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CNN Embraces Insecurity January 20, 2023

Posted by geoff in News.
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CNN trying hard to protect Biden:

“This kind of classified spillage happens almost every day, and most of the time it’s completely accidental. An employee accidentally takes home a document in a briefcase,” reporter Katie Bo Lillis told “CNN This Morning” host Kaitlan Collins. “One example we were told, the employee found a classified document that had been accidentally attached to an unclassified travel itinerary. He slept with it under his pillow for a night, returned it the next day and that was that.”

“Most of these cases are dealt with administratively, internally, with a simple conversation with the security officer at the agency in question,” Lillis said. “Now, of course, in more severe cases there can be penalties such as losing your security clearance or even being fired.”

Hunh.

You know, back when I was a young lieutenant in this man’s Air Force, every couple of months I’d come up in the rotation to check the safes in the office at the end of the day. They were hardly ever opened, but at the end of every work day someone had to go around to each of the 20-odd safes, jiggle the handle and pull to make sure it wasn’t unlocked, and then initial a card on the safe and sign a line on a form.

One day I forgot to initial the card on one of the safes. I checked the safe, signed the line on the form, the safe wasn’t open, no classified information was compromised, but because I forgot to initial the card, all hell broke loose.

Fortunately for my permanent record, they decided that since I had signed the line on the form, that was good enough. But I was on the precipice of earning myself career-ending trouble just for a little administrative oversight.

So when somebody says they have actual classified material sitting in their unsecured garage for 5 years, I don’t believe that a “simple conversation” is an adequate response.

I don’t know what it’s like at the White House level, but at the worker bee level in the Defense Department and their contractors, you have a record of every document you keep. You inventory the documents annually. If someone borrows a document, you have a record of it leaving the safe and returning to the safe. They don’t just disappear for 5 years with no one noticing.

I don’t believe that the VP enjoys the same powers over classified material that the president does. I (and others) have argued that since all authority to classify material is derived from the office of the president, the president can throw out classified material to the New Years’ crowd in Times Square with complete impunity. Not a good idea, but it’s within his power.

Biden has the same power today, but when he acquired the documents he did not, which makes him subject to all the regulations that applied to those documents. Since they were TS/SCI, it’s a pretty grave infraction.

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Comments»

1. DrewC - January 20, 2023

As a submarine officer with TS/SCI clearance we had a tiered classification handling system. Everything in the sub and was confidential, so the sub was treated like a giant safe. Secret material was much less common and had to be returned to a safe after use. TS/SCI was restricted to a few rooms and when in use everyone present had to have the clearance. Violating TS/SCI security would be an instant career ender and if willful would send you to prison.

2. geoff - January 20, 2023

It’s really galling to see how cavalier Hillary! and other DC denizens have been with classified material. They just don’t think it’s important.

Elsewhere in the article they talk about a lot of classified material being unnecessarily classified. That part is true. For example, we had a bunch of old documents which were well past their “Declassify in 25 Years” date, but our management wouldn’t let us declassify them (kind of a relief, since declassifying a document per the regs is really painful). So far as I could tell, they were never going to declassify them, even though the information they contained was obsolete.

3. vaitguy - January 20, 2023

Hell yes and thank you for your service sir. The protocols put in place to protect government classified documents should start with the CiC and be the same all the way down to the lowest enlisted rank of military or general schedule employee that have the responsibility of that clearance and it’s enforcement.


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