Friday, January 24, 2014

Speaking of Spooks, This Is Really Spooky

In my last post I included a link to a WSJ article about why Edward Snowden, indeed any whistleblower, is in a really bad position these days. But this paragraph really jumped out at me, and I wanted to highlight it. The author, Jesselyn Radack, explains why Snowden can't expect a fair trial:
That's in part thanks to a dysfunctional classification system. Even government officials admit that over-classification has become rampant in government. J. William Leonard —director of the Information Security Oversight Office under President George W. Bush for seven years and an expert witness for Mr. Drake's defense—stated in an August 2011 op-ed in the Los Angeles Times: "The classified information Drake was charged with having possessed illegally never should have been classified in the first place. . . . It clearly does not meet even the minimal criteria for classification." That's because the "classified'" information at issue in the Drake case was unclassified documents—some even published on the NSA's intranet—that were retroactively stamped "classified" after being seized from his home.
Essentially what the government did was take an act that wasn't a crime and say, "Well, now it is!" And that's really, really spooky. Land of the Free? Really?

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