Congressional Research Service Analysts Complaining About Blocked Access To Wikileaks

from the can't-do-their-job dept

With the Library of Congress blocking access to Wikileaks over some misguided notion of what its legal responsibilities are, Copycense points us to a report about how librarians across the nation are now arguing over whether or not this was the right move, with many feeling that it was decidedly a bad move.

However, perhaps more interesting is the claim, in the middle of the article, that analysts at the Congressional Research Service are negatively impacted by this as well:

“Since the Congressional Research Service is a component of the Library, this means that CRS researchers will be unable to access or to cite the leaked materials in their research reports to Congress. Several current and former CRS analysts expressed perplexity and dismay about the move, and they said it could undermine the institution?s research activities.”

“It’s a difficult situation,” one unidentified CRS analyst told Aftergood. “The information was released illegally, and it’s not right for government agencies to be aiding and abetting this illegal dissemination. But the information is out there. Presumably, any Library of Congress researcher who wants to access the information that WikiLeaks illegally released will simply use their home computers or cell phones to do so. Will they be able to refer directly to the information in their writings for the Library? Apparently not, unless a secondary source, like a newspaper, happens to have already cited it.”

In other words, as expected, all the block is really doing is making it more difficult for our government to do its job. That’s what you get when your reaction to information like this getting out is to pretend it’s not actually out.

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Companies: wikileaks

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Comments on “Congressional Research Service Analysts Complaining About Blocked Access To Wikileaks”

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11 Comments
Free Capitalist (profile) says:

Probably Parsing

The information was released illegally, and it’s not right for government agencies to be aiding and abetting this illegal dissemination.

I understand the original release of classified material is illegal, but I thought dissemenation (publishing) of information was protected by the first amendment, a la the Pentagon files. Is this not the case?

I guess everyone with a federal lifeline has to ‘sound off like they hate Wikileaks’ or lose their ass.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Probably Parsing

I understand the original release of classified material is illegal, but I thought dissemenation (publishing) of information was protected by the first amendment, a la the Pentagon files. Is this not the case?

It certainly is. But at the moment, the U.S. is trying to twist every law its ever written until it can find something to peg on Assange. Basically the gov’t’s position is that WikiLeaks is as much in the wrong as the source of the leak, and though that’s an utterly ridiculous position it causes this kind of fallout.

Also, part of the complication is that when you are talking about government employees then there are already guidelines in place for the handling of classified information – and though this stuff has been leaked to the public, it is still technically “classified”, so some gov’t agencies are still following their security rules for such documents.

Free Capitalist (profile) says:

Re: Re: Probably Parsing

and though this stuff has been leaked to the public, it is still technically “classified”, so some gov’t agencies are still following their security rules for such documents.

This is certainly correct, every U.S. government agency is supposed to still be following security protocol for all classified information, including that already made public.

You probably agree, but from my understanding this shouldn’t limit the employee’s ability to read information from public sources. For instance, a submariner from the cold-war era is certainly permitted to read “Blind Man’s Bluff”, but is not permitted to discuss any of it or whether it is or isn’t true.

ChurchHatesTucker (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Probably Parsing

“For instance, a submariner from the cold-war era is certainly permitted to read “Blind Man’s Bluff”, but is not permitted to discuss any of it or whether it is or isn’t true.”

Yeah, but they’re not even trying for deniability here. They should just declassify it all formally. Otherwise they look petulant at best, and idiotic at worst.

Anonymous Coward says:

The government apparently doesn’t care about education and the effects legislation causes to that part.

Which is funny, because the power of a country is in its ability to educate people, knowledge is true power, it makes the country strong and almost indestructible.

Can an enemy destroy the energy production of a country where every citizen produces their own energy?

Can an enemy destroy the production capabilities of a nation where every house is a factory?

Distributed power, what happens when everything breaks down? can the cells of society survive?

They can if they have the knowledge.

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