CIA Inspector General Can't Find A Single Example Of CIA Overclassification

from the oh-really? dept

A few days ago, we wrote about the CIA redacting information regarding the price it paid for a single Amiga computer back in 1987. After such news reports came out, the CIA admitted that this was an error and shouldn’t have been redacted. Of course, the only reason the documents with that information came out in the first place was because of the efforts of former CIA agent Jeffrey Scudder, who had come across a bunch of classified documents internally that he realized should no longer be classified. Based on that, he filed a FOIA request for those documents — leading the FBI to come after him and end his CIA career (despite his actions being entirely legal).

It’s hard not to see all of that as evidence that the CIA has a pretty serious overclassification problem. But don’t tell that to the CIA. A newly (yes) declassified report from the CIA’s Inspector General reveals that they could not find a single example of overclassification by the CIA. None. Nada. The CIA has a perfect score, apparently. They do admit to finding errors in how some information was recorded, but not a single case of overclassification:

If you can’t see the image, the key part is:

We found no instance of over-classification in the sample of [REDACTED] finished intelligence reports that we reviewed

Admittedly, the number of reports reviewed is classified here, so perhaps the Inspector General just reviewed one. Or zero. But, uh, wait a second… why is the number of reports reviewed classified in the first place? The number is listed as (b)(3) exemption, which tells you basically nothing. It just incorporates things exempted by other statutes. Basically, it’s saying there’s some law out there that forbids us from revealing this. Of course, one could argue that this seems like a case of overclassification… in the report that insists that the Inspector General couldn’t find any examples of overclassification.

Still, it seems like it should raise some alarm bells when they can’t find a single example. It’s like cheating students, with poor test-taking history, who suddenly get all the answers correct. It should make the teacher more skeptical. Cheating students often know to at least get one or two answers wrong on purpose, and it’s fairly amazing that the CIA couldn’t find any examples of overclassification just to keep the red flags from being raised. But, then again, who are we kidding? This is the CIA and it’s never been concerned with red flags. It throws them up left and right and no one seems to care.

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Comments on “CIA Inspector General Can't Find A Single Example Of CIA Overclassification”

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19 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

“CIA Inspector General Can’t Find A Single Example Of CIA Overclassification”

The head of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Dianne Feinstein, disagrees with this assessment. When the captain of the Intelligence Committe cheerleading squad complains about overclassification. You know there’s a serious problem.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Inside the box there's no perspective.

The CIA Inspector General doesn’t see overclassification because he’s in a position where overclassification is invisible. From his perspective, the people need not know anything, and therefore should not know anything. What the CIA is doing is one-hundred-percent right.

So, in the next iteration (because we can’t change the CIA without breaking it) the people in charge of declassification need to be in a committee outside of the CIA.

Adam West says:

If anyone read the intercept today

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/10/02/the-nsa-and-me/

Even external investigations can be suspect and problematic, never mind internal ones that do not and maybe have never turned up any problems.

People lie a lot, all of the articles over that past decade about white lies, and how that is good for human interaction… Sociopaths take this and use it as a basis and justification of Really Really big Lies, ones that harm people many orders of magnitude more than telling your wife she isn’t fat.

Anonymous Coward says:

When someone say they are perfect = Very shady

This reminds me of something I heard many years ago on the telly. A governor or some such, tried to defend the death penalty by stating that there had NEVER been anyone who had been falsely executed in her state. It was easily disproved of course, and anyone with just a little bit of sense would see it for the quite huge lie it was.
Now I can respect peoples opinions, even if they are very opposite mine, but don’t insult our intelligence and say that you are perfect, because it will damage your cause when people start to question your sense of reality.

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