Congress Abuses 'It's Classified' To Hide Stuff They Don't Want To Talk About

from the of-course-they-do dept

Reporters at McClatchy have been doing a bang up job covering government abuses lately, and their latest is a report talking about how frequently Congress abuses the ability to classify documents to hide from any sort of accountability or transparency. As the article says: "for Congress, 'it's classified' is new equivalent of 'none of your business.'" The article highlights just how frequently elected officials in Congress have been hiding behind "it's classified" lately. The article focuses on a recent effort to provide weapons to rebels in Syria. Apparently, Congress signed off on it, but it won't tell anyone the details even of who approved it, because, well, you guessed it: "it's classified."
Those were, in fact, the words Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chair of the committee, used when asked a few days before the approval was granted to clarify her position for her constituents. She declined. It’s a difficult situation, she said. And, “It’s classified.”

She was not alone. In a string of interviews over days, members of both the Senate intelligence committee or its equivalent in the House were difficult to pin down on their view of providing arms to the rebels. The senators and representatives said they couldn’t give an opinion, or at least a detailed one, because the matter was classified.

It’s an increasingly common stance that advocates of open government say undermines the very principle of a representative democracy.
The article highlights how Congress has realized that it can avoid having to answer difficult questions by slapping the "it's classified" claim on just about anything. But it's the difficult questions that they should have to answer, and by avoiding them, they're fundamentally avoiding their jobs. They're clearly not representing the American people, because they refuse to answer to them.


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  1.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jul 31st, 2013 @ 11:34am

    Captian Picard said it best

    "A matter of internal security." The age-old cry of the oppressor.

    Star Trek: The Next Generation (TV Series)
    The Hunted (1990)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    McCrea (profile), Jul 31st, 2013 @ 11:39am

    Don't ask why

    The reason that so many things are classified is Secret. The reason that we have so many secrets is Top Secret.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2013 @ 11:41am

    Diane Feinstein

    Feinstein is an evil bitch.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2013 @ 11:45am

    strange how Senators still try to put out the opinion that the USA is a democratic nation but refuse the questions like this. Feinstein was babbling on about how Snowden is the worst thing to have come out of the USA when what she does is condone the withholding of information from the very people who, not only she is supposed to represent but also put her into office. sounds to me like a lot of new faces are needed in Congress as long as those that do make it in remember why they have.

     

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  5.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jul 31st, 2013 @ 11:46am

    Re: Diane Feinstein

    That post is aiding the enemy by leaking true but classified information!

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2013 @ 11:51am

    "They're clearly not representing the American people, because they refuse to answer to them."

    Over half of Congress has already lost their authority due to treason against the Constitution and the American People. They're fast turning into domestic enemies.

    All it will take is one more financial crisis, for people to take action.

     

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  7.  
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    Transmitte (profile), Jul 31st, 2013 @ 11:53am

    Wait, Diane wants to get rid of our guns, but is completely willing to arm people in other countries?

    I think we're done here folks.

    Also, I'd get fired wholly if I answered my bosses questions with "Well, it's classified".

     

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  8.  
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    Nick (profile), Jul 31st, 2013 @ 11:59am

    The reason we have terrorists today is because we were so unreasonably militant against communism that the US (via Charlie Wilson) aided the Afghanistanis against Russia during the cold war. Now all that training and weapons are being used against us (or at least the threat of it), and as a result NSA spaying on us, TSA harassing us. It's called blowback. I wonder what kind of blowback we'll get as a result from Feinstein in 30 years as a result.

     

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  9.  
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    llortamai, Jul 31st, 2013 @ 12:10pm

    The Truth about Classified Information

    You want the truth about classified information? You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by Congresspersons. Who's gonna do it? You, Masnick? One of the Tims? She has a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Snowden and you curse Congress. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what they know: that keeping things classified, while tragic, probably saved lives. And Feinstein's existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives...You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want her on that wall. You need her in that office.
    We use words like transparency, accountability, democracy ...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom congress provides, then questions the manner in which they provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you run for office yourself stand that post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!

     

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  10.  
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    Dogbreath, Jul 31st, 2013 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Diane Feinstein

    Feinstein could tell us, but then she would have to kill us.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOQahcnTIqk

     

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  11.  
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    evilbeing (profile), Jul 31st, 2013 @ 12:12pm

    I thought I'd make a witty comment here but Instead I decided to make it Classified Information .. sorry folks

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2013 @ 12:20pm

    Not sure it's all the fault of Congress. I'm not even sure if they can classify/declassify anything. That's a power of the executive branch isn't it? And we all know how great they are at overclassifying things...

     

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  13.  
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    Todd Knarr (profile), Jul 31st, 2013 @ 12:24pm

    There's situations at work where I'm required to answer my boss's questions with the equivalent of "That's classified.". I work with credit data. That means at times I'm working with the actual credit data files of real people to troubleshoot issues. My boss doesn't have to troubleshoot it, so he's not permitted to see that data. If he asks for it, I can be fired if I give it to him or tell him details from it.

     

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  14.  
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    Dogbreath, Jul 31st, 2013 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Captian Picard said it best

    He also called it in this one too, as to the road we are currently heading down:

    Picards civil rights speech

    Star Trek: The Next Generation (TV Series)
    The Drumhead (1991)

     

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  15.  
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    Jasmine Charter, Jul 31st, 2013 @ 1:02pm

    Some pigs...

    Apparently... some pigs are more classified than other pigs.

     

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  16.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 31st, 2013 @ 1:07pm

    Re: Re: Captian Picard said it best

    Great speech

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2013 @ 1:41pm

    Maybe we need...

    A classified button that hides the comments from all government IP subnets.

     

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  18.  
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    John Nemesh, Jul 31st, 2013 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Captian Picard said it best

    "Shaka, when the walls fell"

     

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  19.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 31st, 2013 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Captian Picard said it best - but Jesus said it first

    From John's Gospel

    And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

    For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    ECA (profile), Jul 31st, 2013 @ 3:19pm

    Considering

    considering WHAT this was about, Follow the link..
    send weapons to another country to foster rebels?
    I can only add, that the ODDS that 1/2 the money gets used to buy guns, means that 1/2 will get AROUND to be in someones pockets..

    I find it humorous, that in the USA GUN prices and AMMO have doubled and tripled in the last 10 years, as we send FREE GUNS(Automatics and other weapons of MASS DESTRUCTION) to other countries.

    Funny how it costs over $1 per SHOT to shoot a gun in the USA..Forget testing/sighting in your guns. but we are willing to SEND AMMO to other countries..
    1980's and Afghanistan, should be a lesson.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2013 @ 5:02pm

    Re: Re: Captian Picard said it best

    Like the authoritarians are ever going to admit Shaka.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2013 @ 5:12pm

    Re:

    None of the data you're looking at is 'classified.' It's private. There's a huge, absolutely massive difference between the two. Privacy is for protecting the people whose information you have. Classified is for protecting the people who have the information. You don't keep the data from your boss for your benefit. She does. Do you see the difference?

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2013 @ 5:14pm

    Re:

    Zionists might have also had something to do with it... a little...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2013 @ 5:16pm

    Re: Considering

    Even the 1/2 that's used to by guns is getting around. Who do you think makes the guns?

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jul 31st, 2013 @ 11:24pm

    The article highlights how Congress has realized that it can avoid having to answer difficult questions by slapping the "it's classified" claim on just about anything. But it's the difficult questions that they should have to answer, and by avoiding them, they're fundamentally avoiding their jobs. They're clearly not representing the American people, because they refuse to answer to them.

    To most politicians, the American people are nothing more than annoying insects, trying to distract them from doing their job of protecting the corporations who finance them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    DannyB (profile), Aug 1st, 2013 @ 6:19am

    Re: Re: Captian Picard said it best

    Boom Shaka laka dance by Susan Ivanova.

    http://everything2.com/title/the+Ivanova+dance

    Sokath, his eyes uncovered!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2013 @ 3:10pm

    Sometimes I like to [CLASSIFIED] in public.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    Erik Lehnsherr, Aug 1st, 2013 @ 9:11pm

    Arming Syrian rebels

    Remember when the US armed and trained insurrectionists to repel a Soviet invasion of Afghanistan? Remember what those rebels subsequently did after the US armed them? And now some in Congress are talking about arming Syrian rebels?

    Humans and their guns. They never learn!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Aug 2nd, 2013 @ 5:06am

    Re: Arming Syrian rebels

    The government's got to make another enemy so they can justify another war, which will enable them to justify more oppression here at home.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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