:34 PM. )

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Dec 9, 2010, 03:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by Macrobat View Post
Moving the goalposts?

Hate to break it to you, but Assange solicited the dump. Publicly. He has made no secret of his desire to obtain such things.

Strawman, meet match.
Hey, I agree with you that Assange/Wikileaks is breaking laws. But strictly speaking, mduell is correct. The prosecution of a case like this is rarely cut and dried for the party that has received the information, especially once the information is out in the open. One could argue that Wikileaks did not solicit this dump specifically, and so they had no way of knowing precisely the classified nature of the material before they received it. The State Department took steps to strengthen any possible prosecution through its subsequent interaction with Assange, demanding the destruction of the materials and so on.

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Dec 9, 2010, 03:18 PM
 
I understand that it was illegal, but we would have otherwise never found out that U.S. military contractors were pimping children to police men.
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Dec 9, 2010, 03:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
I understand that it was illegal, but we would have otherwise never found out that U.S. military contractors were pimping children to police men.
That too.

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Dec 9, 2010, 03:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post

Wikileaks is the press. We're all the press.
No. The press are organizations approved by the government to release information sanction and approve by the government like in China.

/sarcasm
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Dec 9, 2010, 06:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by Jawbone54 View Post
They take an ideology (in this case, complete governmental transparency), take it to the Nth degree, push it upon others against their will, and remain unconcerned that their actions could cause harm to others.
Would you like a list of others who have done this? How about we start with Christian Missionaries? Communists? Oil Men? Windows developers? Steve Jobs? Car drivers?
     
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Dec 9, 2010, 06:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
Hate to break it to you boys, but Amerikan laws don't apply to non-Amerikans outside of Amerikan territory.
Of course having lapdogs as Prime Ministers or other positions of power does help.

Since the Wikileaks info is still classified as confidential, all you Yankies who read said info could be prosecuted then?

What a ****ed up world.
     
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Dec 13, 2010, 09:20 PM
 
Anyone notice that Wikileaks/Assange hasn't been charged with anything w/r/t cablegate? Or any other leak. Manning is the only one charged... because he had a clearance.

Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
Correct. I want to just point out though that in that situation it is, however, still illegal to willfully pass that information on to others who are not cleared, and it is illegal to disregard instructions from the U.S. government to return or destroy that information. Both of those cases may apply to Wikileaks.
No; those only apply if you have a clearance. Wikileaks/Assange do not.

Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Interesting. Perhaps I'm being cynical, but I imagine by improperly I immediately assume they mean accidentally, rather than knowingly.
No. If you don't have a clearance, any receipt of classified material is improper and not illegal.

Originally Posted by Macrobat View Post
Exactly the opposite of what you said, it IS illegal if you do not have a clearance.
No.

Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
I think mduell's point is that if you are unauthorized and you improperly receive, unsolicited, classified material from an authorized person, you are not liable simply for having receiving it. What you do with it then is what gets you into trouble.
There's still nothing illegal if you don't have a clearance.

Originally Posted by Macrobat View Post
I mean, engage brain before you pop the clutch on your keyboard. The simple receipt of ANY stolen item is prosecutable, much less classified material.
There's no item stolen; it could be copyright infringement, except government works aren't subject to copyright protection.

Originally Posted by Macrobat View Post
Hate to break it to you, but Assange solicited the dump. Publicly. He has made no secret of his desire to obtain such things.
What law does that break? Chapter and line numbers would be great.

Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
He violated a U.S. law by acquiring and then disseminating classified U.S. government material.
Again, what chapter and line number applies to persons without security clearances?
     
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Dec 14, 2010, 12:03 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Again, what chapter and line number applies to persons without security clearances?
Chapter 37, Section 793, Clause E applies the penalty of

"Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both."

to

"Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it" (emphasis mine)

United States Code: Title 18,793. Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information | LII / Legal Information Institute

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BLAZE_MkIV
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Dec 14, 2010, 12:35 AM
 
In summary, It's not illegal to have it, it's illegal to ask for it, give it to someone else, or keep it.

"possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States" leaves some wiggle room if the information doesn't deserve to be classified, but thats up to the federal judge.
     
Wiskedjak
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Dec 14, 2010, 09:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
"possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States" leaves some wiggle room if the information doesn't deserve to be classified, but thats up to the federal judge.
Do you mean something like if the government used the Classified status to hide evidence of illegal activity (such defence contractors who double as pimps for pedophiles)?
     
ghporter
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Dec 14, 2010, 08:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
Do you mean something like if the government used the Classified status to hide evidence of illegal activity (such defence contractors who double as pimps for pedophiles)?
It is illegal to use classification to conceal wrongdoing. It is illegal to use classification to conceal malfeasance. It is illegal to use classification to conceal incompetence. If you can show that this information was classified expressly to conceal what the contractors were doing, then send that information to any US Attorney's office. On the other hand, if the information about the misbehavior was incidental to OTHER information that warranted classification, then having the document as a whole classified is NOT illegal-nor is it evidence that the document was classified to conceal this wrongdoing. Having not read the documents in which these statements are discussed, I cannot say either way-though I have a strong feeling that the illicit activities were classified incidentally. Or perhaps this information was assigned a lower classification level from the rest of the document, which must be marked with the highest level of classification it contains.

In a document with information of mixed classification levels, it is appropriate to mark individual paragraphs with the appropriate classification for each paragraph's information. Such paragraphs are indicated thus:
(U)This paragraph is unclassified. Everything in this paragraph is unclassified, though it may still be considered "For Official Use Only," or restricted from public release because of NDAs, trade secrets, or other appropriate reason.

(C)This paragraph is (hypothetically, of course) classified "CONFIDENTIAL." This is the lowest level of official classification level. This level is applied to information that, if revealed to the public, would "damage" the United States national security.

(S)This is an example of a paragraph classified "SECRET." This is the level of classification of the information provided to Wikileaks. This level is applied to information that, if released to the public, would cause "serious damage" to national security.

(TS)This paragraph is a simple example of one marked as being classified "TOP SECRET." Top Secret classification is applied to information that would cause "exceptionally grave damage" to US national security.

Information may be classified ONLY by order of specific, individually authorized "original classification authorities," who may only apply classifications to very specific kinds of information and only within a very limited scope. Nobody, by virtue or rank or position, may originally classify any information, even the POTUS.

An original classification authority can specify exactly what kind of information, including what details are and are not to be classified, in a classification guide; this becomes the basis of "derivative" classification. If the classification authority says that the fact that woodchucks chuck wood is unclassified, but that the total amount of wood they could chuck, and the type of wood they can chuck are classified as Confidential, then an analysis of which types of wood woodchucks are most efficient at chucking would be classified Confidential, though a report on the number of woodchucks observed chucking wood at any given time would be Unclassified.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
 
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