The Committee on Homeland Security is currently holding a hearing, “Over-Classification and Pseudo-Classification: Making DHS the Gold Standard for Designating Classified and Sensitive Homeland Security Information.” Witnesses will include Mr. J. William Leonard, Director of the Information Security Oversight Office for the National Archives and Record Administration; Mr. Scott Armstrong, Founder of the Information Trust; Ms. Suzanne E. Spaulding, Principal of the Bingham Consulting Group LLC; and Mr. Mark Agrast, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress.
| Mark Agrast:
“Today’s epidemic of overclassification stems in part from rules that resolve all doubts in favor of nondisclosure, and in part from standards so hard to administer that even skilled classifiers often get it wrong. Sometimes material is classified only to suppress embarassing information. Take the decision to classify the Taguba Report, on prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. A reporter who had seen a copy of that report asked Secretary Rumsfeld why it was marked secret. ‘You’d have to ask the classifier,’ Rumsfeld said.”