Agregue a sus temas de interés Cerrar
Sábado, 6 de febrero de 2016
Max Fisher at Vox suggested recently that this is basically a story about the craziness and excesses of the classification system, and my own experience – although deeply out of date – suggests that he’s probably right.
As I’ve mentioned before, I worked for the American government, as a staff member at the Council of Economic Advisers, from 1982 to 1983. No, I wasn’t a Reaganite – my job was a subpolitical, technocratic position, which I filled because Martin Feldstein, the council’s chairman, wanted the smartest young technocrats he knew to be on staff. I was the senior international economist; the senior domestic economist was a guy named Larry Summers.
Given the area I covered, I received a lot of classified reports from the C.I.A., the State Department and other government agencies. The covers of these reports had all sorts of warnings in capital letters: “SECRET NOFORN NOCONTRACT PROPIN ORCON,” I think, was the standard litany. And there was a security person who came through our offices at night, scooped up any classified documents we left out, put them in a safe and issued citations to us for leaving them out. Between the number of classified documents I received and my continuing true identity as an absent-minded professor, I got a lot of citations – second only to Mr. Feldstein.
But the reason I kept forgetting to lock up the documents was the fact that none of them – literally not one, during a whole year – contained any information that was actually sensitive. There was nothing in any of these classified reports that you couldn’t have read in newspapers or figured out for yourself by accessing public information.
I suppose I was privy to a few bits of sensitive information. For example, I knew that Brazil was out of money during the Latin American debt crisis a few days before that information was public – though it wasn’t mentioned in classified documents. The larger secret I learned from my year in government – that the quality of discussion in Cabinet-level meetings is lower than you can imagine – isn’t the kind of thing people put in classified documents.
So my guess is that the only scandal here is how much anodyne stuff gets “top secret” slapped on it