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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Comments on “Congress Abuses 'It's Classified' To Hide Stuff They Don't Want To Talk About”

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29 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

“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.

Todd Knarr (profile) says:

Re:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: 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?

Nick (profile) says:

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.

llortamai says:

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!

ECA (profile) says:

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.

Rekrul says:

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.

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